JUDAS PRIEST – Screaming For Vengeance


Release Date: July 17, 1982

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This 1982 album was a saving grace for a band that raised a few Mr. Spock-like eyebrows, even amongst the faithful, when the previous record Point of Entry was released. For starters, Vengeance marked JP’s return to proper Heavy Metal artwork. Who can even remember fan-folded, pinfeed computer paper these days? The gleaming metallic “Hellion” that graced this album’s cover was infinitely more ageless.

The production, overseen by long-time partner Tom Allom, sported a sharper edge and clearer sound than some of the earlier records. Song-wise, this record fared much better as well. The fact that Metal was still played on Top 40 radio at the time, explains the more pop-flavored “(Take These) Chains” and “Fever”: radio friendly songs that are quite unusual for Metal albums these days. Still, there was extremity aplenty for the times.

Straight-out killer cuts like “Bloodstone” and the title track feature some of Rob Halford’s most chilling recorded screams. Halford has always been one of Metal’s most incisive lyricists, and the lyrics on Screaming for Vengeance could be considered both ahead of their time and timeless. The sexual perversion/paranoia in “Devil’s Child” and “Pain and Pleasure” were quite bold for the conservative ‘80’s, while “Electric Eye” could have been written 20 years later, so accurately does it reflects the state of the world today.

Guitarists Glenn Tipton and KK Downing, true to form, are the supreme six-string tag-team, and their guitar work throughout Vengeance sizzles. Later albums would begin to break down the duo’s gymnastic riffing into “who played what,” but the two are so perfectly matched in tone and technique, it may have been preferable not to separate the sounds. Their symmetry is never more evident than in the opening instrumental, named after the chrome plated cover bird. This is THE ultimate concert intro. In fact, Priest used this very track to open their 2004 Ozzfest reunion appearance. “The Hellion” sounds much like a bird of prey: soaring, climbing, circling … then a target is spotted and the guitars begin a rapid dive, ending with a crack of the drums and a tense power chord that launches the Big Brother themed “Electric Eye.”

The album races at breakneck speed, slowing down only for the pop tracks and the ponderous “Pain and Pleasure.” Finally, let’s not forget the record’s gleaming metallic jewel, “You Got Another Thing Coming.” That song, in and of itself, defines the Heavy Metal philosophy: “One life, I’m gonna live it up!”

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