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Released between their greatest commercial successes in the form of British Steel and Screaming for Vengeance, Point of Entry seems to have ended up as the forgotten cousin in the Priest discography. While a success in its day, it hasn’t stood the test of time well, and frankly it’s not hard to see why.
That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with it per se. Far from it in fact. The songs on here are mostly decent hard rock tracks very much in the vein of Killing Machine/Hell Bent for Leather and British Steel. The problem is that it comes across as more of the same.
It’s like listening to an entire album of the lesser known songs off British Steel but without anything that leaps out and grabs you as immediately and effectively as the distinctive riffs from Breaking the Law or Electric Eye. It’s hard to be more specific about tracks, because they’re mostly good but all so forgettable.
Ironically, the album doesn’t really kick off until it reaches the bonus tracks, which are available on the 2001 remaster. Thunder Road is to my mind the forgotten classic of 80s Priest. It’s also another example of the bizarre bonus track choices made with these remasters, as it was actually recorded during the Ram it Down sessions!
So while it doesn’t belong on this record, Thunder Road nonetheless shares the outstanding production and song writing on the inconsistent but occasionally brilliant Ram it Down. It starts off sedately enough, then dives into a long sequence of traded solos and vocal brilliance that has to be heard to be believed. In short, it’s a highlight.
The other bonus track is a live recording of Desert Plains that takes the fairly bland and pedestrian original and injects it with immensely more power and energy. One wonders how Priest keeps dragging up such obscure live tracks yet hasn’t made a decent live album since the 70’s. It’s worth hearing, but don’t buy the album for it.
In short, Point of Entry is a ‘listen and forget’ sort of album. It’s not bad, but it’s nothing special either. Pick it up if you see it cheap or you’re a Priest completist (in which case, good on you). Otherwise, don’t panic.