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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 15 January 2008
Following on close on the heels of the gothic and somewhat (in my opinion) patchy Stained Class album, Killing Machine is a huge leap forward in terms of modernity, both in a heavier, more contemporary, guitar sound and basic song construction (verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, bridge, chorus). The art of the punchy, choppy, urgent and modern Heavy Metal riff emerges in spades on this album and Rob's vocals take on a harder and rawer edge, befitting of the heavier music. Compared to Stained Class, the songs are notably shorter, simpler and significantly more 80's in style, a fact reflected in the iconic cover art and the change in band image to the uniform of the NWOBHM that followed this (Judas Priest patented) of leather and studs.

There are ever green real Priest classics on here, such as 'Delivering The Goods', 'Burning Up' and 'Hell Bent For Leather', which arguably are the metal blue print for later Priest classics - `Running Wild' is the grand father of `Jawbreaker', `Evil Fantasies' resurfaces as `Pain and Pleasure' and later as 'Love You To Death' and `Take on The World' morphs into `United' and 'Defenders of The Faith'.

No songs about aliens, saints, savages or heroes on Killing Machine - it's all contract killers, rocking out and running wild heavy metal. Possibly Priest's finest album.
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Judas Priest's fifth studio album was released in late 1978, quickly following up their classic Stained Class album from early in the same year. It saw the legendary British Heavy Metal band alter their sound slightly and alter their image and lyrical content quite a bit.

The album in question was released both under the name Killing Machine and Hell Bent For Leather depending on where you bought it, America or Europe.

For Judas Priest it goes without saying that the standard of musicianship is high and that there are lots of memorable vocal hooks and impressive guitar solos spread through the forty-five minute duration to keep the listener entertained. The styles and sounds on this record in particular are diverse and represent the band transitioning from their slightly complex and progressive 1970s work and their more radio friendly early 80s work, fitting as it would be the bands last release of the seventies. Indeed at times you can pick up a part or two that has an almost Rush or Queen feel only to contrast with moments that are much more akin to the NWOBHM sound.

Some of the material for example is fast and hard, classic heavy metal such as the tracks `Hell Bent For Leather' `Running Wild' and `Delivering The Goods.' Elsewhere `Before The Dawn' is more of a melodic ballad, the other tracks are mid paced rock with fun riffs and then the curve-ball `Take On The World' has that anthemic sing along angle that the band would occasionally try (such as on their later tracks `Defenders Of The Faith' and 'United')

Depending on your own tastes, the diversity of the material can either be seen as an abundance of ideas by a creative band or as a lack of cohesion by a band unsure of what do. Some fans love the record and some see it as inferior to what came before but don't let the lack of consensus put you off; in any case this is certainly an album worth at least trying.

In my own opinion Killing Machine is a good album and gives a sort of "best of both worlds" between British Steel's sleek simplistic perfection and the older material's darker tone and prog influenced classic sound, both of which I love. This is a good album that is well produced, interesting and fairly consistent in quality if not musical style. I'll concede that perhaps this isn't the first Judas Priest album that you should buy, but it is definitely welcome in the collection once you like the band.

