ARTIST: Judas Priest
ALBUM: Screaming For Vengeance (review #2)
SERIAL: CBS CD 85941
CD REISSUE: 2001, Legacy, CK 85435
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Rob Halford - vocals * Glenn Tipton - guitar * K.K. Downing - guitar * Ian Hill - bass * Dave Holland - drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 The Hellion * 02 Electric Eye * 03 Riding On The Wind * 04 Bloodstone * 05 (Take These) Chains * 06 Pain And Pleasure * 07 Screaming For Vengeance * 08 You've Got Another Thing Comin' * 09 Fever * 10 Devil's Child
While Priest had broken through with 1980's 'British Steel', it was this album which arguably put them into the metal stratosphere, where they have remained ever since (give or take the 'Ripper' Owens years). As classic as this is, it's a long way removed from the days of 'Sad Wings of Destiny' or 'Stained Class'. The band had by now perfected a brand of commercial heavy metal second to none, but admittedly this is far heavier than 1981's 'Point Of Entry' offering. The album produced Priest's highest charting and well known single 'You've Got Another Thing Comin' which along with the equally stale 'Living After Midnight' is sure to be heard on classic rock radio every day. Still this is easily Priest at their peak and influenced the 80's metal scene like few others.
Opening with the legendary tandem of instrumental 'The Hellion' and 'Electric Eye', it's obvious this is a step up in terms of production and sophistication from Priest. This pair is still featured in the bands set list to this day, both metal landmarks. The bombastic and melodic 'Riding On The Wind' follows, one of the best tracks of the decade for Priest in my opinion. The melodic upsurge continues with 'Bloodstone' and the Bob Halligan Jr.
penned 'Take These Chains', the latter a superb piece of AOR. The lumbering 'Pain And Pleasure' isn't quite as polished and is positively obliterated by the blinding near thrash of the title track. One of the heaviest songs of their career, the twin guitar work is on overdrive as is Halford's trademark screaming. 'Fever' is infinitely more commercial (and weaker), while 'Devils Child' has an AC/DC
inspired riff and chorus.
Priest enjoyed massive sales following the album's release and arena tours became the norm for the remainder of the decade. Listening to this 28 years later it's amazing how little this has dated. By comparison 'Nostradamus' is truly pathetic, indicating a ludicrous level of regression on Priest's part. This is also superior to later efforts like 'Defenders Of The Faith' and it wasn't until 'Painkiller' that Priest really recaptured the form of 'Screaming..' another one of heavy metal's essential recordings.
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