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Judas Priest's undisputed best album from their "commercial" era. - 100%

goflotsam, July 5th, 2019

Screaming for Vengeance by Judas Priest is one of the hallmarks of heavy metal history and has influenced millions of bands since its release. Many mainstream critics choose to pay their attention to British Steel, however this album was much better and on top of that, more successful. Regardless of me being born in 1995, this album is easily one of my two favorite Priest albums with the other being Painkiller. Commercial-sounding or not, this album is pure gold and I'm going to explain why.

Screaming for Vengeance has so many high points for a Judas Priest album with it's three big hits all deserving some mention. "The Hellion / Electric Eye" is not only the opener to this amazing record but it displays the return of the heavier side of Priest that was mostly absent from the lackluster Point of Entry. In my opinion, it's Priest's "Highway Star" similar to how "Exciter" was their "Speed King". The second single, "(Take These) Chains" is probably the most 80s sounding song on the album, mainly because I think of new wave bands whenever I hear it. The third single is Judas Priest's signature song, "You've Got Another Thing Comin'". This song is a really good example of a filler track that gained a large prominence, and is such a good song with a driving beat that whenever I hear it during workouts, it adds an extra bit of motivation.

Speaking of motivation, the musicians on Screaming for Vengeance have noticeably improved compared to the album's two predecessors. Dave Holland's drumming techniques are stronger on this record as his faster tempo is unleashed on songs like "Riding on the Wind" and the title track. The twin guitar attack of Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing also improved with virtually every song having some of the best guitar play that Judas Priest did during the 80s, with "Bloodstone" getting bonus points for having some really catchy guitar riffs. The metal god Rob Halford screams for vengeance on this record as his vocals pierce the sky, even when you begin the title track on Side B. Ian Hill's bass playing is quite funky on this record with his best playing being on "Fever".

Another thing I love about this album besides the care that was put into this is the fact that (for an 80s metal album) there are no cover songs on the album. Not trying to say that the cover of Fleetwood Mac's "The Green Manalishi" or Joan Baez' "Diamonds and Rust" were bad, but I think Priest did the right thing with straying away from covers on this record. Since covers are usually filler tracks, I believe "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" is a perfect compromise for the two aforementioned covers being included on the legendary Unleashed in the East live album (the studio versions of "The Green Manalishi" and "Diamonds and Rust" were originally on Killing Machine and Sin After Sin respectively). I don't think Screaming for Vengeance would be as awesome as it is if the big hit wasn't on the album.

But when it comes down to the wire, Screaming for Vengeance is an album that not only defined metal music, but it's also one of the most important rock albums ever made. It served as an inspiration for bands of one of the most beloved metal subgenres known to man: power metal. Without this album, you'd probably have no Helloween or Blind Guardian as we know it. And the world would be 100% less manly, the score of this album's review.

Judas Priest's Blueprint for Success - 82%

Superchard, April 6th, 2018

At the turn of the decade, in the early 1980s it would seem that Judas Priest was starting to lose steam with their 1980 snore-fest "British Steel" seeing the band going towards a more stripped down commercial route. The very next year they would follow it up with what many fans consider to be the weakest album in their entire catalogue "Point of Entry". It would seem that the heavy metal Goliath had finally been brought down until out of nowhere the band was hit with a stroke of brilliance and would follow up what many consider to be their weakest album with what many would consider to be their strongest to date.

Masterful production, a crunchy and warm guitar tone, catchy yet thoughtful songwriting, twin guitar solos, graying the lines between pop and heavy metal and Rob Halford screaming as if it were for vengeance or something. 1982's Screaming for Vengeance brought Judas Priest back on the map and gave fans more of what they had come to expect from the band. From this point on Judas Priest would finally have a record that would become the blueprint for their most successful albums including this album's follow up Defenders of the Faith, Painkiller and their most recent release to date, Firepower. Straight away from the opening melodic dual guitar work on "The Hellion" it's evident that this is a much more polished Judas Priest than what we've heard before on albums previous to this. The guitars unapologetically soar through the speakers and introduce us to the fan favorite speed metal classic "Electric Eye", an excellent track to start the album off proper which typifies much of what comes to follow. There is no shortage of catchy guitar riffs, powerful high end falsetto screams, lyrics, and excellent bass and drum work.

It's all here for the most part, with the only duds being a song by the name of "(Take These) Chains" and the track that follows "Pain and Pleasure". The former being the weakest song on the album, but admittedly wasn't written by the band but an American rock singer by the name of Bob Halligan Jr. If you have a newer copy of the album, chances are you have another dud by the name of "Prisoner of your Eyes" which I believe was left off the initial release for good reason. A slower tune that stretches out over 7 minutes, boldly sitting there right at the end of the album as if to taunt you and dares you to not skip it. It's a sappy pop metal tune much more in the vain of something like Scorpions that lacks emotion, grit, or personality. "Hallowed be thy Name" this is not.

Aside from these three songs in particular though, Screaming for Vengeance is a relentless piece of work that blends together pop and heavy metal and has spawned classic rock tunes such as the radio hit "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" and "Devil's Child" which seem to take a page from the riff-rock catchiness of AC/DC, but with songwriting that allows the songs to convey more than just a few ideas whereas tracks like "Riding on the Wind" and the title track take the album towards more of a speed metal direction. In my opinion this is where the album really takes its stride is on these more up-tempo tracks. Dave Holland pounds away on the beginning of "Riding on the Wind" like a madman behind the kit and the guitar work here is a level beyond on what can be heard on the slower tracks. The only exception to that rule being the slower blues metal crunch of "Bloodstone" which has this really interesting, up-and-down swaggering guitar solo that eventually molds into something more typical of Judas Priest. It's moments like this where Screaming for Vengeance has just a touch of its own style that separates it from the rest of Priest's catalogue.

For the most part, "Screaming for Vengeance" dials the volume knob and gain knobs all the way up and leaves them there. It's not the masterpiece that many fans have made it out to be with only a few snoozers intermingled in an other fantastic album. By the end of it all "Screaming for Vengeance" manages to accomplish what it sets out to do in spades. Highly recommended for anyone that hasn't already gotten into Judas Priest, this is perhaps the best place to start to get acquainted with the band's brand of heavy metal music.

Superchard gets super hard for:
Screaming for Vengeance
Devil's Child
Riding on the Wind

Genre-defining masterwork from the metal gods - 100%

soul_schizm, April 4th, 2018

There's probably 4 or 5 albums in existence that I can honestly say are perfect, and Screaming for Vengeance is one of them. Perfection doesn't come easily; I've got standards. First of all, I'm way too impatient for tracks that don't quite measure up to the rest of the disc. If tracks 5 and 7 are head-stomping awesome, guess what? Track 6 is probably going to be skipped often because frankly, why wait? That knocks an album down a notch. And I'm fickle, too. For example, it took me awhile to really catch on to the greatness of Queensrÿche's Operation Mindcrime. I admit it. It sat on my desk for 6 months, and then it suddenly clicked and I couldn't get it out of my head for a year. There might be a hundred other albums that are amazing but for whatever reason didn't penetrate my thick head. You can't very well rate an album as perfect if you don't hear it now can you? On the other hand, some discs just wear out over time. Symphony X's Paradise Lost played constantly in my car for months when it was released. Now I'm rather indifferent to it. The same can be said for Destruction's Infernal Overkill, which has aged poorly and is relegated to the dark recesses of my iTunes catalog, but used to receive regular play way back when. I thought Kreator's Pleasure to Kill was the ultimate violent outburst of thrashy awesomeness. It's still awesome but not quite as 'ultimate.'

To rate something as perfect every damn song has to be worthy every time the disc is played. I've got to want to play it from beginning to end, and not just cherry-pick the top 3, 4, or even 5 tracks. When I create a playlist it's a given that I drag the whole album over. And it's got to slay my brain the same today as when I first heard it. Thirty years have to go by and even then I've got to feel like a newly-spawned metalhead teenager playing that album. Fucking impossible. Classic, milestone metal albums often don't exist in that kind of rarified air. Kill 'Em All and The Number of the Beast can't measure up to that standard. Bonded By Blood doesn't quite get there. But Screaming for Vengeance makes it over the hump.

