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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.