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Where's the earth-shattering kaboom? - 55%

Warthur, September 16th, 2011

You would, after all, have expected Judas Priest's debut to have hit the scene with an earth-shattering kaboom as opposed to an unenthusiastic thud. The fact is that whilst the essential elements of the band's sound is in place, they're not quite firing on all cylinders yet. Tipton and Downing's twin lead guitar playing is all present and correct, and shows a certain influence from Wishbone Ash (who'd been doing the twin lead for years in a folk-rock/prog-rock sort of style), though of course with more of a metallic edge than usual, though except for on the title track or Run of the Mill they never quite manage the full roar of their usual sound. Likewise, whilst Rob Halford's high-pitched singing voice is already developed, he never lets rip with the sort of shrieks we are used to hearing from him.

Compositionally speaking, the set isn't particularly compelling either, being mostly rooted in the sort of blues-influenced hard rock that was hardly uncommon in 1974, with the occasional nod to fellow Birmingham residents Black Sabbath spicing things up. According to the band, they wanted to include some of the material which would eventually appear on Sad Wings of Destiny on this album, but were pressured into delivering a more commercial album to start off with; I don't know whether that's true, but I can certainly believe it, because there's a lack of enthusiasm evident on this record which is absent from the followup. A piece of metal history, but one that has not aged at all well.