This record is actually a dramatic change from what Priest had been doing, having reached a career peak with Hell Bent for Leather, following it up with a British Steel record that was well-crafted but contained a considerable helping of radio-friendly cheese, and then completely tanking out with the horrifyingly lame Point of Entry. It's like Screaming for Vengeance was a stab from the grave, as the coffin lid was being shut with "here lies a band that used to be metal" written in epitaph upon it. It felt like one last cry against the fading light as the metal genre moved into a new era, threatening to leave them behind. Many bands would have whimpered and died, perhaps with a final batch of iffy tunes lacking in creativity or inspiration. But not The Mighty Priest. With Screaming for Vengeance, in one stroke, Judas Priest pounded their already hefty legend into the firmament like few bands have ever done 8 albums into their career. They climbed up from the grave and soared all the way into the sky in a blaze of glory, all in the space of about a calendar year. Interestingly, they would do so yet again with Painkiller, which just further proves how indestructible this band was over and above any other act outside of Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden.

Screaming for Vengeance is a muscular, pile-driving experience from start to end owing in equal parts to a top-notch production, varied and thoughtful songwriting, a driving pace, and Halford's sick, over-the-top delivery. Gone are cheesy commercial songs like "Heading Out to the Highway" and "Living After Midnight," which frankly made everyone uncomfortable since the tracks were just caricatures, like walking around town wearing a cartoon mask of yourself. Gone are the weak-ass lyrics of "Hot Rockin'" because, well, it sucked and like I said, Screaming for Vengeance is "a case of do or die." There is no time for anthems like "United" either: too slow and not pissed off enough.

Instead, upon pushing play, "The Hellion" roars forth with its iconic soaring melody and crushing chords, evoking apocalyptic visions of fire and glory. "Electric Eye" follows quickly with power chord crashes underneath Tipton's classically-inspired opening riff, and we've achieved blastoff. After that there's no doubt you're in for a metallic slab of red meat with no veggies on the side. You're in the hands of the masters. And they are going to deliver a lesson in how to do metal, and do it right. You thought they were done? Think again, pal.

Every song is carved on to the platter in its perfect place, and each one has its own distinct personality. Hard-charging songs like the title track and "Electric "Eye" are balanced out beautifully with more thoughtful and intricate pieces like "Bloodstone" and "Fever." Snarling anger and disdain is dealt out in abundance, but topics like world politics and heartbreak are slotted in to break things up, just at the right time. Most bands put together a group of songs like a baseball lineup. The best songs go at the top and it goes downhill from there, with the exception of that one guy who is having a surprise breakout season sitting near the bottom of the lineup. With this album, side B is arguably the better of the two, containing the rip roaring metalfest that is "Screaming for Vengeance" followed by the iconic "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" and ending with one of my favorite Priest tunes ever in "Devil's Child." Throw in "Fever" - the most unique song on the record - and you've got a B side that any band would proudly feature at the top of their set list. There wasn't a need to cover up a weak tune, so they just put everything together into a complete work. If ever there was an album that iTunes should disallow single song downloads, it's this one. You can't just pick out "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" and "Electric Eye" and say you know Screaming for Vengeance. You may as well grab two ears and an eyeball and say you know the person's face.

Widely acknowledged as one of the top metal vocalists of all time, Screaming for Vengeance might be the greatest moment in Halford's career. This is the album where the ferocity of the music finally caught up with his capabilities. For years he had been astonishing audiences with his range and delivery, but it was here where the only approach that would work is to combine his considerable range and power with equal shares of piss and vinegar. He delivers a truckload of attitude throughout the disc, but it is on the title track that The Metal God shows up and just goes off like a bomb in your living room. In 1982 there were 4.5 billion people on the planet, and exactly one who could do "Screaming for Vengeance" the way it needed to be done. Then he follows up with "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" which is a testosterone-fueled fuck you requiring the utmost disdain on the vocal track. The whole album is full of what makes Halford a legend but other high moments include "Devil's Child" with that snarling, screeching chorus and the more earnest stylings present on "Bloodstone."

On the topic of musical ferocity, Tipton and Downing's dual guitar attack reaches a new peak on this album both in terms of sheer muscle and the riffology employed crafting these songs into existence. Much can be said about the better-known passages such as "The Hellion" - which is on my short list of greatest intros in the history of metal - and the amped-up grind of the title track. But I'm actually more fond of the intricate riffs, such as the opening of "Bloodstone" and the clean, echoing lines that set the tone of "Fever." There's a craftsmanship here that I feel is overlooked. It's not just power chords and Halford's high-register shrieks. Tipton and Downing are no joke. They consistently wrote amazing stuff for decades, throwing in twists that you wouldn't necessarily expect given their skillset isn't based on technical wizardry. The writing trio of Tipton, Downing, and Halford is among the greatest and most enduring in rock history, not just metal, and if I had to point to one body of work that exemplifies what they are capable of, it's this disc. There's almost no repetition present across the album. When you take each track it can stand on its own yet each one is undeniably Priest, save the cover of "(Take These) Chains." As if to put a cherry on top, some of them have these amazing lead breaks where key changes happen out of the blue, and some of the best riffs happen only once. Witness the mid sections of "Devil's Child" and "Bloodstone." And the leads themselves are well written, with that trademarked interplay between Tipton and Downing's distict styles. It's an equal partnership, and a long-lived one at that. This isn't the dominant Hetfield and the submissive Hammett. It's not Mustaine and his latest plug-and-play partner. Tipton and Downing are equal-share stakeholders. Big difference folks. Listen to these songs with that in mind. You'll hear it.

Underpinning this entire disc is Tom Allom's amazing production. The best way I can describe the sound of Screaming for Vengeance is dense and layered, full of pounding drums and wall-of-sound guitars that belie the 4 musicians playing it. Allom uses Tipton and Downing's dual guitar work to perfect effect, putting the rhythm guitars right in your face and utilizing radically different tonalities between the two axemen as they trade solos. There's a considerable amount of overdubbing going on, creating a layered guitar sound that wasn't present on British Steel, and not to this extent on Point of Entry. Notably, this is the first album where the drum mix is given much more thump, a theme that would carry forward to the next few releases. It's not a modern sound by today's standards, but the bass drum in particular is very prominent, especially on tracks like "Pain and Pleasure." Listening to these songs feels like being walloped over the head with a hammer at times, and caught in a whirlwind at others. While this kind of listening experience is a given today, in 1982 it was much more difficult to accomplish. For its time this was some of the heaviest stuff going. Screaming for Vengeance was big boy metal. If you were listening to it, your parents were probably concerned. They'd rather you settle in to some Kiss or Whitesnake like a good boy.

As I write this review I'm sad to learn of Glenn Tipton's diagnosis, which combined with K.K. Downing's retirement brings to an official close the most identifiably metal band in history. But with albums like this one, their legacy will live on forever. Bands come and go. Time passes by. Judas Priest is no exception to this rule but what they leave behind is so special that I can honestly say it added more than just entertainment to my life. It worked its way into my identity in some fashion. I submit Screaming for Vengeance as their crowning achievement; a perfect metal album and on the short list of greatest moments in the history of heavy metal.

Judas Priest's second great peak - 95%

TrooperEd, March 4th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2001, CD, Columbia Records (The Remasters (North America pressing))

It could be argued that this is the most important album Judas Priest ever made. Yes, more important than the 70s albums (more than Stained Class? Ask me when I'm not high). The importance of this album can be stated in two simple words: Co-opting commerciality.

One thing that's frequently reviled by the metal community is just how important record sales and good business are in metal. Not everyone is equipped with the proper mental tools to dig underground at first. It's another reason why it was so frustrating that all those damn hairbands were so successful in the 80s. It was a complete watering down of the music. It was like Pat Boone covering Little Richard. Yes, British Steel was a commercial success before this album, but this album was a bigger success and it was a better album. Better songs, better track combinations, even Dave Holland seems to pull his act together for his best drum performance ever in Riding On The Wind.

Another important factor is that even the weaker moments aren't too soft. Even the supposed "ballads" like (Take) These Chains and Fever are merely soft for a short time before giving way to a AC/DC-esque bash. This is heavy fucking metal the way it was made to be played, and the fact that You've Got Another Thing Comin' was just another track that just happened to be the biggest success of Priests's career is just another reason why this album has the acclaim and respect it deserves. I'm much less inclined to shove Painkiller in the face of someone who says this is the best Priest album over British Steel.

