When The Lineup Changes – Judas Priest Part Two

Yesterday I summed up the long line at the Judas Priest drummer’s spot, and also covered the absence of Rob Halford from the group. After 2003 Rob was back and the band’s line-up was stable for several years. Then around the turn of the decade, things started getting weird.

In 2010 the band announced their retirement after a multi-year world farewell tour. Then, somewhat out of nowhere, they announced they were working on a new album and that they were not retiring. It was an odd series of statements that didn’t seem to fully address what caused them to change their minds and it was a confusing period of time, not knowing if they were done or not. A bit of light was shed on things the next year

K.K. Downing retires, replaced by Richie Faulkner

In 2011, Downing announced his individual retirement from Priest. He expressed a desire to pursue other interests, which would involve golf course design. Downing departed on great terms and has led a quiet life in his post-Priest career.

Or not.

First, let’s quickly run through the new guy, Richie Faulkner. Richie is a British guitarist who had logged time in several bands, including playing with Lauren Harris. If that name isn’t familiar, she is the daughter of Iron Maiden legend Steve Harris. The elder Harris had produced some of Richie’s other bands and had already tabbed Richie as an option if anything happened to any of Maiden’s twelve (or three) guitarists.

Instead, Richie wound up in Judas Priest. He remains with them to this day and is likely to stick with the group through the close. While he’s had some detractors, he has been largely embraced by the Priest fanbase and is an excellent guitarist as well as a seemingly great person. He is also the kid of the group – far younger than anyone else in the band and hell, a few years younger than me.

But the focal point of K.K. Downing’s departure has always been K.K. Downing. His exit from Priest left a lot of fans upset and the specifics that have come out since 2011 have been a hotbed of drama. I won’t run down a lot of it – if anyone is interested in learning more, either read Downing’s 2017 biography Heavy Duty: Days and Nights In Judas Priest or read any Blabbermouth.net article about Downing as they run down the whole history anytime he gives an interview.

But it is clear there were personality clashes in the band, and it’s fairly clear who the main adversary was for Downing. If it wasn’t clear right at the time everything happened, it would become much clearer a few years later.

Glenn Tipton steps aside, replaced by Andy Sneap

In 2018, Glenn Tipton announced he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He had struggled with the disease for about a decade before stepping down as Priests’ regular touring guitarist. Tipton would remain a creative member of the band, but would only make sporadic appearances for a few songs on tour.

Tipton’s replacement was renowned producer Andy Sneap, also a guitarist in classic British act Sabbat and part of the reformed Hell. Sneap would serve as the touring guitarist in Tipton’s place while Tipton would continue performing in studio.

Many fans asked the obvious question – if Judas Priest needed a new guitar player, why not their old one? K.K. Downing had not been involved with music since leaving several years earlier and was clearly cut out for the job. Downing himself publicly stated that he would like to come back to the band, but no one reached out to him about the vacancy.

Again, I’m not going to get into the specifics of the drama surrounding Downing and Priest. It’s clear the issues center around Glenn Tipton and there are plenty of Downing interviews readily available where he discusses what happened. And Priest management was also a target of Downing’s ire. That would seem fitting, since just last week longtime Priest manager Jayne Andrews did a podcast where she dumped on Downing in regards to his appearance at the Hall of Fame induction. All other reports from Downing and Priest members about that time had been glowing, so the Andrews interview was a bit of a shock. Maybe not as shocking when it’s known that she is also the long-time partner of Glenn Tipton.

Clearly I don’t know any of these people and I don’t want to get into casting aspersions when I don’t have a lot of information. But it’s also clear that Priest have some management issues. Think back to Rob Halford’s departure in the 1990’s – all he wanted to do was a side project. He had to “quit” the band due to contract technicalities. Instead, he was gone for a decade. And there has been a lot of mudslinging and bad press over the K.K. Downing retirement, a lot more and sustained for a lot longer than many band breakups.

And there’s one more line-up change, albeit minor, that might highlight more odd issues in Priest management. This one happened earlier in the year.

Andy Sneap is dismissed, replaced by … wait for it … Andy Sneap

In early 2022, Priest announced that Andy Sneap would no longer be a touring guitarist. He would focus on producing the new record. The band would tour as a four-piece, with Faulkner being the sole guitarist. The thought of one guitar player in Judas Priest sent fans into a frenzy, and not long after, Sneap was reinstated as the second guitarist. Rob Halford was the one who fell on a sword in public, taking blame for the decision to initially dismiss Sneap.

