Guitarist K.K. Downing Discusses His New Book “Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest”

 

Picture by: Pauli Juppi

Ken “K.K.” Downing is a founding member of the heavy metal band Judas Priest. He was active with the group from its inception in 1969 to his departure from the group in April of 2011. Downing has recently released a book via Da Capo press title “Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest”. Media Mikes had a chance recently to speak with Ken about the creation of the book and where he plans to go next

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background behind the writing of the book?

Ken Downing: Since my departure from the band eight years ago lots of people have been asking me if I would like to do a book. Year after year I just kept saying no and then finally last year I decided to finally do it. I sort of had three basic ideas for doing this. I thought it would be a good opportunity for fans to get to know me a little bit better. That probably sounds a bit ridiculous after having been around for so long now but, there is always another story to tell. I wanted to share how I started off in life and ended up playing some of the biggest stages in the world. Lastly I wanted to bring some sort of closure to the banter which was being thrown about across the internet related to my position within the band.

AL: How did you go about selecting what memories or stories you wanted to include in the book?

KD: That was really the difficulty part as I didn’t have a plan or anything. My ghost writer Mark Eglinton helped quite a bit with this side of things. He helped me dig a bit deeper along the way as we approached things chronologically as one lives life. As we moved along we paid attention to what would come to the surface and tried not to dwell on certain topics too long as we wanted to keep the book moving. If I had elaborated too much on things this would be a very thick book. (Laughs) It was difficult at times as I wanted to keep things honest and after forty years in rock and roll there were a couple stories we had to leave out. (Laughs)

AL: How did you get connected with Mark (Eglinton)?

KD: Mark came to me through my website which is run out of Helsinki, Finland. I had been approached previously by a bunch of other people about doing a book but Mark was in the UK and he made a couple trips down to see me where we just talked and got to know one another. I felt that worked well and we went from there. We did things in chunks based on a certain amount of years. That let me focus on one specific time period at a time. Mark and I would just basically talk. Every now and then he would prompt me to elaborate more on certain periods of the band. Both Mark and his brother have been rock fans for a very long time so he had a fans perspective of what other fans might want to know more about.

AL: Was it hard revisiting some of your earlier years growing up?

KD: It was. I had always kept a lot of those memories be it good or bad to myself. My childhood was very personal to me and I had never shared my experiences with anyone. To have someone hear them and then in turn document them for others to read was something I really had to think about. To keep things transparent we went ahead with it. I may have skirted around a couple things or been less descriptive but it’s all there. When you are born in to a dysfunctional family things are going to be a bit different so I didn’t have to go into too much detail.

AL: Had you let any of the people included in these stories know beforehand that you were releasing a book on your life?

KD: No not really. I had talked to my mom as I was a bit concerned she might get a little emotional about me telling the family story. As it happened when I spoke with her she told me she was not worried and she also mentioned she had read Ozzy Osbourne’s book and loved that one. (Laughs) When she did get the chance to read my book she affirmed that that’s how things were so I was pleased with that.

AL: Now that people have had a chance to read the book, are there any pieces you feel you should not have included or been so detailed with?

KD: I feel a little relieved now that it’s out and that I have not received any real adverse repercussions. The general feedback has been much better than I was expecting. Every now and then I think about other things I would have mentioned but didn’t. That seems to happen though be it with this book or records you always want to turn out the best product so you keep working and working at it. Eventually you just have to stop and turn it in. I wanted to put out something that people could get their heads into and find it just as enjoyable as watching television or something.

AL: With the completion of the book are you looking to now shift your focus back to music?

KD: I am thinking with the coming winter here in the UK I am going to disappear into my music room and just see what happens next. I have a few ideas I might want to play about with but this game for me is all about getting that chance to jump back into Judas Priest. If I am not doing that then the name of the game is creating new material.

For more in on Ken you can visit his official website at www.kkdowning.net

Be sure to check out our review of “Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest” here.

Book Review: “Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest” by K.K. Downing w/ Mark Eglinton

“Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest”
Author: K.K. Downing w/ Mark Eglinton
Da Capo
Hardcover: 277 pages

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

As guitarist for the iconic British heavy metal band Judas Priest, Ken “K.K.” Downing lived the fast-paced, opulent life of a rock star. It was a far cry from his tedious, impoverished childhood in the heart of England. In “Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest”, Downing recounts his forty-plus years with the band recounting events such as his first meeting with vocalist Rob Halford and guitarist Glen Tipton to stories of touring with bands like AC/DC and Iron Maiden.

