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Rocka Rolla is the softest and strangest Judas Priest album ever laid down, which is quite unfortunate. Any lucky soul fortunate enough to hear the band before this was recorded in 1974(circa 1969 - 1974) knows this does not do the band justice in anyway, even for back then. Especially since the music they played on the album was quite heavy and harder than it comes across here.
We all know Priest as a snarling raging beast who's influence should never be questioned and Hall Of Fame ticket simply stamped, but here we are given something so totally unmatched that it makes Point Of Entry sound like Painkiller. Most of the songs are thin and frail and lack any kind of real inspiration, but that is due to poor production. Pointing out the problems here would not be fair, not just because it's Priest, but because there IS some highlights to be found. The better songs are, to mine and everyone's surprise, the soft and subtle tracks.
One For The Road is a typical song about the passion for music and an immoral way to introduce the world to Judas Priest, however the 5/4 signature is a nice little twist.
Rocka Rolla starts the trend of Priest style story-telling, poetic and very evasive, yet it's very direct here. The music here is also very upbeat and happy sounding.
Winter begins softly before erupting?? into a lifeless hard rock number, with the only highlight being John Hinch's dull but effective drum fills after the first verse. Deep Freeze is nothing but K.K. hammering out crazy sound effects made so by his whammy bar, sometimes sounding scary, which leads into... Winter Retreat, which is what one would expect from Pink Floyd. Soft, mellow and three-dimensional.
Cheater comes next and picks the speed back up, in fact it is the second fastest song on the album. The lyrics return to the directness of the title track, this time dealing with adultery instead of just discussing it. The use of harmonica gives this a very nice contrast to the other songs on the album, it's truly fun. The solo is also effective and very fun.
Never Satisfied comes next and aside from being the "heaviest" song on the album is without a doubt, the weakest. The solo break is nice but the song never really goes anywhere, with almost every second sounding like the one before.
Then comes the best song on the album and one of the best of the bands career, mainly because of how unparalleled it is in the bands entire catalogue. A beautiful atmospheric ballad, which showcases a great solo by K.K. and Glenn in the beginning. The most awesome part you never saw coming is the last verse, which has Rob screaming his lungs out that is bound to give you shivers and shed a tear.
Dying To Meet You is the fastest song on the album once it picks up, but the slower beginning is the best part of the song. Great rhythm and great vocals, which were never again done by Rob. The final song Caviar And Meths is, just like the opener, an immoral way to close an album. It's not a bad song by any means, in fact the two minutes we get is great, but it also proves how great it could've been, but that is expected by this point.
Proceed with caution with this one as "metal heads" may find it's laid back feeling a bit to abstract. But give it time and you will see, like all releases by Priest, you could never deny the few areas of greatness that is found here.