Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Only Priest That Will Save Your Soul

Formed in Birmingham in 1968, the original metal Gods, Judas Priest have sold over 35 million albums. Make no mistake about it, thats a lot of kicked asses. First time I heard them was when I was 11 years old and my mother bought me a VHS video called Molotov Cocktail for Christmas. The tape featured four bands (Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Fastway and Blue Oyster Cult) and had two songs by each. The Priest songs were 'Breaking The Law' and 'You've Got Another Thing Coming' and using the old cliche, they blew my tiny ears away. Melted the fleshy shells to the core!
It was Ozzy that I was the biggest fan of at the time but Judas Priest had no trouble in reaching Ozzy's level (even surpassing it over time) and I was a fan as soon as I heard them. That very first time. I remember swapping compilation music cassettes in school and some of the songs I fell in love with without having a clue who the bands were, the songs being so brilliant. I was later to discover that Judas Priest were the authors of most of them.
Curiously enough I never bought one of their albums in the early years. There were too many great bands coming onto the metal scene, and being still only a teenager in school my funds for heavy metal albums were somewhat limited. Of course I had seen the album designs for such classics as Screaming for Vengeance and Defenders Of The Faith, had a few of them sewn onto my obligatory denim jacket, but the first Judas Priest album I ever got was Ram It Down.

Photobucket Ram It Down album artwork

Songs like 'Heavy Metal', 'Blood Red Skies' and the awesome cover of Chuck Berry's 'Johhny B. Goode' from that album had me bouncing off the walls like a pitbull jacked up on amphetamine. And this isn't even one of their considered classics! Just imagine, if even a mediocre record (according to critics, I personally LOVE it!) can get me into such a delirious state, then think of what truly genius records like British Steel and Painkiller do to me? What an amazing band to keep coming up with such melodious slabs of heavy metal lovliness. Their only slip up occuring during those ill fated years when Ripper Owens replaced Rob Halford as frontman.
Not long ago I decided to get every Juda Priest album (including the Ripper ones) on CD and a mighty collection it is. I can play them back to back for days on end and still never get tired of the songs. Ditto the iPod. I can play Priest on shuffle and always a top tune will crop up. Im never thinking to myself, 'oh not this song again,' its always, 'bloody brilliant, love this song!'
There are not a lot of bands one could say that about. Few acts reach such heights, and even fewer could topple Judas Priest off their deserved place as one of metals premier and outstanding contributors. All hail the Priest!

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