While this is little more than a footnote in Priest lore, it does speak to how the band is run. I’m personally not buying that Halford was the one who had anything to do with the fiasco. Maybe he did, but I think he took one for the team and jumped on the grenade because he has the most goodwill among fans and could easier absorb the backlash. The Sneap thing was a mess and the idea of Priest heading out without two guitar players is just unreal.

That does it for Judas Priest line-up changes – for now, anyway. Priest is a legend among legends in heavy metal, no dispute there. But they have some wonky management and get up to some weird shit at times. The drama surrounding K.K. Downing still lives on, even as Downing has his own band now featuring former Priest singer Tim “Ripper” Owens. And the Downing fire is one that likely won’t die in the press or the respective comment sections anytime soon. It’s a monster at this point.

But at the end of the day we still get music from some configuration of a band that’s been running for over 50 years now. There is something to be said for that.

When The Lineup Changes – Judas Priest Part One

This one threatens to be a 90 page term paper but I’ll keep it simple, though it will require two parts to get to the most significant stuff. The line-up changes of Judas Priest are numerous – in technical terms, the band as it exists today contains no original members. Singer Al Atkins formed the group in 1969, then it went by the wayside. A new group joined with Atkins after 1970 and this would include K.K. Downing and Ian Hill. While it’s technically correct that neither were “original” members of Judas Priest, in any common parlance it’s fair to suggest that both are founding members. It’s not like the original outfit did a whole lot.

Atkins would depart in 1972 due to the financial strain of being in a band not making any money. He was replaced by Rob Halford, and second guitarist Glenn Tipton was brought in to the band shortly before setting out to record the debut Rocka Rolla. This, along with what was already the tenth or so drummer, would comprise the core Judas Priest line-up for many years. The changes I’ll discuss will mainly revolve around what’s happened in the 1990’s and since, save for the revolving door of drummer. Today I’ll handle that and also the huge changes at singer, then tomorrow I’ll get into all of the guitarist drama of the 2010’s.

Scott Travis (eventually) becomes the drummer of Judas Priest

The movie This Is Spinal Tap is renowned for its gag of exploding drummers. The joke most likely came from the insane amount of times Judas Priest changed members at that position. I guess there were nine different drummers but that’s just a quick glance on my part.

I suppose it’s fair to use the criteria that the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame used to induct Priest earlier this year. Three drummers were inducted – Les Binks, Dave Holland and current drummer Scott Travis. Binks played on Stained Class and Killing Machine, while Dave Holland was the drummer through all of the 1980’s albums.

In 1989 Dave Holland left Priest due to health issues and musical differences. This led to the arrival of Scott Travis, who had played previously with Racer X and Saints Or Sinners (who became The Scream). Travis immediately made his mark with his drum-in intro to the song Painkiller, and Priest was off to the races.

Travis was the youngest member of the band by a mile when he joined, though this would change a few years later. His drumming proficiency and energy injected new life into Priest, who had flagged a bit in the synth era of the late ’80’s. The band would purse a decidedly metal direction with Travis at the drum throne.

Travis has engaged in some side activity during his time in Priest – he is the drummer for the present incarnation of Thin Lizzy, continued work with Racer X and also lent his talents to a few albums I’ll talk about in a minute. But his time with Priest has been fantastic and he was a great addition to the band.

Rob Halford departs, replaced by Tim Owens

Just a few years after Priest had seen renewed interest with their very metal-forward Painkiller album, Rob Halford told the band’s management about his interest in doing a solo album/side project. For whatever goofy reason, the band’s management told him he would technically have to resign from Priest to do this. In the resulting confusion over Halford’s statement, he was gone from the band for a decade. How anyone let that happen is beyond me, but there has been some dysfunction in the Priest camp over the years.

Halford would spend his time with a variety of projects which I have previously covered here. The first one happened to also involve Scott Travis, who was still a member of Priest yet the band was inactive during that time.

Priest would eventually seek to find a new singer and, due in large part to Scott Travis’ suggestion, picked Tim “Ripper” Owens. Owens had done work in the band Winter’s Bane and also the Judas Priest tribute act British Steel.

Judas Priest’s “Ripper” era would be defined by a very heavy sound and subdued interest, though not the same level of vitriol aimed at fellow British metal legends Iron Maiden and their late-90’s period. The band would offer two albums as well as two live efforts during this time.

