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Yes, the title of this review is a terrible pun, but the collection presented today is anything but. Judas Priest is a landmark heavy metal band. Some regard them as part of the holy trinity of metal bands along with Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. Columbia Records celebrated the legacy of this band by releasing their single collection starting with “Sin After Sin” and ending at “Painkiller.” In total this collection has 51 songs presented on 20 CDs. This is a must have for any Priest fan and collector.
The discs are presented as mini-LPs complete with faithfully restored packaging and sleeves just as they were when released as records back in the day. All the CDs fit firmly in the box and are compact and easy to carry around. Going through the single history of the band makes for intriguing listens by seeing what they were trying to do spreading certain tracks to the audience.
The b-sides on these singles are usually other studio songs or live cuts. The live tracks are fruitful listens as there some energetic performances of “Freewheel Burning” and “Exciter.” My personal favorites were the tracks recorded in my hometown of Cleveland in 1978 with “Beyond the Realms of Death”, “White Heat Red Hot”, and “Starbreaker.” The live version of “Starbreaker” is much faster and has more aggressive drums and “Beyond the Realms of Death” shows Rob Halford’s godly vocals. He is the Metal God for a reason.
There is one quirky aspect of this collection though that I don’t understand. After reaching the singles from “Turbo”, the next ones found are for “Painkiller.” The singles from “Ram It Down” are missing. There were four singles from “Ram It Down”, but none are here. In reality, this really isn’t the complete collection and there is no excuse to leave them off.
Besides that omission, to round out the set are a pack of album magnets to proudly represent Judas Priest fandom on a refrigerator and also a booklet detailing each single and the songs found on each along with chart positions and so forth. There are also some neat pictures to stare at to keep each listener entertained.
Even though the “Ram It Down” singles have been rammed out of this collection, do not let this deter a purchase. It is a limited set and since this came out last year, I suggest any Priest fan to pick this up before there isn’t a “single” one left.