In the long, sometimes rocky, but almost always impressive career of Judas Priest, there are a handful of albums that stand out from their 20-plus releases that are considered by any sensible group as “Classics”: 1978’s Stained Class, 1979’s Hell Bent for Leather and 1980’s British Steel. Often left off that list though is the equally impressive Defenders of Faith, the band’s ninth studio album.
The record, released by Legacy as part of a 30th anniversary edition, was one of the band’s last great albums, holding true to their style of writing, short, fast blasts of energy, punctuated by the dueling guitars and Rob Halford’s banshee vocals. The album was the last great Priest record before the band began a stretch of releasing one mediocre collection after the next, ultimately ditching Halford for a singer from a Judas Priest cover band. They’ve since righted the ship.
The songs here still sound stadium sing-along worthy and give a crucial reminder that Priest, along with a handful of their UK brethren build up the genre from nothing in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Adding to the band’s Parents Beware Street Cred, the album also featured the single “Eat Me,” #3 on the PMRC’s “Filthy Fifteen” list.
This remastered set also comes with a 21-song live set, spread out over two CDs, recorded in Long Beach, CA in 1984. Along songs from the Defenders of Faith album, the band tears through head banging renditions of “Breaking the Law” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” on the live album. Two very enthusiastic devil’s horns in the air.
Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Edition/3 CDs/Legacy/201