And that production, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, is this production amazing or what? This is the perfect combination of an "of it's time" production job and a "timeless" production job. This is better than anything Martin Birch ever accomplished. The guitar tone alone, no one would dare call this classic rock. If there is a flaw with this album (or at least any of the re-releases), its that I still don't understand why anyone still assumes in the current year that The Hellion and Electric Eye should be two separate tracks. Priest never have substituted one before the other live! They even corrected this flaw on Priest...Live! Never dissuade your listeners right to shuffle, dear artists! Thank God for the iTunes join tracks function.

Highlights: The aforementioned Hellion/Electric Eye and You've Got Another Thing Comin are popular staples from this album for a very, very good reason. They're just great songs, with Hellion in particular being just about the greatest intro to an album ever! Other notable tracks include mid-paced rocker Bloodstone, which makes me think wonder just how much David Draiman stole from Rob Halford, Devil's Child being the greatest Brian Johnson era AC/DC song the Young brothers never wrote. But this album is legendary for the title track alone. This song could have been on any of the 70s albums and what have instantly stole the show. Rob is at his most dastardly and psychotic on this song, particularly with the final salvo of "SCREAMING...VENGEANCE." It segues into YGATC so perfectly that one almost, almost wishes two songs were one big Rush-esque epic.

Screaming For Vengeance is a must own for anyone calling themselves a fan of rock & roll, full stop. It is the gold standard of artistic integrity and accessibility than many bands try and fail to match. If you don't own this, run to buy it yesterday.

The Best Album from the 80's? - 70%

ballcrushingmetal, February 18th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1990, CD, Columbia Records

Having tasted the sourness of inconsistency, Judas Priest seemingly recovered their ways in the ninth studio album, without representing a return to the good old songwriting habits. Instead, the band relied on the commercial formula used in the late 1970s. The difference is that this time the album features numbers holding a heaviness of bestial proportions that they did not dare to write for previous releases (perhaps, with the only exceptions of "Rapid Fire" and "Running Wild"). However, the band kept the tendency of including filling material, and this is what affects its consistency in general. If these Britons had dealt more carefully with the songwriting department, something better could have resulted.

In general terms, the performance from Tipton and Downing displayed substantial improvements compared to previous studio albums. They sound more natural, showing that they can keep on doing what they are best known for. The only weakness is still the drumming. For whatever the reason, since Dave Holland joined the band, the drumming in the albums he features is too distorted by sound effects, and his technique is not able to reach the levels of quality shown by other drummers that used to play for the band. It does not mean he is a bad drummer, is just that his technique is way too average, and as a result, the exciting moments are quite a few.

The album starts in quite an impressive fashion with the instrumental prelude "The Hellion", which features some of the best riffs played by the twin-guitarists during the 1908s, and heralds one of the best songs in their catalog: "Electric Eye". This number is greatly played and written, as well as, a perfect precursor for the space-themed power metal played by bands like Scanner and Screamer. The next number is another highlight, and of those few moments provided by Holland. Wow! It is fucking heavy, speedish and steps on the border that divides men from children, and so on. Then, "Bloodstone" runs a little bit slower, but is still a killer. Its intro riff is a masterpiece in guitar playing, while Holland still sounds in good shape at this point. These three pieces make up a solid part of the album, what a godly beginning! Here is where the band put things together.

Unfortunately, the album going forward becomes too dull and is quite irregular. The title track and the AC/DC-inspired closing number get lost between some ballads like "Pain and Pleasure" and "Fever", which are not even half as good as (for instance) "Beyond the Realms of Death". Regarding the title track, it represents a comeback point in the album after the dull ballads. Its frantic speed and insane drumming almost destroyed Halford's lungs on account of the effort he makes to reach the velocity of this outrageous speed metal number. Along with the astonishing opening section of the album, this song is part of the most memorable moments thereof. With no doubts, this work is quite a remarkable part of their catalog, but its inconsistency does not allow it to reach the heights of the band's earliest stuff. Anyway, it is still something that should be part of your collection.

Heavy fucking metal - 100%

Writhingchaos, April 8th, 2016

This is it folks. One of the all-time classics of heavy metal along with Iron Maiden’s Powerslave, Jag Panzer’s Ample Destruction and many more. Seriously give it just a few listens and some part of each and every song will be stuck in your head for good! I mean it. This album is super addictive and catchier than AIDS. Of course there will be many fans out there who would proclaim Stained Class, Defenders Of The Faith or Painkiller to be their crowning achievement (and they wouldn’t be wrong), but this album is where every single diverse element of the band comes together to full and perfect fruition. Still doubt my words? Well, you go right ahead and listen to any of the songs so I can watch you eating your own hat right away.

As soon as the harmonized intro of “The Hellion” explodes into the opener-to-end-all-openers (yep you read that right!!) “Electric Eye” leading up to the uber-catchy “Riding On The Wind”, you just know that you’re in for one hell of a ride. And seriously all of them are fucking scorchers, from “Pain and Pleasure” to the killer title track (arguably the heaviest and fastest song on the album) “Devil’s Child” (awesome solo) to my personal favourite “Bloodstone” with a ridiculously catchy main riff at 0:17. Ohh boy this is just too good. Just can’t keep this doozie of a song off repeat. Not all of the album is heavy metal mayhem as the metal gods show that they even rip it on the ballads with the amazing “Take These Chains” with another super catchy chorus and the slow spellbinding build-up of “Fever”. Yes, diversity folks, this album has it too. And no matter what you say; whether you’re a metalhead or not, there’s no way in hell you can look at me and tell me that “You’ve got Another Thing Coming” is not one of the most fist-pumping classic 80s heavy metal songs you’ve ever heard, even as a casual fan. Of course along with many other songs, but that’s a list for another time. That song is just too damn catchy to be true and it could even convert non-fans. Although the last song is quite a surprise as Judas Priest showcase an almost progressive side to their music with the slow and heavy ballad “Prisoner Of Your Eyes” this unusual approach works marvellously and how! With amazing solos rounding off the song, this is the proper and grand way to end a classic album.

As for the individual performances, what can I really say? I mean the guitar duo of Tipton And Downing are one of the best in all of metal. Period. Together they weave a maze of delightfully catchy classic riffs and solos that are bound to stick in your head for days on end. One of the rare cases where you’ll not only be humming the guitar riffs but also the vocal melodies! Yep I said it right. And this happened to me after just two spins of the album! Also Rob Halford proves it to you in fucking spades why he’s considered one of the best vocalists in metal history. Although I hate to say this, but in terms of sheer consistency and songwriting perfection alone, this album destroys any of the Iron Maiden or Jag Panzer releases at the time, leaving all the other releases coughing in the dust and truly standing alone in its glory. Well Ample Destruction does come close, but not quite.

Bottom line is: I don’t give a hoot which metal genre tickles your fancy; if you have yet to hear this album, then you’re not a metal fan. As simple as that. Essential listening.

Glowing god of Mars! - 81%

Brainded Binky, February 15th, 2015

I've mentioned in another review that I preferred "British Steel" over "Screaming for Vengeance", and there are reasons for this. It's not that "Screaming for Vengeance" is a terrible album (come on, I did give it more than 80% after all!), it's just that it doesn't have as much of Priest's aggression as the other albums have to offer. It's mostly commercial-sounding, but we do get some of that grinding and pounding sound that we crave, and the songs that contain them are classics that remain in our memories and will do so in the decades to come.

Possibly what made this album a classic among metal fans are the songs that are actually awesome. The whole album begins with a very effective harmonic riff that makes up "The Hellion", which goes into the equally powerful "Electric Eye". The latter is a fast and driving song that, with the improved production quality, set new standards for Judas Priest. Just as some of their songs got more and more radio-friendly, others got more and more aggressive. Sure, there were songs with faster tempos released even before "Screaming for Vengeance" ("Exciter" being one of my favorites), but the production quality of this album makes this song, along with the fast-paced title track, seem more aggressive and heavier than before. I guess being with a big record label like CBS was sort of a double-edged sword for the band, as they did seem to create some good stuff like "Electric Eye", but at the same time, they also released songs like "(Take These) Chains" (more on that later).

