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A definite step up from the previous album - 88%

UltraBoris, August 7th, 2002

This is one of Priest's most consistent albums - along with Stained Class and Painkiller, there is really nothing bad to be found here. It also has some very nice atmosphere, and definitely good guitar work. However, the production is merely okay, as is the case on most of Priest's 70s work - the guitar isn't loud enough and kinda lacks punch (see: Priest in the East for how to achieve punch, and have the definitive versions of these songs, yade yade yada.) But hey, for 1976, this is fucking godly... for historical importance, you can't beat this one, and even today the songs sound like heavy fucking metal, bordering on thrash at times. This is one that won't get mistaken for classic rock.

There really isn't a bad song here. Even the two little interludes "Prelude" and "Epitaph" are very nice. Well, Epitaph is a full song, but it's a little piano number, but it serves as a perfect intro to Island of Domination.

The very good: "Victim of Changes", we all know ths one. "Island of Domination" - sort of a speedish number that turns midpaced in the middle. These two are actually the weakest tracks on here in my opinion, though they are quite excellent.

The awesome: "The Ripper", "Tyrant", "Genocide" - three classics of heavy metal. Tyrant was highly influential, especially with the almost random thrash break (that's right!) thrown in around the end, followed by the brilliant solo. Genocide bursts in with a dose of power out of nowhere - "slice to the left, slice to the right" - that part is just fucking vicious. And who can forget that classic intro lick on The Ripper, that solid speed metal intro riff, and that shriek? This is where Evil Has no Boundaries got its inspiration, you can totally tell.

The absolutely fucking mind-blowingly stupendously incredible: "Dreamer Deceiver"/"Deceiver" - won't SOMEONE (either Priest or Halford) play this one live?? I know both Halford and Owens could nail the high notes in here, and it would be a spectacular vocal performance (a certain live 1975 version has even higher notes in 2 places at the end of "Deceiver"!) This song (two songs, whatever, they go together) is (are) totally and completely awesome and can do no wrong. Even the production can be overlooked, because there is nothing to compare it to. DoH!

Overall, this is one of the Must Have albums by Judas Priest - if you have any sense of history, you'll pick this one up on vinyl. And if you get it on CD, beware of the fucked up tracklisting. I've got it ripped to mp3s and I've got Victim of Changes as track 6... the album goes a lot better like that, with the guitar harmony intro to begin side B, and the classic power-metal track of an intro piece (Helloween, anyone) to start the entire fucking thing. Classic shit, when all is said and done... no, it's not quite as good as the later live versions, but still it is indispensable.