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Judas Priest - 1978 Killing Machine

ARTIST: Judas Priest
ALBUM: Killing Machine
SERIAL: 83135 (UK), JC 35706 (USA)
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 1989, CBS, CD 32218 * 2001, Legacy, CK 86181


LINEUP: Rob Halford - vocals * K.K Downing - guitars * Glenn Tipton - guitars * Ian Hill - bass * Les Binks - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Delivering The Goods * 02 Rock Forever * 03 Evening Star * 04 Hell Bent For Leather * 05 Take On The World * 06 Burnin' Up * 07 Killing Machine * 08 Running Wild * 09 Before The Dawn * 10 Evil Fantasies


'Killing Machine' was released at the tailend of 1978 (Nov), and was a quick-fire follow-up to the 'Stained Class' effort released in February that year. Perhaps this one was released due to a combination of already having songs available, plus CBS's attempts to capitalise on their top 30 chart-placing with the previous 'Stained Class' album, and taking into account the increasing interest of the UK HM scene back then. Judas Priest had also toured North America during the spring/summer, and established their reputation as a result. Heading into fall, the band hooked up with James Guthrie (better known for his work with Pink Floyd) after having utilised the services of Rainbow/Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover on 'Sin And Sin' and Dennis MacKay for 'Stained Class'.

The Songs
Of the songs: 'Delivering The Goods' opens it's account with a rock-solid riff-fest, the duelling guitars and the gruff vocal presentation a standout! 'Hell Bent For Leather' is a short and snappy metal workout - ideal as a live anthem I bet. Strangely enough, the foot-stomping chant-a-long 'from the terraces' type-anthem 'Take On The World' was a Top 10 single in the UK. Goodness, what was UK radio doing back then? Other highlights include the rampant 'Running Wild', and the metal churn-grind of 'Burnin' Up'. If people are reading this and weren't aware that Priest could do a tender ballad, then take a listen to 'Before The Dawn'. Beautiful acoustic guitar, a subtle keyboard wash, and a killer solo! Only one track doesn't quite make the grade in my opinion, and that is 'Evening Star' which is fairly weak when compared to the others. Though the album reached #32 on the UK charts, and attained a modest #128 on the Billboard chart, it still managed to outdo 'Stained Class' for unit/volume sales, holding them in good stead for their next releases. 'Killing Machine' was renamed as 'Hell Bent For Leather' for the US market, and featured an additional track (to the original listing below) called 'Green Manalishi', the Peter Green penned song for Fleetwood Mac. The album has since been re-released by Legacy Records and features two bonus tracks: 'Fight For Your Life' (previously unreleased studio track) and 'Riding On The Wind' (previously unreleased live version).

In Summary
From this point on, the Priest legacy was assured. A fantastic live album 'Unleashed In The East' came out the following year, followed by the metal-anthem LP for 1980 'British Steel', the true breakthrough album for the band. The rest, as they say.. can be read about in the HM discographers history-books.. or on the Internet.

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#1 | Jez on October 13 2010 03:12:55
On of my Fave Priest albums (after the mighty 'British Steel' ) featuring one of my all time fave Priest Songs 'Before The Dawn'. Absolutely love the spine tingling guitar solo - superb stuff.
#2 | dangerzone on August 04 2015 16:39:20
I still can't help but feel Priest lost their way with this album. Yes they were still great and cemented their legend many times over, but listening to 'Stained Class' and then this is a sobering experience.

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