As with any kind of replacement like this, it was a struggle for Tim Owens to step into the shoes of one of metal’s most renowned frontmen. While I personally always liked him and thought he got a fair bit of unfair treatment, there was no replacing Rob Halford in the hearts and minds of Priest diehards.

The fortunes of Judas Priest were flagging in the early 2000’s, just as they watched Iron Maiden spark new interest with a much-hyped reunion with their legendary singer. And the inevitable came in 2003.

Rob Halford returns to Judas Priest

After some success with a few solo efforts in the early decade, Halford was a rising star again just as heavy metal was finding its way back into fashion. The no-brainer reunion with Judas Priest came in 2003. This left Tim Owens the odd man out, of course. He would go on to sing for Iced Earth for awhile and also participate in a variety of other projects.

Judas Priest have essentially ignored the Ripper period in retrospect. The songs from his albums are not performed live and the albums remain almost untouched reissue-wise, save for the super mega huge box set that came out last year. A bit unfair to not even acknowledge that period, I think, but again, there are some shifty decisions that come out of the Priest camp from time to time.

Priest themselves were back in form with their signature frontman in place. Rob Halford has since taken on a legend all his own and is one of heavy metal’s enduring icons. The band would see mixed success with their post-reunion albums, with the greater success coming from the more recent offerings.

If that were the whole story on Judas Priest line-up changes, it would be more than enough. But some huge moves came in the 2010’s and led to a lot of drama and headaches for all involved. Tomorrow I’ll get into the shakeups at the guitar positions.

Album Of The Week – December 5, 2022

This week’s pick is the album released in 1990 after one of heavy metal’s legendary acts spent some time in the late 80’s indulging in the sound of the times a bit. It was both a return to form and a new phase for the group, that sadly would not last much beyond the album’s cycle.

Judas Priest – Painkiller

Released September 14, 1990 via Columbia Records

My Favorite Tracks – Painkiller, All Guns Blazing, Between The Hammer & The Anvil

Judas Priest in the late 1980’s was a mixed bag – both Turbo and Ram It Down had varying degrees of commercial success but both albums were also not received as well as the band’s early-80’s classic metal phase. The band came into 1990 with a new drummer and a new approach to album crafting.

Priest were also engaged in public turmoil around this time – the infamous trial over subliminal messages was held in the summer, it was only after the dismissal of the lawsuit when Painkiller would see release.

Painkiller comprises 10 songs at about 46 minutes in its original form, the version I’ll discuss today. 3 singles were released from the record – A Touch Of Evil, the title track and Night Crawler.


Opening with the title track and one hell of an introduction for new drummer Scott Travis as he blasts his way through the first seconds of the song. The intensity keeps up as the riffs enter and especially when Rob Halford wails his way through the song in a manner raising the bar even for him. Painkiller has to do with some robot thing saving the world and has become an all-time Priest classic.

Hell Patrol

The tempo goes down a touch but the heaviness and atmosphere remain on this track having to do with fighter plane combat. Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing get a bit of time to flex some solos on this one and they stand out a touch more given the less violent musical presentation.

All Guns Blazing

Back with the speed on this aptly-named song. It’s a tried and true metal song about going for it at full capacity, as the title suggests. The slowdown of the main riff at the song’s conclusion is a nice touch to end the song in a bit unconventional fashion.

Leather Rebel

By now a standard Priest theme, get decked out in leather and kick ass. The guitars go ham on this one, it’s a marriage of classic Priest subjects with the updated speed metal of 1990.

Metal Meltdown

Another scorcher that lives up to its name and could be an accurate description of the album as a whole, as if the band were reviewing their own work in song.

Night Crawler

Rather than being an homage to the X-Men character, this song invents a monster that comes to eat everyone. Making up their own monsters worked out better for Priest than singing about famous ones, though we’re not there yet in the Priest chronology. This one is a fairly simple tune that executes very well.

Between The Hammer & The Anvil

The title offers another take on the “between a rock and a hard place” concept. The song was apparently created out of the subliminal messages trial. Rather than being a literal offering of their feelings on it, things are dressed up here to fit a song that very much recalls the classic Priest era.

A Touch Of Evil

A song that hearkens back to the late 80’s time period, replete with synth. It’s a track about how love can be painful and twisted. Though it sticks out a bit on the album it’s still a very nice addition and doesn’t detract from the proceedings.

