JUDAS PRIEST – The Essential Judas Priest

JUDAS PRIEST - The Essential Judas Priest


Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings
Release date: February 16, 2006

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The return of Rob Halford to the Judas Priest lineup was the beginning of a new era for one of the most influential bands in the Metal scene. The release of Angel of Retribution in 2005 proved that the fivesome from Birmingham can, and hopefully will, produce additional albums that can stand beside British Steel or Defenders of the Faith without blushing. The band toured heavily last year, regaining most of the reputation that was lost through the Owen years, because simply there can’t be Sabbath without Ozzy, Sepultura without Max, Maiden without Dickinson, and so on.

Besides rebuilding the band’s reputation, the original line-up gave the record label the opportunity to release several DVDs and compilations to fill time until the next album sees the light of the day. The record label made a compilation of songs covering the releases from Sad Wings of Destiny through Angel of Retribution, and has labeled it The Essential Judas Priest.

There are small differences between the song lists of The Essential Judas Priest and of Metal Works ’73-’93, which was another compilation that was released in 1993. The two albums with Tim Owens behind the microphone are neglected, possibly because the record label doesn’t consider them as “essentials” for Judas Priest. The same luck faced the band’s debut album Rocka Rolla, which contains some very good songs like “One for the Road,” “Cheater,” and “Never Satisfied.”

The successful choice of songs for the two CDs covers the best of the best times for this British band, with at least two tracks per album. All songs on the two CDs are the complete original studio album versions, featuring the Halford/Tipton/Downing/Hill axis. Among the 34 songs, listeners can find Halford’s insuperable performance in “Victim of Changes,” the epic “Blood Red Skies,” one of the best riffs ever in “Electric Eye,” the emotional “Before The Dawn,” the legendary “The Ripper,” the classic “Breaking the Law,” and the almost thrasher “Painkiller.” The list goes on as the compilation travels through albums that could be viewed as autonomous chapters in Heavy Metal History.

The release of The Essential Judas Priest compilation introduces this historical band to everyone who is unaware of what Judas Priest was and is all about. Unfortunately, it does not offer anything new to the diehard fans, since there is nothing here that was previously unreleased. Obviously, the record label had in mind to widen the band’s fan base by taking advantage of the sensation that was created by their reunion tour. The bottom line is that this anthology is ideal for someone who doesn’t know this legendary band well, and wants an introduction to each of their albums. The rest of the Metal Community should watch the DVDs and wait for the follow-up to Angel of Retribution.


  • Dr. Dimitris Kontogeorgakos

    Dimitris was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has a diploma in Physics, a Masters in Medical Physics and a doctorate dimploma in Nuclear Medicine (this is the reason for his Dr. title). He was given his first Heavy Metal tape at the age of 12 which was a compilation entitled Scandinavian Metal Attack. The music immediately drew his attention and there he was listening to the first Iron Maiden album, trying to memorize the names of the band members. That was it! After some years, he stopped recording tapes and started buying vinyl records, spending every penny in the local record shop. The first live concert he attended was Rage co-headlining with Running Wild.

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