is the number one most influential band in heavy metal,
Judas Priest may well be number two.
During their formative years in the seventies, the band
recorded four albums
(Sad Wings Of Destiny
through Hell Bent For Leather)
that, in addition to being brilliant albums in their own
(indeed, Stained Class is the BNR pick for the best metal
album of all time),
singlehandedly defined the style of metal for the next decade
By the 80's the band was riding high, and slightly shifted
direction, to a somewhat more mainstream sound that payed off
as Screaming For Vengeance
and Defenders Of The Faith rank
as their most popular albums ever.
Their next couple of albums faltered a bit, but they rebounded
with the excellent Painkiller album, an album which
signalled the end of the Halford era, the vocalist departing
to pursue various other interests.
Seven years later, a new Judas Priest was born, with a new logo,
vocalist (Tim "Ripper" Owens),
a new record label, a new sound, and a new album.
Jugulator is very much a 90's metal album, heavier and more
stripped-down than in the past (certainly sounding nothing like
their 70's work, though some of it sounds vaguely Painkiller-ish).
The album sharply divided fans, many who embraced the new style and
several who did not.
But the followup, Demolition, failed to generate any interest
at all, the band,
even with Owens excelling on vocals,
sounding tired and out of ideas.
With Halford's career back on track with his new band
and Judas Priest's in
somewhat of a decline, it seemed inevitable that Halford would
rejoin Priest eventually, even as the parties involved denied
entertaining the possibility.
And rejoin he did, in July of 2003, agreeing to a tour and a
new album to mark their 30th anniversary in the business.
And at long last, the much-anticipated new album,
Angel Of Retribution, was released in 2005.
An album deserving of the hallowed Priest name, Angel
saw Halford in his typical fine form, and the reunion
of Rob with guitarists Glenn and K.K. was welcomed by fans the
Clearly one of the best comeback albums in some time, and
a no-brainer for
Internet Top Ten album honors.
2008 saw the release of Judas Priest's first concept album,
the ambitious 2-CD album Nostradamus.
Since then the band has announced that their 2011 (and beyond)
tour will their last.
However, that tour will not include guitarist K.K. Downing,
who somewhat surprisingly announced his retirement in April.
A replacement, in the form of former
guitarist Richie Faulkner,
will take the place of Downing on said tour.