One Shot At Glory

After the brief intro Battle Hymn, the album wraps up with this solid metal offering. It delves into the “good side” of war, that rush of adrenaline and desire to do something greater that comes with stepping onto the battlefield. It’s a nice, motivating track to close out the record.

Painkiller marked both a return to the old ways and a new direction for Judas Priest. It was heavy on a scale beyond what the band had done before, entering speed metal territory and deftly changing direction as the sounds of the 1980’s were quickly dismissed in the new decade. The album made a decent showing on several nations’ charts and has a handful of gold certifications.

Acclaim and praise would come with Painkiller. It left some jaws on the floor upon release and in the years since it is widely hailed as one of the band’s strongest efforts. It was an impressive effort all around for the metal legends.

Sadly this time period would not spark a new era of Priest classics. Not long after the touring cycle for this album, Rob Halford wished to do a side project. Due to strange contract wording Halford had to leave the band to release anything else, and he would be out of Priest for a decade. The rest of Priest took some time off before regrouping with a new singer and a couple of albums that also explored the heavier side of things.

In the end, Painkiller was a triumphant piece of the Judas Priest catalog. An old dog learned a few new tricks and translated an already successful formula to a heavier shade of metal. Even in modern times, Priest have still made a fair bit of stuff that sounds like it could have come from this album. Metal would go on to be a timeless beast, and Judas Priest were one of the ones chiefly responsible.

Rob Halford Solo Works – A Primer

I was putting together some info for a near-future Judas Priest post when I got to thinking about Rob Halford’s solo career. This seed also got planted a few weeks ago when a few of us were at a buddy’s house and he had one of the the Halford albums on.

So today I present a quick run through the non-Judas Priest albums of Rob Halford. He did quite a bit of stuff in his time away from his legendary outfit, and threw a few more solo efforts out there after returning to Priest in 2003.

Let’s go all the way back to 1993 and begin the look at Rob Halford’s solo offerings.

Fight – War Of Words (1993)

Halford came out swinging with his first non-Priest effort. Fight were a band of the times, in a thrash/groove pocket that slotted very well with the metal in rotation in 1993. Though Priest had done well to update their sound with Painkiller, Halford took his own leanings into even more of a current direction with Fight. Also note that Scott Travis double dips here – he was drumming with JP and also with Fight. Also notable is Russ Parrish on guitar, now more well-known as Satchel from Steel Panther.

Nailed To The Gun was a single from War Of Words and it was a great introduction to Halford’s post-Priest life. It got plenty of MTV play and the buzz set Halford and Fight up decently well out of the gate.

Fight – A Small Deadly Space (1995)

Fight’s second and last release didn’t quite hit the same way the debut did. It maybe lacked the dynamics of the first and was a bit stripped down or “grungy,” perhaps. It’s not horrible by any means but it kind of flopped and spelled the end of the project. I did see Fight live on this tour, it was my first Halford live experience of any kind. Between the Fight stuff and a small handful of Priest tunes thrown in it was a hell of a show.

2wo – Voyeurs (1998)

Halford’s next move would be into the industrial metal space, a form of music that was huge at the time and something he had long expressed a desire to do. This one-off project saw him team up with John 5, now known as Rob Zombie’s guitarist and the new guy in Motley Crue. The record was released on Trent Reznor’s record label, though this was not a collaboration between the artists.

2wo did not make waves at all, in fact the album was derided on release and the project scrapped pretty early on. It has gotten some more love in retrospect but remains more of a curiosity than anything in the distinguished career of Rob Halford. I always thought the album was a worthwhile listen but I can see why it didn’t really take off.

Note that while I’ve only posted the song, there is a fairly crazy video out there for I Am A Pig. It takes a bit of digging to find.

Halford – Resurrection (2000)

As the calendar flipped to a new everything in 2000, Halford returned to his metal roots and launched a new project. This time he would collaborate with producer Roy Z, who had lent great weight to Bruce Dickinson’s solo career.

This project would be very well-received and reinvigorate interest in Rob Halford and the more traditional strain of heavy metal. The band toured extensively, including opening for a reunited Iron Maiden, which really spiked interest in the “old sound” again. Bruce Dickinson also appears as a guest on the song The One You Love To Hate, making true a long-desired fantasy pairing in metal.

Halford – Crucible (2002)

Halford’s next move would be to get a bit heavier and actually move aside a bit from the “trad metal” leaning of the last record. This record accomplished its mission and kept the Halford train rolling, with the featured song Betrayal being an absolute barn burner.