There aren’t many music fans out there who can’t name at-least one Judas Priest song. From “Living After Midnight” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” to “Breaking the Law” the band has a memorable catalog that for many was the soundtrack of their youth. “Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest” is the chance for fans of the band to see just what was going on behind the scenes during the bands early years and on up through guitarist K.K. Downing’s departure from the group in 2011. Over the course of the books 277 pages the guitarist and his collaborator Mark Eglinton give detailed accounts of the bands formation, the growing pains all new bands go through and what the band was like during the recording of some of the most influential heavy metal records in music history. Downing is candid and no subject seems to be off limits as he recounts his own personal struggles as well as inner turmoil between band members, management and producers giving the reader a fly on the wall perspective that until now was not available.

At times I did find the stories to be a bit drawn out with a few too many “poor me” moments for my liking. Yes this is a memoir/autobiography and those types of things come with the territory however there were some redundancies and details that probably could have been thinned down or omitted completely with a little more editing. Do not get me wrong, the book still has a bunch a really cool moments and stories that aside from the people who lived it have/will never be experienced by most so being able to read about those is worth it. There are also some really great photos included the hardcover book comes with a super cool metallic like slip cover which will look awesome displayed next to other Judas Priest and music memorabilia.

LAMB OF GOD Releases Animated Music Video for BURN THE PRIEST Cover of Ministry’s “Jesus Built My Hotrod”

LAMB OF GOD Releases Animated Music Video for BURN THE PRIEST Cover of Ministry’s “Jesus Built My Hotrod”

Watch Now via http://jesus.lamb-of-god.com/

Legion: XX Available for Just $7.99 this Week via iTunes!

BURN THE PRIEST | Legion: XX | Out Now
Featuring Covers of Classics by Cro-Mags, Bad Brains, Big Black, Ministry, Melvins, Quicksand and More

RIAA-certified, Billboard chart-topping, five-time Grammy nominated Richmond, VA band LAMB OF GOD recently released their full-length covers album as BURN THE PRIEST, Legion: XX, via Epic Records. The album is a collection of songs reflecting the greatness of the classic punk, hardcore, crossover and noise artists that influenced them in their formative years, released in celebration of BURN THE PRIEST’s upcoming 20th anniversary.

LAMB OF GOD is pleased to reveal a brand new, Heath Bradley-animated video for their BURN THE PRIEST cover of the Ministry hit, “Jesus Built My Hotrod”. Watch the video now here: http://jesus.lamb-of-god.com/

Guitarist Mark Morton says about the track: “This was a benchmark song from the early 90s. We didn’t even originally plan on doing it – producer Josh Wilbur and I learned it real quickly and put it together. It turned out to be one of our favorite songs of the album. It features a side of Randy that people aren’t used to hearing. Nothing was planned, so it felt fun, and we just went for it.”

In conjunction with the video premiere, Legion: XX is now available for a special discounted price via iTunes! Make sure to grab your digital copy of Legion: XX for just $7.99 now via this link – but hurry – this sale price is only valid for one week: https://btp.lnk.to/legionxx/iTunes

While online, make sure to check out BURN THE PRIEST’s two other previously released videos from Legion: XX – for the Accused’s “Inherit The Earth” and Big Black’s “Kerosene”.

LAMB OF GOD may be one of the biggest bands in modern metal, but they will never forget where they came from. Mark Morton (guitar), John Campbell (bass), and Chris Adler (drums) formed the first incarnation of the band, BURN THE PRIEST, in the winter of 1994 after meeting four years earlier as students at Virginia Commonwealth University. Less than a year later, in the summer of 1995, they met vocalist Randy Blythe before adding Chris Adler’s brother, Willie Adler (guitar), prior to transitioning to LAMB OF GOD – and the rest is global metal history.

The tracks on Legion: XX are performed with the unmistakable precision that has kept LAMB OF GOD vital for two decades, but ultimately harks back to the raw, punk-driven sound first explored by four unsuspecting college students and a line cook-turned-vocalist in their beginnings as heavy music giants. Produced with Josh Wilbur at the helm, Legion: XX exhibits BURN THE PRIEST in their true element.

Additional stream/purchasing options for Legion: XX and pick up merch bundles now via http://smarturl.it/LegionXX. At the official store, you can also order a 7″ vinyl version of “Inherit the Earth” featuring a B-side of “In the Meantime” (originally performed by Helmet).

