Here I am making my personal tier list of one of the bands of my life and certainly an absolute cornerstone of metal... Maintaining the usual written formula and the division of MASTERPIECE, EXCELLENT, GOOD, SUFFICIENT, MEDIOCRE, AND BAD, let's begin: 

ROCK ROLLA: the debut album presents us with a band with a sound still linked to a Zeppelin-style hard rock, not very incisive although not disastrous. The lackluster production does not contribute to improving the picture and yet, despite this work being practically excluded from any setlist, at least for me it can be listened to, without particular shocks it is true, but at a level I would say SUFFICIENT.

SAD WINGS OF DESTINY: clear change of direction already in the darkness of the cover. Despite the sound being too raw, there is a clear turn towards heavier territories, with a series of quality songs such as "Victim of Changes", "Tyrant" and "The Ripper", to name a few. The path is undoubtedly the right one but the production doesn't allow me to go beyond the GOOD. 

SIN AFTER SIN: a further step forward compared to the already very valid predecessor, this album also features a slightly less lame production and a handful of songs, some of which are beautiful and energetic, and I'm thinking of "Sinner" or "Dissident Aggressor" (covered from Slayer on "South of Heaven")... The presence of the cover of "Diamonds and Rust" is curious. Pulling the strings I feel like considering it more than GOOD. 

STAINED CLASS: I would say that there is little to say here, the band has practically freed itself completely from hard rock remnants by creating a heavy metal album from start to finish, a work where there isn't half a track out of place, from opener "Exciter" up to the long "Beyond the realms of Death". Rob Halford's voice shines with technique, power and versatility but the whole album is didactic to say the least.... and for me it represents the group's first MASTERPIECE. 

KILLING MACHINE: perhaps a more powerful album than the previous one, always well placed on the tracks of power and beautifully direct heavy metal. There is no shortage of impactful songs such as "Delivering the Goods", "Hell Bent for Leather" or "Running Wild" (which returned to the headlines after 2000 due to the slight resemblance of the riff to "The Wicker Man" by Iron Maiden). Another curious cover, this time "The Green Manalishi" by Fleetwood Mac. For me not at the levels of "Stained Class" but still EXCELLENT. 

BRITISH STEEL: here is an iconic record right from the cover. This IS heavy metal, in its most genuine and authentic form, this SOUNDS heavy metal from the dazzling "Rapid fire" to the anthemic "Metal Gods" and "Breaking the law", passing through the wickedness of "Grinder". Even though I don't love the classic "Living after Midnight" at all, I cannot consider this album anything less than a MASTERPIECE. 

POINT OF ENTRY: unfortunately I don't have a great relationship with this album, I'll say it frankly. I love the opener "Heading out to the Highway" and of course "Desert Plains" but the rest just doesn't sit well with me and the songs lack bite in my opinion. for me this is MEDIOCRE, but luckily ours will recover badly. 

SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE: as I was saying, the group takes a deep breath and publishes a majestic piece of work, the kind that will make you swoon until it compromises all your cervical vertebrae and more. A beautiful, powerful and energetic album, made up of sensational pieces such as the combination "Hellion/Electric Eye", "Riding on the Wind", the violent title track (among my absolute favourite pieces) and so on. A record that gets under your skin and that I can only define as a MASTERPIECE. 

DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH: see above and perhaps with even greater conviction. This is perhaps my favourite by Judas, and there is certainly a great concentration of beautiful, rocky and direct heavy metal classics, from "Freewheel Burning" to "The Sentinel", from "Jawbreaker" to "Rock Hard Ride Free" up to the stadium chorus of the title track at the end. I call it a MASTERPIECE but that's also an understatement. 

TURBO: the band decides to bet everything on a radio album, with a certain "pop metal" attitude.... and it succeeds well in that too, at least according to those who speak to you. Obviously, this is an episode in itself, but this does not mean that the pieces contained here are listened to with great enthusiasm and the overall result is pleasant and entertaining. It won't be the best, but for me it's a GOOD one for sure.