Some of the radio-friendly songs are more tolerable than others. For example, we've got the famous "You've Got Another Thing Comin'". It is at a more commercial pace, but it still has all the swagger that it needs to be a good song. More little-known songs, like "Bloodstone" and "Devil's Child" are sort of the same way, but the latter seems to have a more glam-like style. This might be foreshadowing the days of the dreaded "Turbo" album, the band's equivalent of Celtic Frost's "Cold Lake". Even with that said, it's not as bad as it could be. It's still kinda out of character for the band to release it, but what's even more out of character is "Pain and Pleasure". It's a slow, hard rock song that would be lousy enough to compete with "Don't Go" from "Point of Entry". The song I have the most complaints about, though, is "(Take These) Chains", a song written not by the band, but by a guy named Bob Halligan Jr. He was responsible for some songs by KISS, Kix, and, get this, Cher. Yeah, that Cher. No, not "chair", Cher. If you listened to the song, the evidence couldn't be any more glaring. It's got some insanely stupid melodies, especially in the chorus, so the heavy guitars and vocal performance of Rob Halford don't excuse the song from being ostracized by fans (including myself). In fact, Halford's vocals just don't seem to fit with that kind of melody. If you want someone who's more capable of pulling it off, I would suggest Paul Stanley instead. Rob Halford is too gruff and aggressive for those kinds of melodies. Sorry Mr. Halligan!

However, "(Take These) Chains" is just one song on the album, so it's not like the whole album has that insipid sound found there. If you want an excellent song that still has a bit of radio-friendliness (what very few of you there are), let's just ignore "(Take These) Chains" and go for "Riding on the Wind". Man, is that a powerful song! It's got a hard, rocking riff, but it's also set at a fast, driving tempo, like the more metal-influenced "Electric Eye". It's also where Halford's soaring and screeching vocals shine brightest. I can't really think of any song that consists entirely of Rob screaming his lungs out for every lyric of the song that had been released earlier. It puts a lot more power into the song, and that's one reason why it's one of my favorites on "Screaming for Vengeance". It's also the reason why I didn't give the album a rating lower than 80%. While the more commercial songs do take some points off, it's songs like "Riding on the Wind" that keep the album in the air.

Those songs, however, aren't enough for me to get "Screaming for Vengeance" a higher rating. The radio-friendliness is more prevalent here, and it's hard to ignore the sheer cheesiness of those songs. Nonetheless, some people still seem to enjoy it. I do, but not as much as other Priest albums. In my personal opinion, it's not as good as it could be. If it cut back on the radio-friendliness, it would've been on the same level as a much better, but often overlooked album released later, "Defenders of the Faith". I do have to admit, though, I love the album cover art!

Best 80's Priest Album - 88%

StainedClass95, July 8th, 2014

This is Priest's best selling and charting album. Apparently when it came out, they even used the Hellion to sell cars. I don't view this as Priest's best, or even contending, but it is the best they did during the 80's. It's got some very good stuff going on, Halford brought back his high notes, the music is very fun, and very little of this run time is bad.

Considering the last three albums, it seemed Halford was phasing out his higher register. The trend is reversed here, and he's using every area of his range. The result is quite nice, and these are some of Halford's best songs. His mid-range, with a slight mechanical tone, on Electric Eye is fantastic. His vocals on Screaming For Vengeance are as close to his Painkiller vocals as he had gotten thus far. The guitar playing is quite good. The duo do as well as would be expected in the riff department. The majority of this album is very nice, even by Priest's high standards of riffing. The solos are almost as good. They didn't yet have quite the level of response that they would have on the succeeding album, but this is close. They had learned a few of the new tricks, and while they weren't to Painkiller technically, they were definitely up from British Steel.

Probably the biggest selling point, commercially and metal-wise, for this album is the tightrope that it walks. This managed to take most of their metal traits and package it with a fun, hard-rock vibe. This definitely is fun music, with more atmospheric commonality to AC/DC than Bathory. It's hard to pin-point how they manage this, but I'm thinking that it has to do the brevity of the tracks and the lightness of the lyrics. None of these tracks are epic length which was good for the rock-metal fans that didn't want much complexity to their music. The lyrics themselves are fairly catchy and seldom attempt serious subject matter. The exception is Electric Eye, which was probably the last set of good lyrics that they ever wrote. Now for metal fans who aren't as interested in the rock-metal variety, there is something to be said for variety. There isn't a ton of metal that pulls off "fun" without being dumb. Many even feel that Anthrax failed, which goes to show how hard it is. Almost no one ever really criticizes this for it's fun, as it does this better than pretty much any other attempt at "fun" metal that I've heard. Priest also achieved this on a few other albums, but this is the strongest example.

The rhythm section is as weak as ever during this time. Ian doesn't have any real moment to shine, and he isn't very audible either. The drumming is probably worse. With Priest speeding up the music, it is clear how much Holland isn't cut out for this. Part of me wonders if the band understood what getting rid of Binks would mean to future compositions. In any case, this is one of the main failures of this era of Priest in general, is their weak rhythm. Supposedly, Priest even had to either keep the pace and complexity down or get a machine in order to make things doable for Holland. I don't know if this is true, but the music hardly debunks this theory. The other weak spot to this album is the middle. Take These Chains and Pain and Pleasure are examples of 80's commercial songwriting that has aged horribly. I've no idea why the band thought these were good ideas, but they are there nonetheless and do nothing but blow a hole in the middle of the album. This does have one of the few bonus tracks from the remasters that are worth hearing. Prisoner of Your Eyes isn't Dreamer Deceiver, but it's a big step-up from their norm. Between some legitimately tense playing and atmosphere, this is one of their best 3-4 ballads

This is the best Priest did between Stained Class and Painkiller. I have it as a fraction greater than Hell Bent For Leather owing to it's more consistent track-list. The margin is small, but I only have two points between them. I view the year of this release functions as a changing of the guard. Essentially, this is the last year where all the best albums were of the early metal variety. Metal was about to splinter into many directions, and would stay that way. As to who would enjoy this, the power and thrash that split off are the main ones, along with the previous early metal and hard-rock fans.

Timeless and much-imitated - 97%

The_Ghoul, June 11th, 2012

When it comes to a discussion on heavy metal, you cannot ever forget Judas Priest or their seminal album Screaming For Vengeance. No other album has been more influential in the development of metal, and after Screaming, heavy metal was never the same again. While Priest took a little detour into bar-based hard rock in the early 80's, they came back here with, well, a vengeance. It's hard to believe that this came right after Point of Entry; while PoE was subdued and generally relaxed, Screaming delivers riff after headbanging riff with little let or hindrance. In fact, I would say that SFV had a singular role in the development of traditional metal (think power metal, speed metal, heavy metal, etc...) unlike anything seen before or since. This IS that wrecking ball album, an album that changed the way people go about making metal.

And it couldn't have come at a better time. The way I see it, Priest had been in a bit of a creative slump, with the last two or three albums being more commercial pandering than straight up heavy metal. As well, Iron Maiden was starting to steal all of Priest's thunder, with a succession of speedy and melodically-played albums that threatened to knock the metal heavyweight off of its iron throne. Well, luckily enough, Judas Priest came out swinging with this pugilistic tour de force. And as much as I love Iron Maiden, this is knocks the ball out the park. Seriously, though, if you haven't heard this, play it from track one. From the first resounding chord of the intro, the metal-ness comes out in a way Priest wouldn't get near until Painkiller 7 years later. If you have listened to this album, then all I have to do is start humming the first line of "The Hellion" and you should be able to hum the entire rest of the album without break. This is literally that classic of an album.

So what should you expect from Screaming? Well, if that name didn't tell you, or the metal eagle swooping down for the kill on the cover didn't either, you should expect balls-out metal. Expect ridiculous guitar solos, expect driving and headbang-able riffs, expect soaring falsettos from Rob Halford, and expect enough heavy metal to give you lead or mercury poisoning. I could give a track by track review, but that would get repetitive, since each song is brimming with metal. If I had to pick the best songs here, though, it would be The Hellion/Electric Eye, Riding on the Wind, and Screaming for Vengeance. Each song, though, demonstrates a band at their prime. All cylinders are firing at optimum, and even the ultra-simplistic You Got Another Thing Comin' manages to get repeated listens.

I don't know any other way of putting it. Everything I look for in Priest I find in Screaming For Vengeance. So, I guess you could say this is the quintessential Judas Priest album. If you need a place to start in Judas Priest's truly massive catalog, let Screaming For Vengeance be that starting point. Even after listening to the rest of their large discography, I still find myself returning to Screaming For Vengeance. So stop reading this review, get this album, and see what I'm raving about.