This is the point where Halford reconnected with Judas Priest. It would be several more years before a new Halford solo offering.

Halford – Winter Songs (2009)

The third Halford solo outing would be a bit of a departure for heavy metal in general – while not explicitly stated as such, this is a Christmas album. There are a ton of old Christmas standards here, as well as a few originals penned by Halford and Roy Z.

While this isn’t my cup of tea, there also isn’t really anything wrong with it. It’s what you’d want, if what you wanted was a Rob Halford Christmas album. Halford would revisit the Christmas album in 2019 with Celestial, an album billed as a “friends and family” effort.

Halford – Made Of Metal (2010)

It would be a quick turnaround from the Christmas special to the next proper Halford release, which to date remains the final solo offering. This would return to the more traditional metal sound of the first album and serves as a respectable bookend to Halford’s solo catalog, if indeed nothing further materializes.

It’s unknown if there will be another Halford release outside the bounds of Judas Priest. Halford has expressed a desire to collaborate with some specific artists, among them Ihsahn from Emperor. It has yet to happen though, and it’s been all quiet on the Halford solo camp after some mess about label and catalog rights years ago that somehow saw Halford not have the rights to his own solo music for a time. I’m not even sure how that story ended or if it did, but it was kind of a mess.

Whatever may come, Rob Halford has led quite a career, both with his main gig and outside of it. He has displayed a clear willingness to pursue sounds outside of the box and has had some great moments, both within and outside of the bounds of strict heavy metal.

Judas Priest – RnR HoF Class of 2022

I’ll have at a quick post today to discuss the unexpected but very welcome news that came down yesterday – Judas Priest will be among the inductees to the 2022 Class of the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame.

The induction is kind of surprising. Priest were on a months-long fan ballot with other acts and did not place well in the results. The institution behind the Hall of Fame has always stated that the fan ballot is only one component of selection and so the group saw fit to grant Judas Priest induction.

In fact the group is being inducted in a different category from the typical “performers” one. Priest are being inducted via the Musical Excellence category. This is not a very big deal, despite some of the wankery being aired on social media about it. There are several different categories for the HoF so getting in by way of this one is not some huge issue.

With induction to the HoF comes the issue of who exactly gets in. In the case of Judas Priest, the following members will be inducted – current members Rob Halford, Ian Hill, Scott Travis and Glenn Tipton will be enshrined. Along with them, former members K.K. Downing, Les Binks and Dave Holland will also be inducted.

This does leave a few people out, of course. Original Priest singer Al Atkins won’t be inducted and I’m sure he’ll have something to say about it. Halford’s replacement in the 90’s Tim “Ripper” Owens also will not be enshrined, and I’m sure will be gracious as he often is about such things. There are a smattering of other members with some contributions but the Rock Hall generally just gets the classic-era names in for induction.

There are a few points of potential drama with a few of the names on the former members list. I won’t even get into one of them, I don’t know how that’s gonna play out but hey, they’re inducting him so I guess that’s decided. In the case of K.K. Downing there has been some past acrimony over his departure, but there’s no point in getting into all of that now. Early indications are that Downing is very happy about the induction and Rob Halford has already extended an invitation for Downing to be there so I’ll just play the part of the optimist and hope it all ends well.

But in the end drama is just drama, the point still stands – Judas Priest will be in the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. I wasn’t really expecting to see the day, I’d honestly given up on the institution years ago. I’ve deliberately avoided writing posts about who I think are the biggest snubs and things like that – I would prefer to just not give a shit about the whole thing. But I will set all that aside to celebrate the very deserved induction of one of my favorite groups and one of heavy metal’s pioneering outfits. It is fully earned and finally realized, and may the world celebrate the glory of Judas Priest later this year at their induction to the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Album Of The Week – January 10, 2022

I’m gonna head back in time this week and talk about one of heavy metal’s most excellent albums. The record just had its 38th anniversary a few days ago on January 4th. It still stands today as one of the band’s best works as well as one of heavy metal’s best efforts.

Judas Priest – Defenders Of The Faith

Released January 4, 1984 via Columbia Records

My Favorite Tracks – The Sentinel, Freewheel Burning, Love Bites

The album art lets everyone know that this is a mid 1980’s heavy metal release. The giant monster/machine referred to as the Metallian looks ready for business. The same could be said of the band, who entered their ninth studio album ready to keep on the track they’d set with Screaming For Vengeance a few years prior.

