Judas Priest/Defenders Of The Faith [Bonus Tracks]

“Rising from the darkness where Hell hath no mercy and the screams for vengeance echo on forever. Only those who keep the Faith escape the Metallian….Monster Of All Metal”

This quote from the rear cover of this release sets the tone for the 9th studio CD from Heavy Metal legends Judas Priest. Recorded all through 1983 in Ibiza, Spain, the release hit the shores in 1984 and is one of the most successful in the catalog. This is also the only Priest release in which every song on the CD has been preformed live during one tour or another. A classic gem!!!

Freewheel Burnin’—-Although this song is 25 years old, the energy and the brutality never grows old….there is no voice that can equal Halford and this song is the only explanation that you need to solidify that claim. The musical delivery is nice…classic Priest guitars that are coming at you from every headphone hole…only the drums seem to lacking at times…this is a classic that still sounds fresh in 2010.

Jawbreaker—-From the first notes of the song, the guitars rattle your brain…as they settle for the vocal intro, it is Halford that rattles you instead…when the song really opens up it is a classic Metal delivery that shows little age and still is full of the classic sounds of the band…when you hear Priest, there is no mistaking whom you are listening to…not a favorite song of mine…but the high-octane vocals make it a keeper.

Rock Hard Ride Free—-A motorcycle riding anthem if there ever was one, the boys break out and rock your ass off. The lead guitars literally soar at the onset of the song…the overall tone is very telling of the time it was recorded…at times the song almost has a Scorpions flair to it….when Halford spits his vocals, you know what land you are in though. No one on the earth has pipes like this man…when the chorus kicks in and the overlayed vocals are playing…it is goose bump inspiring, fist pumping energy….fantastic!!!

The Sentinel—-A live favorite now for many, many years, the song is welcome and comfortable simply because you have heard it so many times. The immense sound that the Priest machine is capable is never more prominent than on this song…the guitars are immense and the atmosphere is layered and mystical. The voice is stellar as it reaches to the rafters and shakes you all the way to your toes…this is immense and really quality Heavy Metal.

Love Bites—-At one time, the song was in the top 15 songs targeted by the prominent and scourge PMRC led by Tipper Gore….the song is literally harmless, but this group changed the entire way music was released because of their lobbying. The song has all of the classic and admirable Priest qualities and an incredible amount of energy. Halford offers up some incredible screams on this track and the twin guitar attack is in full force….this is fantastic!!!

Eat Me Alive—-With an incredible sense of melody and a fantastic rhythm section, the song is not a typical Priest classic, but remains one of my favorite tracks on this release. the sound is a nice galloping beat that propels the song and features a nice guitar solo that is missing in the music of today. This is nice…Halford maintains a moderate vocal, but still sounds awesome…it is the wall of sound the band produces that makes in so memorable.

Some Heads Are Gonna Roll—-You would be hard pressed to find any singular Metal fan who is not familiar with this song…..this is after all, signature Priest. Again, the song features some guitar sounds that remind me of the Scorpions, but the power is much more evident and then of course you have Rob!!! This is nice, but not as fresh….it has been played millions of times and I have heard it at every show I have ever been at!!!

Night Comes Down—-The classic and mood setting guitar at the intro of the song does not prepare you for the bass heavy sound that is too come. This is about the closet in those days that Priest ever really came to a ballad…this is only aided by the double tracked vocal by Halford that reverberates through your headphones with a masterful varying degree of tone and decibel. This is exquisite…truly amazing.

Heavy Duty—-Heavy from the very first note, the drums are actually in your face on this track..the guitars are huge and sweeping…Halford keeps perfect time with the music as the sound mimics a giant beat rising from the deep. The vocal over lays are here also but to the opposite degree…the higher is upfront and the backdrop is incredibly deep. This is masterful metal….you could not ask for a better Metal Tribute song…ever!!!

Defenders Of The Faith—-Coming right out of the previous song, this is a huge sounding song that makes you crazy with the energy and the truth of the words…we are the Defenders….as are Priest and have been for all of these years. This is fantastic!!! Too short but still masterful.

Bonus Tracks:

Turn On Your Light—-A masterful acoustic intro allows Halford to sing in a voice we could all put in our sights…even subdued it is exceptional and full of emotion and feeling. this is a beautiful ballad that is even more tender than Night Comes Down….this is practically a love song, but it works really well here.

Heavy Duty/Defenders Of The Faith—-A retread of the original without the break in between, this addition was not really necessary but still works well in an abbreviated combined manner. The live setting of the track allows for a much more electric and amplified sound…the energy is exceptional…this is nice, but i would have loved to hear something I have never heard before.

**** out of 5


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