Britain's Got Talons - 93%

autothrall, May 8th, 2012

Screaming for Vengeance represented a return to the level of ambition that Judas Priest had seemingly sidetracked for the previous albums British Steel and Point of Entry, but at the same time it also retains those records' flair for production and accessibility. Featuring the first of Doug Johnson's iconic cover trilogy (the stylish, metallic raptor who many bands like Primal Fear would later tweak and adopt as their mascot), this was a smashing success largely due to its major single "You've Got Another Thing Comin'", which experienced so much penetration into Western culture that you'd be hard pressed to find someone who didn't know it that wasn't deaf. But Screaming was and remains quite pleasing in its entirety, the best of Priest's recordings in the 80s, and while it's a few inches shy of perfection, even the worst songs in the roster are a match for nearly anything on Point of Entry.

One of the things that first struck me about the album is its lyrical awareness and even forward thinking nature, which the band had sort of dropped out of with a lot of songs on the few albums leading up to it. Not to say that the lyrics are as complex as some of the 70s material, or that every song here is necessarily deep in intent, but I rather appreciated the relevance of "Electric Eye" and its observations on...well, modern observation. Or corruption ("Bloodstone"). Granted, there are a number of sassy sex songs here like "Fever", "Devil's Child" and so forth, and your typical 'hit the road' feel goodness ("Riding on the Wind") and 'don't fuck with me' anthem ("You've Got Another Thing Comin'"), yet even these seem well handled. Unlike Point of Entry, Screaming for Vengeance seems far more structured and plotted out rather than just spontaneously created in some exotic studio locale to fit a particular theme. But it doesn't hurt that so many of the individual songs are bastions of strong writing and hooks that likely won't escape your memory...ever.

It also doesn't hurt that "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" is either tied with or surpassing "Breaking the Law" as the band's singular, most recognizable song. And at twice the length! The simple chugging in the verses is flush with Halford's diatribe of revenge and rebellion, and the (predictable) chorus is simply a timeless miracle that will probably sound as fresh and poignant in 2082 as it did in 1982. The lead, while not the best in their canon, also seemed a step up from most on the previous two albums, all tying in with the notion that Priest had once again attained some forward momentum here. Remarkably, the rest of the songs on the album are not nearly so popular. The dire melodies that instigate the brief intro "The Helion" are pervasive, and "Electric Eye" has some of the most unforgettable guitars in it since "Breaking the Law" and an ace chorus, but even this was not the hugest hit when the album first arrived. Other notables include "Bloodstone" with its airy screaming in both the verses and chorus, and a pretty sweet intro-lick reminiscent of something Eddie Van Halen might have pulled on one of his group's earlier records. Or "Riding on the Wind" with Dave Holland's opening battery and some cutting highway hard rock that makes it feel like a Point of Entry outtake (only a lot catchier thanks to that harpy chorus).

Priest also shows a softer side at points, but not for very long. Cleaner guitar tones introduce "(Take These) Chains" and "Fever", but it's not long before the chords erupt. Both highly underrated songs, but then, so is everything on this album that isn't named "You've Got Another Thing Comin'". The only tune I'm not a huge fanatic for is "Pain and Pleasure", which implements more or less a swaggering bluesy groove riff in the Zeppelin vein, yet even here the chorus is admittedly pretty good. In total, there is no imbalance to Screaming for Vengeance as there was with its predecessors. I never felt that I was experiencing a glut of creativity or phoned in filler; all the songs are very unified due to the production and pacing, but distinct from one another.

It helps that Rob is really on fire throughout the 39 minutes of the album, relying heavily on the screamed lines that he'd reined in for a few of the recent albums. I don't know about you, but while I appreciate the guy's adventurous nature and willingness to experiment and broaden his range to include its depths, I like it best when he's screeching over the iron-clad mesh of the guitars like acid raining from the sky, and we get plenty of that here. The guitar tone is boxy and effective, the leads spurious but entertaining, certainly some of the most acrobatic they'd yet delivered but still mindful of a good dual melody (as in the title track). The bass once again doesn't do much but follow the guitar, yet you can hear a few of his fills, and this was also the most muscular execution yet from Dave Holland, the powerful pounding undercurrent that the band would further exemplify as they blasted into the late 80s with Ram It Down, and of course the inevitable Painkiller.

Another element that I so love about Screaming for Vengeance is that, while it's immortal in quality, the album is very easily dated to the 80s and influential on so many greats to follow from Europe and the states. The zephyr-like reverb on the instruments, the huge if simple guitar hooks built to fill an arena, this was all a blueprint for hundreds of speed, power and even hard rock acts through the decade, and I really loved this sense of grand production, something we seem to miss in this modern age of excess tracking and digitized over-polish. Not that Screaming for Vengeance isn't 'clean' or mainstream enough sounding to satisfy even the most ardent pop audience, but there's just this sense of glory through the album that I don't get out of Rhapsody or Dragonforce, despite all their advancements in speed and technicality. This is not the best of Priest, but it's very far up the scale, hot enough to burst the mercury from its thermometer.


Overrated and Inconsistant, But Not Terrible. - 84%

Metal_Jaw, February 23rd, 2012

Priest decided to go back to a more traditional heavy metal sound after the poorly-received, lame, rock-influenced "Point Of Entry". A few months in the studio produced "Screaming For Vengeance", the band's highest-selling album, as well as the creation of one of their most massive world tours. But is "Screaming" all it's cracked up to be? No, definitely not, but it's certainly not terrible either.

The 80's team is here and accounted for, serving under a particularly big and metallic Tom Allom production. Rob Halford does great vocal work here, letting loose his wide range of screams, wails, and some good and often melodic mid-range work. Ian Hill's bass is practically invisible here, but does shine when some songs get quieter. KK Downing and Glenn Tipton are the stars here, their trademark guitars dueling on full blaze, trading off catchy riffs and nasty licks. Dave Holland trudges along and keeps it steady with his drums, though to be fair, he does have some good, hard moments here and there like on "Electric Eye" or the title track.

The song set is like many other Priest albums; songs that are awesome, and songs that are okay, and some songs that suck. Numbers like "Riding On The Wind" wouldn't have been out of place on "Point Of Entry", though it's slight speed, metallic sound and catchy chorus save it from being too hard rockish. Closer "Devil's Child" is along a similar line; a catchy, simple chorus, but slightly more aggressive and that this song falls, sadly, more into the way of a filler. What of Priest's unfortunate greatest hit, "You've Got Another Thing Coming"? Well, I do like the heavy main riff, and the loud solo ain't bad, but the lyrics and buildup to the chorus kinda suck, and the lengthy fade-out gets on my nerves a bit. Totally overrated. But this album is worth your time for 3 1/2 songs. The instrumental "Hellion", rising like some great mechanical beast, bashes into "Electric Eye", an Orwellian sci-fi tale chronicling the invasion of privacy. Halford's voice is monotone, but in good way, sounding very robotic; Tipton leads a cool solo while Downing spits up some catchy throwaway riffs. "Fever", despite its corny lyrics, has a great sound and atmosphere; it's almost like nothing you've ever heard before. The gorgeous opening is almost hypnotic. Then there's the title track. Fucking A this bastard rules! It's so aggressive that it's probably the closest classic Priest ever did to thrash metal. There's a cool Downing-led solo, a memorable chorus and easily Halford's most vicious vocals on the album, not to mention some surprisingly decent drumming from Holland.

Overall, it's 3 1/2 great songs, 3 okay songs, and some filler. "Screaming For Vengeance" is a good start for Judas Priest newbies, and while it's not a bad album at all, it's not nearly as good as many make it out to be. Worthwhile for the 3 1/2 great tracks though.

A Lesson On How To Satisfy Everybody - 87%

MrSubmarine, December 13th, 2011

By 1982, heavy metal’s spearheads Judas Priest were dangerously heading towards ‘sell-out’ road with British Steel and Point of Entry. It was clear to the band that they either had to keep up with the legions of NWOBHM bands that they had helped influence, or deliver another British Steel that would guarantee them even more commercial success. However, Halford and the boys seemed to have asked themselves, “fuck it, why can’t we just please everyone?”, and 1982’s 'Screaming For Vengeance' was the answer to that question, being the perfect storm between commercial success and classic heavy metal. The band’s well-received return to their heavy metal roots spurned even greater success and was arguably the pinnacle of their popularity.