Legion: XX track listing:
1. Inherit The Earth (originally performed by the Accused)
2. Honey Bucket (originally performed by Melvins)
3. Kerosene (originally performed by Big Black)
4. Kill Yourself (originally performed by S.O.D.)
5. I Against I (originally performed by Bad Brains)
6. Axis Rot (originally performed by Sliang Laos)
7. Jesus Built My Hotrod (originally performed by Ministry)
8. One Voice (originally performed by Agnostic Front)
9. Dine Alone (originally performed by Quicksand)
10. We Gotta Know (originally performed by Cro-Mags)

LAMB OF GOD is about to close out their blazing direct support run on Slayer’s final world tour, featuring additional support from Anthrax, Testament and Napalm Death. Tickets and VIP packages are still available now via www.lamb-of-god.com.

REMAINING TOUR DATES
SEPTEMBER
1 Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Concord, VA *Festival
7 Force Fest, Mexico City, Mexico *Festival

Visit http://lamb-of-god.com for dates and information on LAMB OF GOD’s European tour with Slayer, beginning November 1.

CD Review: Burn The Priest “Legion: XX”

“Legion: XX”
Burn The Priest
Epic Records
Tracks: 10

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

RIAA-certified, Billboard chart-topping, five-time Grammy nominated Richmond, VA band Lamb of God are pleased to release their highly-anticipated full-length covers album as Burn The Priest, “Legion: XX”, via Epic Records. The album is a collection of songs reflecting the greatness of the classic punk, hardcore, crossover and noise artists that influenced the band in their formative years.

The wait is finally over for fans of Lamb of God’s previous incarnation Burn The Priest .To celebrate the bands twentieth anniversary the guys have united under their previous moniker to release a special album of cover songs which pay homage to the groups punk/metal upbringings. Titled “Legion: XX” the album is a roller coaster ride of aggression and attitude which over the course of ten tracks paints a vivid picture of the members early influences. Tracks like “Inherit The Earth”, “Kerosene” and, “I Against I” are everything you would expect from the Virginia based metalers as they provide an invigorating spin on classic numbers while staying true to the original incarnations of each song.

Though the songs contained on “Legion: XX” might not be as well know by someone from outside the punk and metal genres the track listing for this release provided a fun listen that is unique and personal to the band themselves. This fact provides a fresh listening experience for fans of Lamb of God/Burn The Priest and it caused me to go back and listening to the original recordings. During my trip down memory lane it was fun to compare and contrast each version of the songs especial “Jesus Built My Hotrod” and “Kill Yourself”. Yes it would have been cool to have included one or two new original songs from BTP however, beggars can’t be choosers as there is definitely enough killer material contained on this release to keep even the most rabid fans at bay for the albums brief thirty eight minute run time.

Track Listing:
1.) Inherit The Earth (The Accused)
2.) Honey Bucket (Melvins)
3.) Kerosene (Big Black)
4.) Kill Yourself (S.O.D.)
5.) I Against I (Bad Brains)
6.) Axis Rot (Siliang Laos)
7.) Jesus Built My Hotrod (Ministry)
8.) One Voice (Agnostic Front)
9.) Dine Alone (Quicksand)
10.) We Gotta Know (Cro-Mags)

 

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BURN THE PRIEST Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Release of New Covers Album, “Legion: XX”

BURN THE PRIEST Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Release of New Covers Album, “Legion: XX”

LAMB OF GOD Return to their Roots on a 10-Track BURN THE PRIEST Album Featuring Covers of Classics by Cro-Mags, Bad Brains, Big Black, Ministry, Melvins, Quicksand and More

Legion: XX – In Stores May 18, 2018 via Epic Records

Watch the Official Music Video for “Inherit The Earth” & Pre-Order Merch Bundles Available via http://Burn-The-Priest.com

Stream “Inherit The Earth” HERE

RIAA-certified, Billboard chart-topping, five-time Grammy nominated Richmond, VA band LAMB OF GOD may be one of the biggest bands in modern metal, but they will never forget where they came from. Mark Morton (guitar), John Campbell (bass), and Chris Adler (drums) formed the first incarnation of the band, BURN THE PRIEST, in the winter of 1994 after meeting four years earlier as students at Virginia Commonwealth University. Less than a year later, in the summer of 1995, they met vocalist Randy Blythe before adding Chris Adler’s brother, Willie Adler (guitar), prior to transitioning to LAMB OF GOD – and the rest is global metal history.

Guitarist Mark Morton says, “To truly understand the essence of the band BURN THE PRIEST, one must first consider the landscape in which it began: the mid-90s. Grunge and alternative music ruled the airwaves. Social media and the internet had yet to assume their role as our collective sources for entertainment and cultural exchange. It was a time when DIY ‘zines turned us onto new bands and regional scenes, and ‘copy and paste’ still implied a print shop and a glue stick.”

BURN THE PRIEST’s self-titled debut album, released via Philadelphia-based Legion Records, documented what was, in essence, a primal punk band performing metal. Ultimately, as they grew in local popularity, the five-piece chose to stray away from their name to avoid being associated with satanic metal, choosing the name LAMB OF GOD.