**** If you get the version with bonus tracks, you are treated to a demo version of the Defenders Of The Faith era track `Rock Hard Ride Free' that is entitled `Fight For Your Life.' Additionally there is a live version of era song `Riding On The Wind' recorded live in 1983. The songs may not slot in perfectly with the album stylistically but are welcome extras nonetheless. ****
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on 19 August 2010
So by todays standards this ain't true metal hey? Well by 1978's standards metal was all but deceased. Priest knew this was their last chance saloon because Stained class was good , but something different was needed to break the restraints and the shackles placed upon hard rock bands (remember this is 1978) by the British music media. They re-thought, re-invented and rejuvinated themselves with a groove laden, riff laden, chorus ridden extravaganza that is quite simply the most infectious rock album ever from the shores of the British isles. Without this and Overkill by Motorhead Metal would've died in 1978. True genius even if it's not considered true metal by Parkway Drive fans.
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on 8 April 2008
I know a lot of people would disagree with my title but for me Killing Machine is THE best metal album ever released. It's where it all started for me, way back in 78. There is not a single bad track on this record. It opens with Delivering the Goods which hits you like a punch in the guts and carries on in a similar vein from there. It's not all noise and bludgeon though, like so many inferior bands have done over the years, this is the sound of a band that have reached a new height of musical creativity. Despite being consistently heavy there is so much diversity here. Hell Bent For Leather is played at a hell bent for leather pace, Running Wild and Rock Forever are jaunty headbangers, the title track is a dark and brooding ode to contract killers whilst Burnin' Up and Evil Fantasies are breathlessly wicked. But this album also shows another side to Priest, the more melodic side. Evening Star is a great mix of ballad and rock in a shorter but similar vein to Beyond The Realms Of Death from the Stained Class album and Before The Dawn is one of the most beautiful guitar driven ballads you will ever hear. The only down side to this album was that the US release had The Green Manalishi on it and the UK release didn't. Thankfully that's now been cleared up thanks to the re:mastered version.

Some people will say that British Steel, Screaming For Vengeance or Painkiller are Priest's best works and whilst they are all fantastic records, this one is the killer diller. If you love classic, old school metal and you have never heard this album - buy it! You won't be disappointed.
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on 19 October 2003
Yet another hugely successful album from British Metalists Judas Priest, Killing machine features what i consider as some of Priest's best songs in Green Manalishi and Hell Bent For Leather. If you’re new to the phenomenon, which is Judas Priest, this is the album to get! Play this once and you will be addicted forever! Roll on the reunion tour!
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on 2 April 2013
In 1978, Judas Priest followed quickly on from the success of Stained Class with Hell Bent For Leather (Also known as Killing Machine)

This features shorter, simpler, more energetic heavy metal tunes, and there is (Much like on the later “British Steel” album) some filler. Overall, the tone on this is much more agressive, and Halford’s tone is on the ball.

Overall, the re-master is very loud and bassy, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this case.

The drums are very good and the effects used set the almost sci-fi biker-esque mood well. There is a huge variation in the type of music delivered, which is complex, preventing it from being at all repetitive .

The band’s cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Green Manalishi (with the Two-Pronged Crown)”, is truly excellent, and again, the re-master is in fact quite good.
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on 2 May 2012
Hell bent for leather is an anthem for a reason, it is brilliant and very silly. Green man (thingy) is a fav and the rest of the album is sound screaming thunder. before the dawn and evening star are the ballards and their alright and dont distract from getting dandruff on the deck!
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on 20 July 2014
This album, from 1979, is Judas Priest big transitions to its classic heavy metal period: leather, killer riffs, and rough attitude. This brought together, the best of the punk style and the musicianship of heavy metal, blended into something new which became a music phenomenon inspiring a myriad of bands in the NWOBHM. With this album they defined the looks and the sound of the 80s -a great decade for music if you ask me! This is, from start to finish a classic record with killer tracks like "Hell Bent for Leather", "Running Wild" and "Killing Machine", to ballads like "Before the Dawn" and commercial (in the best sense of the word) hits like "Evening Star" and one of my favourite songs ever, "Take on the World". This not to mention their top of the notch cover of Fleetwod Mac's "Greem Manalishi", which is another example of JP's finest way to give their own flavour to someone else's song and turn it into one of their own. But in fairness, every single song here is a classic in its own right. There is not a single bad song here. This album, in my opinion, consolidated JP as the best metal band ever and one of the most influential rock bands of all time.
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on 19 December 2012
I purchased this amazing record on vinyl back in 1982 when i was 16! Unfortunately it got lost in my many moves and i'm so happy i bought it back remastered, and so much better for it. And so i had to get the reviews into double figures which is why i feel compelled to write one up.
Watching a band live through the years you can lose feel of the original songs and how they were first recorded, and this record is exemplary of why the originals are always the best. First off its got a superb analogue sound and although it is a studio record the songs have a wonderful ambience to them and are played with both incredible precision and feeling. Its their second outing with drummer Les Binks and is probably their last great classic album.

