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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.