As they enter their 20th year since releasing their first self-titled album as BURN THE PRIEST, the band will release a full-length covers album that reflects on the greatness of classic punk, hardcore, crossover and noise – rock subgenres that contributed to what LAMB OF GOD – and indeed, the world – now view as modern heavy metal.

As BURN THE PRIEST, the band presents Legion: XX – featuring tracks originally performed by Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, Quicksand, Ministry, Bad Brains, Melvins, S.O.D., The Accused, Big Black and Richmond punk band Sliang Laos. The tracks are performed with the unmistakable precision that has kept the band vital for two decades, but ultimately harks back to the raw, punk-driven sound first explored by four unsuspecting college students and a line cook-turned-vocalist in their formative years. Produced with Josh Wilbur at the helm, Legion: XX exhibits BURN THE PRIEST in their true element.

Legion: XX will be officially released on May 18, 2018 via Epic Records and will be available for purchase via all physical and digital retailers. Pre-orders and merch bundles are available now via http://Burn-The-Priest.com and fans can stream the first single “Inherit The Earth” here: http://BTP.lnk.to/LegionXX. On street date, a 7″ vinyl version of “Inherit the Earth” featuring a B-side of “In the Meantime” (originally performed by Helmet), will also be available.

Today, fans can watch the brand new BURN THE PRIEST music video for “Inherit The Earth”, originally performed by The Accused, and cut from Legion: XX (video directed by Travis Shinn). Watch here: http://Burn-The-Priest.com

Legion: XX track listing:
1. Inherit The Earth (originally performed by The Accused)
2. Honey Bucket (originally performed by Melvins)
3. Kerosene (originally performed by Big Black)
4. Kill Yourself (originally performed by S.O.D.)
5. I Against I (originally performed by Bad Brains)
6. Axis Rot (originally performed by Sliang Laos)
7. Jesus Built My Hotrod (originally performed by Ministry)
8. One Voice (originally performed by Agnostic Front)
9. Dine Alone (originally performed by Quicksand)
10. We Gotta Know (originally performed by Cro-Mags)

Read more about BURN THE PRIEST and Legion: XX in the brand new cover issue of Decibel Magazine, on newsstands now. You can also pick up a copy by ordering via the Decibel store here. For the first time ever, Decibel has documented the origins of BURN THE PRIEST through interviews with original members and scene staples of the 1990s who unwittingly helped change the face of extreme metal forever.

Photo By: Travis Shinn

Judas Priest Release First Single “Lightning Strike” From Upcoming Album “Firepower”

JUDAS PRIEST FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS WITH BRAND NEW STUDIO ALBUM – ‘FIREPOWER’

Judas Priest could easily rest on their laurels at this stage of their highly successful and influential career. However, the legendary metal band – singer Rob Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill, and drummer Scott Travis – refuse to do so as evidenced by the arrival of their eighteenth studio album overall – ‘Firepower,’ which can be pre-ordered via the link http://smarturl.it/Firepower.

Set for release on Friday, March 9th, 2018 via Epic Records – the album is comprised of fourteen tracks of pure and highly inspired metal. And to mark the occasion Priest has reunited with producer Tom Allom (the man behind the board for all of the band’s releases from 1979-1988, including such stellar classics as ‘Unleashed in the East,’ ‘British Steel,’ ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ and ‘Defenders of the Faith’) and with Grammy Award-winning producer Andy Sneap also helping to raise the sonic bar even higher.

“Tom Allom has got this classic metal thing,” explains Halford. “And Andy is a bit more of a ‘modern metal producer’ but his thinking is a little bit different to Tom’s. And I think to get this balance between that classic old school metal to what Andy’s world is was just a remarkable coalescence.” “Tom Allom has been with us since 1979, so his knowledge of ourselves and our music in general is immense,” adds Hill. And according to Travis Priest returned back to a recording method that worked incredibly well on the band’s earlier classics – “We went back to the organic way of recording where it’s all of us in a room and we got to play together.”

The album’s first single, ‘Lightning Strike’ will be available worldwide on Friday, January 5, 2018, and on the same day the song’s music video will be premiered (and can be viewed via http://smarturl.it/JPLightningStrikeVid). Full album pre-order and a PledgeMusic pre-order (https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/judas-priest) will also begin the same day which includes exclusive limited autographed colored vinyl, autographed vinyl test pressings, an exclusive Judas Priest t-shirt and an extremely limited number of Judas Priest autographed guitars.

