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The best 80's Priest. - 83%

RageW, September 15th, 2008

There have been many bands which go through the already clich├ęd 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!