I mentioned previously that two major British metal acts would appear on my list here in 1982. Today we have the second, as Judas Priest has us “Screaming For Vengeance” with this highly successful album. The similarities in sound and style between Priest and Maiden are notable. In both cases we start with a powerful vocalist with seemingly endless vocal strength and range. Add in dueling lead guitars (K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton for Judas Priest), bass, drums, and lots of leather and explosions, and you have either band in full force. If I had to choose, I personally would give the edge to Iron Maiden, as Judas Priest doesn’t have an answer for Steve Harris on bass, and I prefer the vocal tone of Bruce Dickinson to Rob Halford, but both of these bands, and both of these albums really rock.
Apparently, I have needed a lot of aggressive rock music this week, and Judas Priest carried the torch very effectively. Side one just rips open with the instrumental opener “The Hellion”, which bleeds over into “Electric Eye”. Next comes “Riding on the Wind”, which has to be one of the best songs on the album. The rest of side one is a slightly slower and heavier mix of songs, they do seem to mix up the pace a bit more than their British rivals.
Side two opens with the title track, and we are back at top speed. Rob Halford is most certainly “Screaming for Vengeance”, and if this song doesn’t make you want to run into something as hard as you can, or at least rock your head up and down, you may not be doing it right. Next comes their one mainstream major hit from this album, “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”. I may not have always loved Judas Priest, but I definitely have always had this song on my playlist, it is an outstanding metal hit.
The rest of the album was a bit more mixed. As my son listened to the beginning of “Fever”, he said “this sounds like an REO Speedwagon song”. I assure you, that was not intended as a compliment. I would maybe compare it more to a band like Tesla, but I prefer my Judas Priest a bit more on the fast side. It has certainly been a good run of loud and aggressive mix, what better way to survive a stressful holiday season? Rock on…