With the impending arrival of ‘Firepower’ and its ensuing tour (which kicks off on March 13th), THE PRIEST IS BACK!

‘FIREPOWER’ TRACKLISTING:

1. Firepower
2. Lightning Strike
3. Evil Never Dies
4. Never The Heroes
5. Necromancer
6. Children of the Sun
7. Guardians
8. Rising From Ruins
9. Flame Thrower
10. Spectre
11. Traitors Gate
12. No Surrender
13. Lone Wolf
14. Sea of Red

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: judaspriest.com

Judas Priest Announce New Mobile Game, ‘Judas Priest: Road To Valhalla’

JUDAS PRIEST ANNOUNCE NEW MOBILE GAME,
‘JUDAS PRIEST:
ROAD TO VALHALLA’ IS AVAILABLE TODAY

Sony Music Entertainment and legendary heavy metal band Judas Priest announced today that “Judas Priest: Road To Valhalla,” a new mobile game for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is now available in the App Store.

Game download link to App Store here: http://apple.co/2uG3i3n

The app features stunning new visuals and gameplay set to the iconic songs “Halls of Valhalla,” “Breaking the Law”, “Turbo Lover”, “Electric Eye”, and “Painkiller” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.”

Judas Priest: Road To Valhalla innovates by making isolated song stems (eg drums, vocals, guitar) from the 2016 ‘Battle Cry’ album available to players exclusively within the game. Using an innovative visual mechanic, players must fill “stem meters” to construct the full song and progress through each level of the game.

“When we set out to make this game, we wanted to give fans a new kind of visual listening experience” said Rob Halford, who also appears in a series of exclusive video clips throughout the game.

“For the first time, we are making individual stems of our songs available to fans to give them a new and interactive way to engage with some of the best songs from our catalog.”

Video trailer for game here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZ6bjtdH5s4

“Judas Priest: Road To Valhalla” is a joint collaboration between Judas Priest, Sony Music Entertainment, Trinifold Management LLC UK and Babaroga, a leading mobile game studio.

“Metal maniacs are you ready to join Judas Priest on the Road To Valhalla…..? We are excited to have you take charge and lead the way on the bike and the tour bus! Let the molten metal mayhem begin with the thrill of the ride! Can you claim victory on this perilous journey that leads you into Valhalla…?”

Have a blast and enjoy!
Rob, Glenn, Richie, Ian and Scott

 

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CD Review: Judas Priest “Turbo 30”

“Turbo 30”
Judas Priest
Sony Music
3 Discs

Our score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

British metal legends Judas Priest are set to reissue their 10th studio album “Turbo”. Originally released in 1986 the album incorporated a variety of new technical inventions which allowed the band to challenge their creativity and push their sound as a band forward. “Turbo 30” is being released via Sony Music and features recreated album art work, a re-mastered version of the “Turbo” album and an unreleased 2 disc live recording from the bands 1986 “Fuel For Life” tour.

Having reviewed the bands last reissue/live release I was anxious to delve into “Turbo 30”. The band and Sony spare no expense to make sure these re-releases are top notch and not just an opportunity to sell their back catalog. From the quad fold packaging to the recreated artwork and original photos just the looks alone of this release are enough to make me recommend it. Disc one of three features a re-mastered version of “Turbo” featuring tracks such as “Parental Guidance”, “Locked In” and “Turbo Lover”. Despite being an analog purist the re-mastered version of the album did sound quite good however, were the release really shined was in the bonus two disc live recording. Much like the re-issue of “Defenders of the Faith” in 2015 “Turbo 30” includes an unreleased live performance from the albums subsequent tour. These live recordings sound amazing and just shred through your speakers as they capture the band in their natural environment. Not only do you get live versions of songs from the featured album but you also get fresh versions of some of Priest’s biggest hits including “Heading Out to the Highway” and “Breaking the Law” to fan favorites “The Sentinel” and “Electric Eye”.

As Priest albums go “Turbo” is probably one of the least re-guarded of the bands 17 studio albums however, the presentation and the inclusion of the unreleased live performance on this 30th anniversary edition make it a decent pick up. Even fans who may dislike the studio album portion of the release will appreciate the quality of disc 2 and 3 as the band sounds great.