If there’s anything Priest had a knack for, it’s creating albums filled with songs that each have their own charm and individuality, and this album is a testimony of that. From the AC/DC-tinged ‘Devil’s Child’ to the blistering title track, it is clear that each song is noticeably different from each other. There are still the ‘poppy’ hooks to attract casual listeners, but songs such as the classic ‘Electric Eye’ and ‘Riding On The Wind’ pack enough of a punch to satisfy the average heavy metal fan. Halford, as usual, remains in top form, transitioning effortlessly from his mid-register to his trademark screeching falsetto and never comes off as overbearing. Downing and Tipton continue to breathe life into the songs with crunching riffs and memorable guitar duels, and while the solos aren’t exceptionally great, they’re a welcome change from those present in the previous 2 albums. Ian Hill is well, Ian Hill, and Dave Holland puts up a more inspired performance which, while allowing the guitarists to do their thing, isn’t much to write home either. Rest assured, he still gets the job done.

The album gets off to a roaring start with ‘The Hellion’ reveling in all of its unabashed ‘epic-ness’, that transitions into ‘Electric Eye’, which, in my opinion, is the best Priest song from the '80s. You’d be hard pressed to find a major fault with this song as it thankfully doesn’t fall victim to the dreaded '80s cheese factor usually expected from the band. Riding On The Wind and the highly underrated ‘Bloodstone’ do an excellent job of keeping the listener engaged and are both catchy and generally fun tracks to listen to. Another great thing about this album is the track order, as one never seems to get burned out with the slower numbers ‘(Take These) Chains’ and 'Pain and Pleasure' to 'calm' the listener down before preparing them for the hellacious title track. Make no mistakes, this songs has BALLS, and big ones might I add. From the memorable opening scream, Priest launches a heavy metal attack on the listener’s eardrums with Halford spitting out lines in his powerful falsetto while Tipton and Downing deliver some great riffs and a swank guitar duel, topped off with a hair-raising wail Rob hits towards the end of the song. This would have been my pick for the album closer, simply because it kicks so much ass, but 'Devil's Child' works as a serviceable album closer. And screw the haters, because ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ rocks. Yeah, it’s simplistic, but it drives the message home and is infectiously catchy, serving as a far better anthem than ‘Take on the World’ (seriously, fuck that song). Sadly, there is the usual filler with the incredibly bland ‘Pain and Pleasure’ and the somewhat weak ballad ‘Fever’. These aren’t exactly bad songs, but fail to live up to the standard of the other tracks and detract from the album’s quality just a bit.

The best summary I’ve heard for this album is that "when it’s hot, it’s HOT. And when it’s not, it’s not", and that summary is absolutely correct. But that’s not to say that this album is bad, because it’s really not. There’s a little something for everyone, and it’s fair to say that ‘Screaming For Vengeance’ is one of Priest’s greatest accomplishments as they successfully created an album that stays true to metal, yet contains enough hooks to ensure commercial success and remains the epitome of '80s Judas Priest. Sadly, the band would never enjoy the same levels of popularity again, which eventually led to the teeny-bop crap they put out in 1986 and 1988, in a desperate attempt to reach the masses, but that’s for another review. Enjoy a landmark heavy metal album and one of Judas Priest’s most popular ones.

Standout Tracks:
The Hellion/Electric Eye
Riding On The Wind
Screaming For Vengeance
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’

Glorious whether on impulse power or warp speed. - 94%

hells_unicorn, November 4th, 2011

The brief period of the early 80s, just before thrash metal began to rage out of New York and California, was an interesting one. For many bands hailing from Britain, Germany and The States it was a time of discovering a newer, faster, harder edged style that paved the way for heavy metal's faster and uglier cousin as exemplified in the early works of the Big 4 and a few others. But for the likes of Judas Priest, a band that had wandered into the early workings of speed metal a few years prior, it was a time of soul searching. In essence, they were trying to figure out whether they were going to take a step back to their rock roots or to fully embrace the ongoing heavy metal experiment that the NWOBHM was ushering in. 1981's "Point Of Entry" exemplified the former path, while the powerful beast that is "Screaming For Vengeance" takes something much closer to the latter path.

While I was not outwardly hostile to the catchy yet restrained character of "Point Of Entry", the heavily energized and aggressive tendencies of this album are more to my liking, and most of the metal faithful tend to agree. While the underlying riff set still retains a heavily bluesy character and the formula is still quite straightforward, the attitude is much less celebratory and much more hard edged. In fact, this album stands as the closest that Priest has ever gotten to sounding like a NWOBHM band, particularly that of the parallel early days of Dickinson era Iron Maiden. Whether it be the melodic contours of the riveting opening duo "The Hellion" and "Electric Eye", or the strong resemblance to the speedy and busy guitar and drum work of Maiden's "Invaders" with an even more pervasive air-raid siren in the towering title song.

Be all of this as it may, the earlier rock sensibilities and simplicity of the past couple of albums are still very strong, and actually better accomplished due to a crunchier guitar edge. The catchy arena favorites that walk the line between Accept and AC/DC in "You've Got Another Thing Coming" and "Bloodstone" definitely steel much of the attention, though the wickedly grooving "Devil's Child" holds its own, all of them featuring Halford's versatility both as a standard singer and screamer. But the real essence of what makes this an outstanding album is captured in the somewhat underrated "Riding On The Wind", which basically distills all of the strongest elements of "Heading Out To The Highway" and ups the ante in the tempo and vocal department. In typical yet not so typical fashion, the solos tantalize, the choruses entrance, and Ian Hill's bass work proves that AC/DC doesn't have a monopoly on making their bottom end do the bare minimum and still carrying some relevance to the arrangement.

The charms carried by each individual Judas Priest album are unique, and amongst the various masterpieces and lesser works of the 80s, this one has the edge in terms of the total package. It's a bit more versatile than "Defenders Of The Faith", a bit less happy-go-lucky than what came after, and is not quite as archaically produced as "British Steel". The beginnings of what ultimately becomes the Sci-Fi oriented tendencies of their 80s tenure take shape here with a few occasional studio gimmicks, but the real meat of this thing is still in the guitars and the vocals, though Dave Holland makes a decent racket on the kit as well. Song for song, it's a consistent ride from point A to point B with a fair share of twists and turns, all of them working well, even in the slower ballad department, which generally tend to be the band's weak spot and linkage to the glamish side of 80s rock. If nothing else, it proves that versatility is not a bad thing when approached with an eye for consistency.

Regaining Their Footing - 86%

Liquid_Braino, September 16th, 2010

Following Stained Class, the evolution of Judas Priest displayed a gradual decrease concerning the brand of heavy metal they helped create and a rise in pop rock sensibilities to the degree that after Point Of Entry the next logical step would be to release an album sounding something akin to Loverboy or Foreigner material. Thankfully, the band took a step back, saw the mellower direction they were heading, and brought back the metal to an almost jarring but not quite complete degree. Still, the lack of enthusiasm for their previous release by their fanbase and a lack of commercial success turned out to be a godsend.

From the first seconds of The Hellion, there was no doubt that this Judas Priest offering was a different beast than the hard rockin’ boogie of Point Of Entry with its explosive dual guitar heroics channeling the album’s cover art perfectly, a soaring iron eagle about to strike the listener. The bombast is aided by a production that brings the guitars clearly to the forefront where they belong, and the guitars themselves sound magnificent, sharp and gleaming but warm enough not to sound tinny whatsoever. Like two swords dripping fresh blood. It’s a rush.

With an intro like that, expectations would be set sky high, and Electric Eye does not disappoint by any means. In fact I’d say it’s one of their strongest tracks in general with its fast pace, killer riffs, Rob’s icy delivery and cool sci-fi lyrics. The drums and bass in this track, as well as the rest of the album, are serviceable in that they basically provide a base for the guitars to unleash their fireworks. An argument could be made that a more dynamic approach by the rhythm section could have electrified the songs to a higher level of intensity, but personally I can’t say it really bothered me in the least, since my focus would still be on Rob’s voice and the skillful guitar antics.

The reason why I stated earlier that the band hadn’t completely shed the straight up rock & roll skin that had gradually grown over their steel frame is that there are still a few songs in this release that seemed designed for mainstream rock radio airplay, in which You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ became a resounding success. But let’s face it, it’s a hell of a good hard rock tune with a punchy, ultra-catchy chorus and a mid-paced but driving pulse. Unfortunately other rockish numbers here don’t fare nearly as well, such as the pop-rockish (Take These) Chains and the sluggish Pain And Pleasure. They recall their last album’s style to the point where they seem odd nestled within an album containing a raging speed demon like the primal title track and the glorious Riding On The Wind, in which the guitar solos sound like two fighter jets in an intense aerial combat. Rob’s vocals on those two tracks are particularly stellar, high pitched angry screaming while boasting amazing control and skill. His vocals actually save the last track, Devil’s Child, from being a rock & roll disaster, giving the song a surprising edge with his barely controlled venom spitting.

