Top positive review
The goods are delivered!
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!!