Disc 1 Track Listing:
1.) Turbo Lover
2.) Locked In
3.) Private Property
4.) Parental Guidance
5.) Rock You All Around the World
6.) Out in the Cold
7.) Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days
8.) Hot For Love
9.) Reckless

Disc 2 Track Listing:
1.) Out in the Cold
2.) Locked In
3.) Heading Out to the Highway
4.) Metal Gods
5.) Breaking the Law
6.) Love Bites
7.) Some Heads are Gonna Roll
8.) The Sentinel
9.) Private Property
10.) Desert Plains
11.) Rock You All Around the World

Disc 3 Track Listing:
1.) The Hellion
2.) Electric Eye
3.) Turbo Lover
4.) Freewheel Burning
5.) Victim of Changes
6.) The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)
7.) Living After Midnight
8.) You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
9.) Hell Bent for Leather

 

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DVD Review: Judas Priest “Battle Cry”

“Battle Cry”

Judas Priest
Epic Records
Rated: Not Rated
DVD Running time: 94 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Judas Priest’s tour in support of their 17th studio album was one of the most extensive of the group’s entire career- consisting of 130 shows in 33 countries and offering a set-list that touched upon selections from nearly all of their classic albums. Fans can now relive the live Priest experience through “Battle Cry”. Recorded live on August, 1st 2015 at Germany’s Wacken Festival in front of 85,000, the live performance is available on 15 track audio CD as well as DVD and Blu-Ray which both feature an additional 3 tracks shot in Poland on December 10th 2015.

Though not the first live concert performance release from metal gods Judas Priest it is however the first live release from the band to cover material from practically every album including “Redeemer of Souls”. Everything a hardcore Priest fan could want is here and more! From such classic tracks as “Metal Gods” and “Victim of Changes” to newer tracks like “Battle Cry” and “Redeemer of Souls”. You serious get a little bit of everything with this release. One track missing that I had hoped would make the cut was that of the song “Love Bites” off of “Defenders of the Faith”. The band performed this song for the first time since 1986 during the opening night of the “Redeemer of Souls” tour in Rochester, NY and continued playing it off and on throughout the tours run. Despite my own personal favorite missing the stunning visuals and immense crowd and staging made me quickly forget about that one minor detail as there was just so much to take in. The band made a really great decision by selecting the Wacken Festival as it is really proving to be one of if not thee most premier heavy metal festival.

This release will make a great addition to any metal fans collection especially if they were able to catch one of the bands shows from this tour. It would have been nice though if they came packaged as a CD/DVD combo giving you both an audio and video option all in one purchase. It also would have been cool to include some behind the scenes footage from the tour along with the 3 additional tracks being the tour was such a large undertaking for the band. Minus those few small things and you have great live release.

DVD/Blu-Ray Track Listing:

1.) (Intro) Battle Cry
2.) Dragonaut
3.) Metal Gods
4.) Devil’s Child
5.) Victims of Changes
6.) Halls of Valhalla
7.) Turbo Lover
8.) Redeemer of Souls
9.) Beyond the Realms of Death
10.) Jawbreaker
11.) Breaking the Law
12.) Hell Bent for Leather
13.) Hellion
14.) Electric Eye
15.) You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
16.) Painkiller
17.) Living After Midnight

Bonus tracks:

18,) Screaming for Vengeance
19.) The Rage
20.) Desert Plains

CD Review: Judas Priest “Defenders of the Faith” 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Judas Priest
“Defenders of the Faith” 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
Columbia/Legacy
Tracks: 31 (3 Discs)

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Judas Priest’s “Defenders of the Faith” album Columbia/Legacy Records has released the “Defenders of the Faith” 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition.  The 3 disc release features a combined 31 tracks which lets listeners relive 1984, a year which had the band coming off a long list of successful album releases and continuing on with the Platinum selling “Defenders of the Faith” album. The 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition includes a newly remastered version of the original album, a 2 disc live performance recorded during the subsequent tour, special edition packaging and an 18 page booklet with rare photos from the Defenders tour.

Right of the bat I want to say that if you already have the original version of “Defenders of the Faith” skip this version or go out and track down an original vinyl copy of the album. I found the remastered version of the album to be quite thin with too much emphasis on Rob Halfords vocals. It would have been nice if the newly remastered tracks featured beefed up instrumentation to accompany the metal gods prowess however much of that seemed lost or non-existent. I found the real gem of this release to be the two disc live album which is included as a part of the deluxe edition. Recorded on May 5th, 1984 at the Long Beach Arena the recording captures the band in their element. Not only do you get to hear most of the songs from the Defenders album in a live a setting but you are also treated to classic Priest tracks such as “Electric Eye”, “The Green Manalishi” and of course “Hell Bent for Leather” which includes Halfords signature motorcycle revving. Everything Priest is known for with their live performances is captured on these two discs making it for me the star if the release. Also included is some really cool die-cut packaging and a small booklet with a brief story from the band along with several live photos from the tour.

