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Their faith hath been defended. - 91%

langstondrive, July 4th, 2004

Priest returns once again, this time providing a follow-up to the roaring Screaming for Vengeance. Were they able to top it with Defenders? No, but that doesn't make the latter a bad album by any means. The first word that comes to mind is different, very different. I would say that Defenders has more of a melodic feel while still maintaining the raw heaviness that Screaming brought.

The production is tight, and Halford sounds better than ever, using his higher voice for much of the album. Guitar work is stellar as usual and the rhythm section stays in the background to hold the rest of the insanity together. The album opens with "Freewheel Burning". Oh man, this song has to be at least 30% of this entire rating. Just listen to the parts at 1:55 and 2:45. This has got to be the heaviest song they had written at the time (equal to or even surpassing Screaming for Vengeance).

What else is notable about this album? Love Bites is a tight, old school heavy metal song with a sort of sing-along beat that may not appeal to all, but the guitar work, although simple, holds the song together well, even leaving room for the bass to sneak in some haunting lines. The Sentinal really runs along the lines of an Iron Maiden song, honestly, if I didn't know any better I would say it was an outake from Number of the Beast. An absolute ripper of a song, more speed metal to be found here. Halford's voice is aggressive as hell during the verses. Just listen at 1:34...badass.

Eat me alive...some scary lyrics here, starts with a happier sounding riff, then into a very simple, 4/4 beat with said lyrics over it. Nothing terribly special, the riff behind the chorus is decent, but overused in the annals of metal. Some heads are gonna roll is another pretty good, fast paced song with a few memorable riffs and the such, but nothing special from Priest. Night comes down...horrid. The only real shitty song on the album, but I suppose it is mandatory to include the ballad.

Heavy duty is next, again, another basic heavy metal song. Nothing really special, but still very good. The final track, Defenders of the Faith....how catchy is this? I can imagine this being a great sing-along for the crowd (as is shown in the live bonus track). Even the guitar riff behind is pretty cool.

A definite keeper of an album, not Priest's best, but still an excellent metal album.