Selected and Dissected: Judas Priest – ‘Screaming For Vengeance: 30th Anniversary Edition’. Reviewed.

By on 6 September 2012

So, the mighty Judas Priest have re-issued seminal album  ‘Screaming For Vengeance’, and it’s still amazing, of course. It comes with a bonus DVD, and everything. We got our loyal, long-time writer and heavy metal encyclopaedia Chris Chantler to wax lyrical.

JUDAS PRIEST

‘Screaming For Vengeance: Special 30th Anniversary Edition’

SONY

In 1982 Priest had some ground to recapture; 1981’s ‘Point Of Entry’ had been a largely bland stab at radio-friendly hard rock thrown together in the studio in Ibiza, the first serious misstep in a hitherto flawless career. So what better way to re-affirm their regal status than with ‘The Hellion’, metal’s most triumphant intro, a gleaming sci-fi fanfare of effervescent twin guitars announcing the arrival of ‘Electric Eye’, just about as compulsive and genre-defining as any metal song has ever been – as indeed is the blistering title track. The sublime ‘Riding On The Wind’ (with its interlocked malfunctioning robot solos), economical chart-hit singalong ‘You Got Another Thing Comin” and wicked raucous boogie ‘Devil’s Child’ are all timeless anthems, but the underrated ‘Bloodstone’, with its irresistible swaggering riff and steady, snappy beat, deserves greater attention – as does forgotten single ‘(Take These) Chains’, a sweet slice of unobtrusively catchy AOR pop-metal. ‘Pain And Pleasure’ is a disposable and inoffensive filler, but the moody ‘Fever’ is a sophisticated breather that justifies its place in such rarefied company. Bonus track ‘Prisoner Of Your Eyes’ is a limp ballad from the 1986 ‘Turbo’ sessions and has no business being on this album, and the four bonus live tracks are gratefully received but rather put in the shade by the bonus live DVD.

Filmed at the 1983 US Festival in California, it is an utterly riveting spectacle: a perfect setlist discharged in blazing sunshine to 300,000 “heavy metal maniacs”, Halford in particular at the peak of his powers as a truly masterful singer and frontman, the whole band precision-engineered and looking glorious, like intergalactic captains of the Leather Rebel Alliance (except of course superannuated docker Dave Holland). This album was already one of Priest’s six or seven all-time storming metal masterpieces; with this additional live document it’s beyond essential. [5/5]

‘Screaming For Vengeance: 30th Anniversary Edition’ is out now.

You can read more about Judas Priest in our Secret History Of Extreme Britain out now.

 

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