Screaming For Vengeance was definitely a transitional album that displays the band in the process of shaking off their recent excursion into mainstream rock and developing a stronger and much heavier sound that would be further enhanced in their next album, Defenders Of The Faith. It has some shaky moments, and yet contains some of the most essential slabs of metal in their catalogue, thus it’s definitely worth getting as it certainly remains a prime showcase for what Judas Priest was all about in the 80s.

Priest At Their Second Best - 95%

corviderrant, July 16th, 2009

I clearly remember the day when I was a freshman in high school back in 1983 when a buddy of mine walked up and handed me this album, stating he wasn't into it anymore, and since I was discovering heavy metal, did I want it? Sure, I said, took it home and threw it on the turntable. That moment was a life-defining moment for me. I was exposed to one of the all time great British metal legends, and this is easily my second favorite album of theirs, one of my yardsticks for metal period. I say second favorite (and second best in the review title) since "Painkiller" is my favorite and their personal best in my eyes.

The Mighty Halford was in his prime and it shows on this album with his attitude-laden vocals ringing forth like the clarion call of the war trumpets of Hell, with some of his most impressive screaming and wailing ever recorded on display here. Even more subdued songs like "Bloodstone" feature plenty of attitude and spirit in his delivery, and he more than proves his status as one of the all time great metal gods id more than merited. If I were a singer, he'd be a huge influence on me, for sure.

Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing also really came into their own as guitar monsters on this album, their biting, soaring, screaming, moaning leads blazing forth with fantastic tone--Tom Allom's big, booming production set a standard for the time, I think--and burning passion. Their blues influence insured that plenty of feeling was included as well amongst the aggression, and it set them apart. Glenn's fluid shredding and K.K.'s more savage style were good counterparts to each other and made their guitar duels all the more furious. Some of the best playing is on the title track, Glenn's moody and emotional intro to "Bloodstone" (total blues with chilling majesty), "Electric Eye" with its dramatic intro ("The Hellion") and galvanizing opening riff that any banger worthy of the name will jump up screaming in delight over, and also "Riding on the Wind" with its searing whammy bar vibrato and diving. Simply delicious! Ian Hill and Dave Holland make for a formidable rhythm tank thundering away for the two guitar gods to go wild over, rock solid and un-fuck-with-able. Hill is not a technical wizard on the bass front, but he is just what the band needs, a steady and reliable player who lays it down and makes certain things stay in place.

Songs, so many good ones on here! The only ones I really don't care for as much as the others are album closer "Devil's Child", as while it is good it's not as good as the rest of the album--it doesn't seem to really fit with its overtly AC/DC influenced riff in the beginning, and "Pain and Pleasure", which drags in comparison to the rest of the album. Otherwise, this album's selection of songs is amazing, positively incredible in its scope of powerful riffing and fantastic guitar and vocal wizardry; the title track alone will get your heart pounding and your blood pumping and your face turning beet red as you try and fail to hit that insane high note Halford hits and holds at the end as the song crashes into concert staple "You've Got Another Thing Comin'", which is deservedly a classic with its lyrics extolling living your life for yourself and not letting others tell you what to do--how metal is that? In a very positive manner, too, something you don't normally hear.

In short, anyone who considers themselves a headbanger at all must own this album or they are unworthy. It's that simple. It was one of my first really serious metal albums and still in my vinyl archives to this day.

An 80s Metal Classic...Deservedly So - 95%

caspianrex, May 22nd, 2009

I can see from this album why Judas Priest absolutely defines metal for many people. This is classic 80s metal at its zenith. I have to admit, I've never cared for Judas Priest too much myself, perhaps because I've only heard what rock stations currently play from the JP catalog. These days, that means that about all you'll ever hear from this album is "Another Thing Coming." And, looking at the record objectively, I believe that song is actually one of the weaker tracks. "Electric Eye" carries a whole lot more speed and punch, which is probably why it was chosen as an opener. And then there's the title track "Screaming for Vengeance." I guess I can see why it's not played on the radio, what with that opening scream and all (thus the title of the track and the album). But THAT is a fine metal performance, Halford at his powerful best. Blistering guitar work and some mighty fine drumming make this track an absolute thrill to experience.

The double-guitar attack at the opening of "The Hellion" is a great intro to one of my other favorite tracks on the record, "Devil's Child." The crunchy guitar work and Halford's balls-to-the-wall vocals make this an outstanding track. The edge on Halford's voice is particularly gritty, which shows how versatile he is as a vocalist. No doubt about it, "Another Thing Coming" simply does not give a reliable impression of how good this album really is. I suppose we have to be thankful that some stations still play a little Judas Priest at all, but is it any coincidence that, when Pat Boone decided to record a "heavy metal" album, he chose "Another Thing Coming" as one of his songs, reinterpret? I think not.

I'm beginning to listen a little more closely to Judas Priest now, and it's all thanks to this classic of 80s metal. Just goes to show you, never trust what you hear on the radio, especially when it comes to heavy metal.

The standard-bearer of speed metal - 95%

MercyfulSatyr, April 27th, 2009

Judas Priest’s back on track at last! After two not-so-great albums, they came out of nowhere with their glorious comeback. This whole thing screams “metal,” from its title to its cover to its songs. And what a set of songs we’ve got here! The whole band is in top form. The guitars screech with fury, the rhythm section thunders, and above all, the vocals soar. This is, by far, their greatest moment in the 80s. Every song is full of amazing riffs and at least one blazing solo, stuffed to bursting with cool sci-fi and independent lyrics. There are even metal ballads here!

It’s immediately apparent from the moment “The Hellion” comes on that Priest aren’t fooling around. The opening sequence is melodic yet oddly menacing, and at its climax the song gives way to one of the most legendary riffs in all of metal – the opening to “Electric Eye.” Yes, it’s that good; it’s powerful, inspiring, and energizing all at the same time. The lyrics detail, in rich imagery, a space-age surveillance machine that reminds of Big Brother, delivered in a restraint that further gives a feeling of something being hidden from the listener. One of the album’s most memorable and awesome solos graces this song with its presence, sealing its status as a legend in the realm of speed metal.

The speed continues in “Riding On the Wind.” This time, the restraint is gone; in its place you get shrieking falsetto – the kind Halford got famous for in the first place. The solo in this one is so high-register that it almost literally slashes your face off.

“Devil’s Child” is yet another example of metal at its best. The song employs an awesome “Back in Black” style crunch, making it great to headbang to. There’s yet another light-speed solo, not to mention an incredible falsetto-infused bridge. This is what “heavy rock” really means.

And at the top of the pack rushes the title track. You can tell from the scream only a few seconds in that this isn’t just any old song. And as if that weren’t convincing enough, “Screaming for Vengeance” continues to maul your body with ridiculously good riffs, insane wailed vocals, and to top it off, a face-melting, speedy solo. This isn’t a cliché, folks – this is a precedent.

However, there’s more to this album than speed. Take the cruelly underrated “Bloodstone,” for example. Though the tempo is toned down, the song is still undeniably metal. The best part of the song has to be the chorus, with its awesome vocal prowess.

On the lighter side of things (if you can call it light), you have the ballads. “(Take These) Chains” is something a bit new for the band, not quite progressive like “Victim of Changes,” but not quite standard either. The chorus is quite memorable, and through the whole song Halford comes across as genuinely depressed. “Fever” is more of the same (that is, more of the good) but also involves a masterful falsetto bridge much like that of “Devil’s Child.”

And let’s not forget “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,” the other Priest song everybody knows. The song has strong, competently written, defiant lyrics, a great chorus, and an immortal and instantly memorable solo. Unlike many other bands’ “hits,” this is actually awesome.

All in all, Screaming for Vengeance is a glorious return to form for this storied band. Not a single song (except maybe “Pain and Pleasure”) ever dips in quality, and there’s enough greatness to keep listeners coming back again and again. It’s too bad this greatness didn’t last.

The best 80's Priest. - 83%

RageW, September 15th, 2008

There have been many bands which go through the already clichéd act of "Rise/Fall/Comeback" albums. But most bands who pull it off just do it once; a series of good albums, followed by one or two mediocre ones, and then a "comeback album" which most of the time sucks. However, by 1983, Judas Priest were already releasing their EIGHTH album in the form of 'Screaming for Vengeance'. And by 1983, Priest had already went through the 'Fall', in the form of the boring 'Point of Entry'. I mean, by 1983, bands like Maiden were just releasing their fourth albums, and Anthrax/Slayer/Metallica their debuts. Priest were able to repeat the Rise/Fall process three times, with 'Point of Entry', then 'Turbo', and more recently 'Jugulator'.