Though I wasn’t a fan of all the discs from the “Defenders of the Faith” 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition I found the live portion of this release more than made up for it. So if you are looking this album and want something a little extra then the Anniversary edition is the way to go however, if you are just looking for the studio tracks of songs like “Love Bites” and “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll” then make your way to the nearest record store and get yourself an original release of the album.

Track Listing:
Disc 1- Defenders of Faith (Remastered)
1.) Freewheel Burning
2.) Jawbreaker
3.) Rock Hard Ride Free
4.) The Sentinel
5.) Love Bites
6.) Eat Me Alive
7.) Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
8.) Night Comes Down
9.) Heavy Duty
10.) Defenders of Faith

Disc 2- Live at the Long Beach Arena 5/5/84
1.) Love Bites
2.) Jawbreaker
3.) Grinder
4.) Metal Gods
5.) Breaking the Law
6.) Sinners
7.) Desert Plains
8.) Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
9.) The Sentinel
10.) Rock Hard Ride Free

Disc 3- Live at the Long Beach Arena 5/5/84
1.) Night Comes Down
2.) The Hellion
3.) Electric Eye
4.) Heavy Duty
5.) Defenders of the Faith
6.) Freewheel Burning
7.) Victim of Changes
8.) The Green Manalishi
9.) Living After Midnight
10.) Hell Bent For Leather
11.) You’ve Got Another Thing Coming

Concert Review: “Redeemer of Souls Tour” with Judas Priest & Steel Panther @ Main Street Armory, Rochester, NY

“Redeemer of Souls Tour”
Judas Priest, Steel Panther
Wednesday, October 1st 2014
Main Street Armory, Rochester, NY

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

After a 2 year hiatus from the music scene the metal gods themselves Judas Priest are back on the road supporting their latest album release titled “Redeemer of Souls”. The tour kicked off on October 1st in Rochester, NY before a near capacity crowd and though opening night didn’t go as smoothly everyone was hoping for both Priest and opening act Steel Panther were at the top of their games.

As the doors to the vast Main Street Armory opened fans quickly flooded the venue in anticipation of the evening’s events. As the evenings advertised 7:30 start time rolled around and quickly turned in to 7:45, 8:00, 8:15 etc. It wouldn’t be till almost 8:40 that opening act Steel Panther would take the stage. The band which has been taking a lot of heat since it was announced they would be part of the tour initially didn’t win over the Rochester crowd as they took the stage to a sea of boo’s. It was unclear if the late start was the fault of the bands or of the promoter however despite the unpleasant welcome the band shrugged it off and blasted through an 11 song set which touched on each of the bands 4 releases. Vocalist Michael Starr handled his vocal duties like a true veteran and in between songs attempted to regain the crowds trust through the bands normal joking and goofing on one another.  This seemed to work as the band left the stage to cheers and applause the total opposite of how the night began.

After a few minutes a large Judas Priest banner dropped from the rafters signaling that the wait was almost over. After a brief intro the arena was filled with smoke and lights as Rob Halford and company ripped into the song “Dragonaut” which is also the first track off the band newest album. Halford seemed a little unsteady at first and was using a cane however by the end of the first number it appeared as though it was just a prop as he lurked back and forth with ease the rest of the night. The band played a variety of songs from their vast catalog such as “Victim of Changes”, ‘Turbo Lover” and “Love Bites” which hasn’t been in the set since 1986. The band’s sound was tight and well rehearsed with Rob’s signature scream being in top form. The newest member of the band guitarist Richie Faulkner seemed even more comfortable and certainly did his part to elevate the night’s excitement. Before calling it a night the band treated the audience to two encores which were both greeted with deafening roars and devil horns thrown high into the air.

When the night was finally over and the venue was silent it was easy to say that despite a few small setbacks the tours opening night was a success.  Both Priest fans new and old were given everything both bands had and then some as it was a great night of music. If the tour is coming to your area make sure to get your tickets as soon as you can as there are very few bands out there right now who can rival the power and fury of the one and only Judas Priest.

Steel Panther  Set List:
1.) Pussy Whipped
2.) Party Like Tomorrow Is the End of the World
3.) Asian Hooker
4.) Just Like Tiger Woods
5.) Gold Digging Whore
6.) Girl From Oklahoma
7.) Community Property
8.) Eyes of the Panther
9.) 17 Girls in a Row
10.) Death to All but Metal
11.) Party All Day (Fuck All Night)

Judas Priest Set List:
1.) Battle Cry Intro
2.) Dragonaut
3.) Metal Gods
4.) Devil’s Child
5.) Victim of Changes
6.) Halls of Valhalla
7.) Loves Bites
8.) March of the Damned
9.) Turbo Lover
10.) Redeemer of Souls
11.) Beyond the Realms of Death
12.) Jawbreaker
13.) Breaking the Law
14.) Hell Bent for Leather