RAM IT DOWN: the return to classic metal is an album that I perceive as fluctuating, good shot with the title track, fun with "Heavy Metal", and evocative with "Blood red sky", but the rest reaches me up to a certain point, including the nice cover of "Johnny B. Goode". Sorry, but I'll stop at SUFFICIENT even if partly tending towards good. 

PAINKILLER: when you least expect it, Judas Priest deliver a masterstroke to you. This album is so great, spectacular, and perfect that talking about it makes me breathless! Every song on this gem is an absolute masterpiece so much so that it is superfluous to even name a few of them. Heavy metal in its most perfect form, more than a MASTERPIECE, Painkiller, the name is enough!

JUGULATOR: Rob Halford leaves the band and in his place comes Tim "Ripper" Owens, a truly gifted, versatile vocalist with an extremely technical voice. With him also comes a more modern and mean approach, but in my opinion the result is more than decent: the songs are gritty, direct and powerful and Priest's soul covered in a more modern sound is not bad at all. Songs like "Bloodstained" or "Bullet Train" sound like God and for this reason I consider this work largely GOOD. 

DEMOLITION: here I admit a slight conflict of interest, because the first Priest song I heard in my life was the opener of this album, the cute "Machine Man"... blessed musical youth! The problem is that on the second try the result is very opposite, exhausted, far too fluctuating, and there are few truly memorable tracks. With a heavy heart, I say BAD. 

ANGEL OF RETRIBUTION: after assorted denials and perjuries, the long-awaited return of Rob Halford arrives. The single "Revolution" isn't bad but suffers from a chorus that's too drawn out, while some tracks like "Judas Rising", "Deal with the Devil" or "Hellrider" make you breathe more than a sigh of relief. The final suite "Loch Ness" is as divisive as ever, and in truth rather atypical. All things considered, it can be considered a GOOD return. 

NOSTRADAMUS: first concept album for the group, spread over 2 CDs, this work is divided between songs and instrumental/recited interludes, for a frankly verbose and largely superfluous amount of music. Trying to consider only the actual tracks, however, we realize that there is a certain paucity of quality, a lot of fillers, botched choruses, a refrain in Italian that makes you regret "Frutto del Buio" by Blind Guardian... oh god, that too though... okay, above all Halford's voice and the production are not convincing at all, and in all this soup there is very little to save (maybe "Vision" or the title track but to be generous). There are a few doubts about considering it AWFUL. 

REDEEMER OF SOULS: I had several problems with this album, I'm honest. Maybe because the disappointment of "Nostradamus" was still great, the fact is that I had arrived at listening biased. Listening to it again recently I confirm the two great limitations of this work, an indecent production to say the least and a voice that is not at all in good shape from the good Rob, who gives his best in the less tense moments... the songs wouldn't even be bad, or at least not all of them, but you have to make a great effort of imagination and one doesn't necessarily feel like it every time, which is why I reluctantly stop at a MEDIOCRE. 

FIREPOWER: and who believed it? Who hoped for more? And yet here they are, the Metal Gods, ready to return and get back into the game with a record that is crazy in everything, from the sound to the quality of the compositions, to the fun that can be felt from the whole band. A rocky and exciting album, certainly among the group's best albums, given its young age I'll stop at EXCELLENT, but maybe in ten years you'll come back and talk about it again. Immediately after the enthusiasm for listening, I didn't hide the fact that I hoped that this was the band's last work to greet the fans in the best way... I've never been so happy to be wrong. 

INVINCIBLE SHIELD: copy and paste of the previous album, with an even more incisive production in my opinion. No experimentation, just excellently crafted metal in full respect of the style and history of the group, a work that well represents Judas Priest, their coherence and their soul. Here too I stop at EXCELLENT for a couple of episodes that didn't completely convince me, net of 8-9 gems of absolute value. And at this point, I'm no longer so anxious to see them stop, I'm enjoying it and I really like it!

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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