Delivering The Goods kicks in with a deceptively simple but crushingly effective riff. The song really opens up midway as it hurls you into its mechanisms. Its a bloody good way to start an album and will have you banging your head and playing air guitar to the scorching solo. Rob is singing in a much lower register than on later albums here although his amazing range is starting to really lift. The drum roll outro is a drum lesson in itself!
Rock Forever is another total rocker of a song although slightly different for Priest in that it follows a more fast boogie kinda theme. There are some nice layers of metallic guitars and pumping bass cutting through and the singalong bridge really lifts your spirits. Another gem of a song.
Evening Star was the second single released and once again brought them on Top Of The Pops. It is a beautiful atmospheric piece with some lovely acoustic guitars and soothing lyrics married to some simple power chords that really give this song that driving, if nostalgic spirit. Priest really know how to hit all the right buttons to make you feel good.

Hell Bent For Leather is one of those songs that makes you wanna learn to ride, or just pretend you're on a powerful bike riding the night sky into oblivion. I remember the first time i heard it, made my hair stand up on the back of my neck. From the opening drum rolls of Les Binks imitating a kick start on a crank to the moment that most famous yet so simple riff kicks in, you know you're in for a treat. This is what Priest does best, hard and fast metal you can hum, something a lot of thrash and death metal bands miss completely. The guitar solo is probably the best in metal history. Like a reviewer wrote it makes them drop to their knees!! Need i say anymore?? ? !

Take On The The World might be a little misstep in that its a silly football style anthem and foot stomper in the vein of Queen's We Will Rock You. Its not bad and can be entertaining depending on what mood you're in, although it somehow seems to fit in this collection in an odd sorta way. It got them their first TOTP slot too.
Burning Up shows another side to Priest in terms of creativity as it rides along on a wide interval jagged, yet very catchy riff. I love the breakdown in this song. It smokes.
Green Manalishi(With The Two Pronged Crown) is a classic Peter Green song given the JP makeover. Personally i prefer the original with its psychedelic undertones and haunting riffola, but Priest took this song and made it their own as with all their covers, and it became a heavy metal standard with another shredding solo. Halford almost sounds like Green at times as he sings about the pitalls of money and fame. It didn't appear on the original, so here its a bonus.
Killing Machine is all about the secret service, contract killers and the world of assassins and bounces along on another seizmic riff with heavier sections.
Running Wild is where Maiden got their riff for Wicker Man and you can see why. Its again simple yet heavy and a catchy song to boot, another relentless rocker.
Before The Dawn shows us another gentle side to a mighty metal outfit that is Judas Priest. They know how to write beautiful ballads too and that solo from KK will melt your heart.

Evil Fantasies was never a song i really cared for, but listening to this remaster its a grower, kinda reminds me of Zep's In My Time Of Dying without that amazing bottleneck sound. I would have preferred another fast one but i aint marking it down as it all fits together really well and makes for a seemless outing you can indulge from start to finish, as i did and thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
The bonus tracks, well i have my reservations. I generally i don't see the need for them as they mostly detract from the album and here we have
Fight For Your Life which comes across as a demo version of the classic Rock Hard Ride Free. You can see why they never used it, as the version that appeared on Defenders is the one, although i will award a point for the scorching guitar solo Priest can always be relied upon to produce!
Riding On The Wind, although a splendid version also doesn't fit here with Robs voice having gone up an octave or two in later years its almost a shock to the system as he sings an octave or two down on this record which i actually prefer. Now if they had recorded it for this session, still though makes for another fast one to end on!

The package comes with an illustrated booklet, a forward written by the band and the all important lyrics which is such a treat as you can sing all those words now!
If you love Heavy Metal then you should have Killing Machine in your collection. If not, then order it now before the metal inquisition rides into your town!!
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on 27 December 2013
I'd not heard this one before and can say it's definately the 'Priest' I remember; Robs voice is not just distinctive- its very very unique and I find myself going back to my youth- very nostalgic.
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