The album opens with an absolute metal masterpiece in Freewheel Burning. This song absolutely rips and sets a high bar for the rest of the proceedings. It’s become a staple of the Judas Priest live set, a bit of a task for a band now with 18 and counting studio albums.

The album continues to roll with cuts like Jawbreaker and Rock Hard Ride Free. While not matching the ferocity of Freewheel Burning, both fit in well as complementary pieces to this set. Both feature the dueling guitar attack of Glen Tipton and K.K. Downing along with suited-to-the-stage arrangements with simple, shoutable choruses (if Jawbreaker really even has a chorus).

Up next is The Sentinel. I have previously discussed the song in isolation, it was the second entry of my S-Tier Songs. This is my favorite Priest track, bar none. I’ve found that I’m not alone in that assessment, which surprises me a bit but there’s no denying the excellence of the song.

The album moves on into Love Bites, one of the album’s singles. While this track could be considered a bit goofy, its execution lifts it above being consigned to the silly song bin. It doesn’t get as flashy with guitar work as other songs on the record and it might be a preview of the direction Priest would move after this record.

The album moves on in a mini-exploration of silliness with Eat Me Alive. In fact this track might go beyond silly into disturbing territory, I’d imagine that certain specific acts referenced in the lyrics would be frowned upon today. In fact they were frowned upon then, as this song caught the attention of a group of US senators’ wives known as the Parent’s Music Resource Council. Eat Me Alive joined other naughty luminaries like Twisted Sister, WASP and Sheena Easton on the Filthy Fifteen. I won’t claim to have any issue with the song but yeah, that one line in it does stand out in a pretty dark way.

We move on to other matters with another of the album’s singles Some Heads Are Gonna Roll. The song was actually written by Bob Halligan, Jr., who has collaborated with Priest and others over the years. This tune slows things down just a hair but still retains the atmosphere found everywhere else on the record. While the single was not a hit in the conventional sense, it did bear influence over the years and has been one of Priest’s more recognizable songs. It’s been reported that George Lynch either “took inspiration” from or “ripped off” the song for Dokken’s 1984 track Into The Fire. (The specific interview Lynch gave about this hasn’t come up in my cursory searches.)

The final portion of Defenders… gets going with a slower number. Night Comes Down turns down the tempo but still offers a powerful ballad-like tune. It showcases Rob Halford’s considerable range as he is able to evoke power and emotion while a bit further down on the register than his famous screams. The song fits with the times very well and again shows that the band were considering waters a bit past the blistering heavy metal they had come into the decade with.

The album closes with a single song divided into two parts. Heavy Duty is a very brief stomper that closes out these metal proceedings well and is appended by Defenders Of The Faith, a brief title track that is honestly little more than an outro to Heavy Duty.

Heavy Duty would be very on the nose for Priest and for heavy metal as a whole. Just a few months after Defenders… saw release, the mocumentary This Is Spinal Tap would hit theaters and feature a tune by the same name. It’s almost eerie how similar the songs are in tone and attitude. Judas Priest were certainly one of many embodiments of the metal and rock culture that Spinal Tap were lampooning. Priest are also one of many bands to share Spinal Tap’s woes of a revolving door upon the drum set, though thankfully the drummer on this particular album has moved on.

A reissued version of Defenders… offers a bonus track called Turn On Your Light. The song is … certainly a song and is actually a leftover from the Turbo sessions so I don’t know what it’s really doing here. A more worthy bonus offers a live cut of Heavy Duty and Defenders.

Defenders Of The Faith is a triumphant album from Judas Priest that closes the door on their early ’80’s heavy metal prime. The band would go on to explore other sounds of the 1980’s on their next efforts, though still with success and their reputation now established. And while Defenders… sometimes flies under the radar compared to the celebrated records Screaming For Vengeance and British Steel, time has been kind to this 1984 effort and its retrospective has often been through rose-colored lenses.

And while Judas Priest have certainly embodied no small amount of the goofiness of heavy metal culture that saw parody around that time, both Priest and the parody lived on to be celebrated for what they were rather than dragged by the roasting. Defenders… certainly has its sillier moments, but they only help round out the work as a whole. And with the band still going strong despite major lineup changes almost 40 years later, it’s tough to dispute the impact Judas Priest have had on the heavy metal movement.