So this is Priest's comeback off Point of Entry, and it was a huge improvement over that one. It seems that they listened to some Maiden before recording this, because it's influence seems frequent in tracks like 'The Hellion', with it's harmonized guitars, and in 'Bloodstone', with it's melodic riffs (it's just a small influence, there are no galloping riffs, which are a trademark of the 'Irons, for example). Following the harmonized layers of 'The Hellion', the album explodes with the first 'proper' track, which is 'Electric Eye', and it has one of the most metal riffs I've ever heard; those kind of riffs which you show to random non-metalheads and they'll automatically know it's a Heavy Metal riff! My only problem with 'Electric Eye' is that Halford doesn't wail or hit any high notes, and he just does those British Steel-like midrange vocals.

However, since Halford didn't wail at all in 'Electric Eye', then he proves he CAN fucking do them on 'Riding on the Wind', which is filled with falsettos and screaming guitar solos; Halford going "riidinng on the winnddd" at full power is really great too. But what keeps Screaming for Vengeance from getting a higher score is '(Take These) Chains' along with 'Pain and Pleasure'. The first is a take on a radio-friendly pop-metal hit, while 'Pain and Pleasure' is very quiet, almost harmless, and I can't find anything really good in it, perhaps that guitar solo at 2:33, but nothing else.

When 'Pain and Pleasure' ends in a rather unremarkable note, we fucking have another Halford wail coming out of nowhere, and it's actually the goddamn TITLE TRACK! It's pure speed metal which marked the beginning of things to come (yeah, Painkiller). 'Screeaaminng! Screaming for Vengeance!", if it wasn't for Dave Holland thinking of child porn the whole time instead of focusing on drumming, this song (and the whole album for that matter) would be much better. It's sad how we have Glenn and KK doing their best at the guitars, with Halford killing himself to get those falsettos, Ian Hill at least writing some songs, while Holland is just a fucking metronome with some cymbal hits. Okay my rant is over. After the title track, it wouldn't be wise to put some more speed metal, since it would either overshadow the already awesome Title Track, or fuck itself do to it's own suckness. No, what they needed was a huge hitting, Arena Rock style classic! Fuck yes! 'You've Got Another Thing Comin' ' is this album's Breaking the Law, it's catchy, pretty simple, and a really fun sing-along, specially the pre-chorus of "if you think I'll sit around as the world goes by". It of course was a huge hit, and the guitar solo in the middle is a nice touch.

At this time you may be wondering why the Title Track wasn't the best song. That's because we fucking have 'Fever'! It manages to do what '...Chains' didn't, which was being a pop-metal ballad like arena rock song. It starts with a very mellow acoustic intro, with Halford singing a melody which will get stuck in your head for WEEKS to come. There's also a little synth doing the bass lines (I'm not sure if Ian Hill did them on the rest of the song though), then the song just explodes doing circles around 'Chains'. The chorus is fucking majestic, although I have no idea why did it hit me so, since the melody in the verses is so great! Then there is a harmonizing guitar solo between Glenn and KK, and though it's not very shreddy, it suits the song perfectly. After it there's a little bridge, then out of nowhere, it explodes into one of the best moments in the history of metal: "So destiny has bought us oh so close together!" that thing comes out of nowhere, the first time I heard it, I wasn't expecting it at all. 'Fever' is the best song in here, beating 'Electric Eye', and the Title Track; it's sad how it's never played live, and it's not on compilations, and pretty much nobody gives a shit about it.

Screaming for Vengeance finishes with 'Devil's Child', and it kinda starts weak, until the chorus which has Halford viciously shrieking "II BEELIEEEVEEEE". It's cool how that chorus gets louder with every repetition, though the closer is kinda overlong, and it ends in a very unpleasant mode, it just...stops! You should get this for the best Priest album of the 80's, it's the most consistent of them all, since British Steel has even more 'weak' tracks, and 'Defenders...' is just good for the first half. It has it's moments though, and when it does, IT'S FUCKING KILLER!

This album is really, really uneven - 83%

OlympicSharpshooter, July 16th, 2004

While I am often outspoken about my opinion that Judas Priest is, and has always been a superior band to Iron Maiden, it's albums like this that really conspire to shoot my thesis to little tiny metal bits.

Maiden, I feel, is not a consistent band within the context of their albums. True, Maiden has had an almost unparalleled run of well-regarded records stretching from the self-titled debut (hell, from Soundhouse Tapes) through Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, each spawning songs of terrifying innovation and brilliance that are near enough to universal metallic grails that everybody from Death Metal Dave to Prog Metal Perry can enjoy them without shame for ever and ever. However, outside of Piece of Mind and perhaps the Dance of Death, Maiden doesn't really have any albums that, to my mind, are must own records. They are a greatest hits band if you will.

Priest on the other hand is completely the other way, i.e. when their albums are good they are virtually perfect all the way through (Sin After Sin, Hell Bent for Leather, Defenders of the Faith) whereas when they are bad they have almost no redeeming qualities (Demolition, Ram it Down, Jugulator). I myself prefer a catalogue that, while full of holes, has plenty of whole ALBUMS that you can really sink your figurative teeth into. However, there are two exceptions to this catch-all to my mind, those albums oddly being their best regarded by modern metalheads: Screaming for Vengeance and Painkiller.

Screaming has as powerful a start as you could possibly imagine, which alone makes it worth consideration after you've bought everything the band released prior to 1980, as well as '84's classic Defenders of the Faith. Imagine back in 1982, after the solid but uninspired British Steel and the banal, blase Point of Entry, you decide on a lark to pick up this intriguingly-titled new release. First thing you hear is a new-found/rediscovered confidence and that almost aristocratic class that is the hallmark of classic Priest. "The Hellion" is a spine-chilling intro, 30 seconds of Maiden-improving power that leads into what has to be the most melodic and commercially acceptable speed metal of all, "Electric Eye", one of those steadily increasing building blocks towards the creation of power metal proper with the advent of Helloween.

It's funny how the album straddles the line between British Steel-style avoidance of huge frightening high notes on tracks like "(Take These) Chains", "Electric Eye", and "You Got Another Thing Coming" and insane going off the falsetto deep-end tunes like the wavery "Ridin' on the Wind" and the shrieking mayhem of the title track. Moving further in this direction Priest seems to be trying to please both camps at once, the existing and potential commercial fans brought in by British Steel and Point of Entry and the mildly depressed and considerably disappointed metal heads who live for the Stained Class/Hell Bent for Leather side of the band. Hence, mediocre groove-based stadium rock like "Bloodstone", "Fever" (perhaps this one is a little novel), "Pain and Pleasure", and of course the mechanized Kiss-stomp of "You Got Another Thing Coming" sits uneasily beside proto-power metal like "Ridin' on the Wind" and viciously AC/DC-style crunch on "Devil's Child".

The majority of the band is actually top-flight this time around, Downing and Tipton really flexing on shreddy solos like "Screaming for Vengeance" and bendy melodic ones such as "Bloodstone", all riffed with a tight and sharp execution, the blatantly commercial aspects wrapped in an undeniably metal armour. Rob Halford is at his bravura best, whether he's (cliché alert) screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeamin' on the title track, displaying fine range on "Devil's Child" (really kickin' live performance on the remastered edition), or practicing a sly restraint on "Electric Eye", convincing you of some sort of unearthly technological intelligence beyond your skill to grasp. Unfortunately Holland is his usual shitty self, playing horribly uninspired and limiting drums that really make you resent the loss of Binks, and nobody really gives a damn about Ian Hill.

Screaming for Vengeance as an album is painfully great when it's on, painfully meh when it isn't... sorta like a lot of those Maiden albums I mentioned. It's also unfortunately the next to last really good Judas Priest album (say 80+ scoring range), as their post-Defenders output is truly shameful, although a few remaining bastions of genius like “Painkiller” and “Out in the Cold” that have kept the flame alive for those of us awaiting all these long years for their (hopefully) triumphant rebirth. The new album is in sight. Will it be able to compare to the classics? We shall see.

Stand-Outs: "The Hellion/Electric Eye", "Screaming for Vengeance", "Devil's Child"