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It Could Have Perfect - 86%

Shane McNealy, May 8th, 2016

This was the first Judas Priest album I have listened to and it still stands as one of my favorites. This seemed like the band's most creative peak in their career as the album breaks a lot of ground and has a great layer of diversity to it to cap it off. After following Sad Wings of Destiny, which was a lot more blues rock based, they drifted away from relying on what had been the trend for most metal music in the 1970s and started what music would become in the latter portion of the 1970s into the early 1980s.

The musicality on this album shows the Priests at their most creative. The energy is intense on many of these songs and push the limits on what was acceptable on metal album during this period of time. Downing and Tipton show what it can be like to have duel guitars on tracks bounce either off each other or together in a masterful way. One of my favorite aspects of this album, however, are the guest drums by Simon Phillips which add a layer of heaviness to the album especially on tracks such as Let Us Pray / Call the Priest and Sinner. Halford's vocals are amazing on this album and hits some of his highest notes in his career in songs such as Starbreaker and his most emotional and dramatic on songs like Last Rose of Summer. Overall, this is one of the band's tightest albums together.

The production on this album is heavy and clear. The sound isn't too mushy but at the same time, it isn't too thin either which would be the problem on their next album, Stained Class. The double bass sounds amazing with the guitar tones that have their own signature sound. The vocal harmonies are on point and don't overpower the guitars, bass and drums. You can even hear the bass on this album which was something that was hard to hear on many albums during this era.

With all that I have said, this album could have been perfect. There are a couple of songs here that completely kill the vibe of this album. First, Raw Deal is just another bluesy track that has a slow start but redeems itself in the latter half. Here Come The Tears is what essentially brings this score down to, well, not a perfect score. It's just boring and grows very dull and tired after the first couple of listens. Rob's vocals are missing the edge on them as he had on other tracks and the guitar work is pretty generic. This song would eventually start a very bad trend of piss poor ballads that would show up on future Judas Priest Albums.

While this albums has its Diamonds and Rust, I cannot deny that this is one of my favorite Judas Priest albums. With the band inspiring acts that would dominate the NWOBHM scene in the next year or two, this was a solid start of an amazing era of game changing music. However, the end of the Priest's creative era.