Judas Priest is an English heavy metal band formed in West Bromwich, West Midlands in 1969. They have sold over 50 million copies of their albums, and are frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time. Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the latter half of the 1970s, the band had struggled with indifferent record production and a lack of major commercial success until 1980, when they rose to commercial success with the album British Steel.
The band’s membership has seen many turnovers, including a revolving cast of drummers in the 1970s and the departure of singer Rob Halford in 1992. The American singer Tim “Ripper” Owens replaced Halford in 1996 and recorded two albums with Judas Priest before Halford returned to the band in 2003. The current line-up consists of Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis. The band’s best-selling album is 1982’s Screaming for Vengeance, with their most commercially successful line-up featuring Hill, Halford, Tipton, guitarist K. K. Downing, and drummer Dave Holland. Tipton and Hill are the only two members of the band to appear on every album.
Halford’s operatic vocal style and the twin guitar sound of Downing and Tipton have been a major influence on heavy metal bands. Judas Priest’s image of leather, spikes, and other taboo articles of clothing were widely influential during the glam metal era of the 1980s. The Guardian referred to British Steel as the record that defines heavy metal. Despite a decline in exposure during the mid-1990s, the band has once again seen a resurgence, including worldwide tours, being inaugural inductees into the VH1 Rock Honors in 2006, receiving a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2010, and having their songs featured in video games such as Guitar Hero and the Rock Band series. Judas Priest was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2020 class, but did not get in. Here are all of Judas Priest’s albums ranked.
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8. Sin After Sin (1977)
“Having released already two brilliant albums, Judas Priest came out with Sin After Sin in 1977, which shows them moving into new territory and starting to define the sound of what was going to become the New Wave of British Heavy Metal some two years later. Some songs have still a very progressive influence such as the ballad Last Rose of Summer or Starbreaker, and this is not a bad thing: they are amazing songs. But the classic sound of later heavy metal would be quite noticeable in songs such as Let us Prey/Call for the Priest or Sinner. Songs like Dissident Aggressor are the perfect example of this transition, in all of its raw energy… this is the most memorable song of the album in my opinion, together with the Joan Baez cover Diaminds and Rust. “
7. Killing Machine (1978)
“This has always been a terrific album and I have to say, it sounds a lot better on vinyl. The mix is great, the guitars are loud and up front, too. It’s got a lot of rockers, but also has the great track, ‘Before The Dawn’, which is a great change of pace song, with just guitars and vocals, a song I really like and a good reason to buy the album in any form. Halford sounds as good here on this record as any of Priest’s records. It’s only 38 min., but it’s priced right, usually less than albums of 50 minutes. Just an awesome example of how vinyl is the best choice for Metal!”
6. Stained Class (1978)
Stained Class remains one of Priest’s absolute finest albums and one of the pinnacles of their seventies era material, This album makes me feel different in each cut of the disc, each song does not follow a similar pattern, structurally is very different , This creates relaxing atmospheres, like other brutal, hot and cold , and a storm of pure HEAVY METAL, sounding something unique, not copies of anything or anyone.”
5. Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)
“This album is simply amazing from beginning to end., is one of the best works the band has produced
I recommend the edition produced by the German label REPERTOIRE, great mixing whit full dynamic range sound,
In 2000 Koch Records ruined this, classic , the bass guitar sounds too LOUD overcomes the rest of the instruments,It sounds horrible, skip this like the PLAGUE.”
4. British Steel (1980)
“This is possibly the band’s most famous album and for good reason. While certainly not their best or most impressive, it is such a fun album and one that I never tire of listening to. Ironically, I would say the three singles from the album (Breaking the Law/United/Living After Midnight) are the three worst, as controversial as that may be. Living After Midnight sounds like an AC/DC outtake to me, and Breaking the Law is very good but works much better live (as does LAM). “
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3. Screaming for Vengeance (1982)
“This type of metal , melodic metal is the finest most well sung and created type of metal in existance. Most critics agree that this was jp’s finest hour. I love all their music though, and even enjoy the early seventies more hard rock priest. I already had the first remaster of this one , but this was worth the upgrade, it has four more songs and a whole dvd of the u.s. festival show from 1982. Priest did everyting right here, they should have never tried to do speed metal , which is a inferior brand of metal. (see painkiller) but even that was superior to most bands in that genre. This one though is filled with classic tracks from the band: ‘screaming for vengeance’, ‘electric eye’, and many others.”
2. Painkiller (1990)
“The title is a bold statement, but in my humble opinion it is true. No album in the realm of metal is better than this one. Rob Halford’s voice is at its absolute peak (and he was 40 years old when this album was recorded!), the guitar-work is absolutely phenomenal, and the drumming is simply mind-blowing. There is literally not a bad song on this album, hell there isn’t even a good song, they’re all beyond fantastic. It’s simply pure perfection .The title track is probably the most iconic metal song ever recorded, I would say it’s the pure definition of heavy metal. “
1.Defenders of the Faith (1984)
“Well, here it is. Another Judas Priest five star classic, and they have a long, long list of them. You pretty much know what you’re gonna get with Free Wheel Burnin’ right off the bat. Brutally strong in all areas, guitar smoking, Halford in his prime scream hitting all of the high notes. “