Encore:
15.) You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
Encore 2
16.) Living After Midnight
17.) Defenders of the Faith

CD Review: Judas Priest “Redeemer of Souls”

“Redeemer of Souls”
Judas Priest
Epic Records
Producer: Mike Exeter/ Glenn Tipton
Tracks: 13

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

The Metal God and company are back with 17th studio titled “Redeemer of Souls. The album is the follow up release to the bands 2008 release titled “Nostradamus”. 13 all new tracks make up recorded and is the first studio release to feature Richie Faulkner on guitar. Though the band initially stated it would be retiring after their 2011 Epitaph world tour the band sounds better than ever and “Redeemer of Souls” is a testament to that.

When I saw Judas Priest in 2011 as part of their Epitaph farewell tour I was a bit skeptical that it would in fact really be the last time. With the release of “Redeemer of Souls” and the announcement of the groups subsequent tour this fall my prior suspicions were confirmed. From start to finish the album is a perfect blend of modern and classic Priest elements. The albums opening track “Dragonaught” is a rocking number that spews heavy metal goodness out your speakers while tracks likes “Redeemer of Souls” and “March of the Damned” take a more groove oriented approach perfect for head banging and fist pumping. The album wraps up with the track “Battle Cry” which features Halfords signature soaring vocal prowess before giving away to the song “Beginning of the End” a haunting outro showcasing the bands versatility.

All the material written on “Redeemer of Souls” was done by Halford, Glen Tipton and new comer Faulkner. You can certainly sense a freshness to the material which was certainly missing on the last couple Priest albums. My only hope is that this new found inspiration will continue as it would be a shame to stop now. Priest fans both new and old will definitely want to add this to their collections. For those not so familiar with the band get this album and then go back and experience the group’s massive back catalog. You definitely won’t be disappointed!

Track Listing:
1.) Dragonaught
2.) Redeemer of Souls
3.) Halls of Valhalla
4.) Swords of Damocles
5.) March of the Damned
6.) Down in Flames
7.) Hell & Back
8.) Cold Blooded
9.) Metalizer
10.) Crossfire
11.) Secrets of the Dead
12.) Battle Cry
13.) Beginning of the End

 

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CD Review: Judas Priest “The Chosen Few”

Judas Priest
“The Chosen Few”
Legacy Recordings
17 Tracks
Length: 78 minutes

Our Score: 5 out out 5 stars

I have been listening to Judas Priest since the last 80’s but it has been a while since I cranked them up. Putting this new compilation album on brought it all right back like it was yesterday. So why is this just NOT another collection of great songs…these tracks were selected by other heavy metal and hard rock musicians. I think that is a mega cool idea since it is not just the same old “greatest hits”, it is a look into today’s well known artists and their personal favorites. I agree with every track put on this album, it is a real tribute to the bands music.

This album is packed with 17 great tracks including some of my personal favorites “Living After Midnight”, “Victim of Changes”, “Breaking the Law” and of course “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”. The album runs the limits of a CD length hitting just over 78 minutes. If you are a fan of Judas Priest and are interested with this unique approach then this is a no brainer. If you are just getting into Priest then this is the best album to start with since it is the best chosen by the best.

1. “Diamonds & Rust” (Chosen by Joe Elliot of Def Leppard)
2. “Dissident Aggressor” (Chosen by Steve Vai and Geoff Tate of Queensrÿche)
3. “Exciter” (Chosen by the members of Accept)
4. “Beyond The Realms Of Death” (Chosen by Lars Ulrich of Metallica)
5. “Delivering The Goods” (Chosen by Kerry King of Slayer)
6. “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)” (Chosen by David Coverdale of Whitesnake and Randy Blythe of Lamb of God)
7. “The Ripper” (Chosen by Ozzy Osbourne)
8. “Victim of Changes” (Chosen by James Hetfield of Metallica)
9. “Breaking the Law” (Chosen by Lemmy of Motörhead)
10. “Rapid Fire” (Chosen by Vinnie Paul of Pantera and Hellyeah)
11. “Grinder” (Chosen by Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society)
12. “Living After Midnight” (Chosen by Alice Cooper and Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath)
13. “Screaming for Vengeance” (Chosen by Slash of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver)
14. “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” (Chosen by Klaus Meine of Scorpions and Corey Taylor of Slipknot)
15. “The Sentinel” (Chosen by Chris Jericho of Fozzy)
16. “Turbo Lover” (Chosen by Jonathan Davis of Korn)
17. “Painkiller” (Chosen by Joe Satriani)