Screaming For Vengeance is probably the peak of the Priest's commercial creativity. All aspects of the record come together perfectly, from the sheer strength of the songs to the iconic artwork and to the somewhat radio friendly hit single `You've Got Another Thing Coming', which did wonders for their career in the US (ironic given the fact that Point of Entry failed to dent the US market when it was written for this purpose).
Opener `Hellion/Electric Eye' is an enduring classic, slick, memorable, enduring, timeless and totally unforgettable, whilst the follow up `Riding on the Wind' races along with both some uncharacteristic impassioned drumming from the drum 'operator' Dave Holland (now airbrushed out of the Priest history books for obvious reasons) and the trademark dual guitar attack of Tipton and Downing.
`Bloodstone', which has a massive driving riff, deals with environmental concerns. However, like 'electric eye' (about spy satellites), this song may have been the catalyst for one reviewer (many years ago) to raise the two word, dismissive, comment on the album that it was simply `gormless imagery'. In Priest's defence (if defence were needed) Priest are really not about incisive lyrics, as Painkiller, Freewheel Burning and Ram It Down admirably testify to, and therefore you really have to ignore some of the content and concentrate on the sheer quality of the music.
Next up is the sing-song `Chains', which is a Bob Halligan penned tune that somehow made it as a single (he resurfaces on Defenders with 'Some Heads are Gonna Roll') - nothing really to especially write home about, but adds a different, more commercial shade to the album. `Pain and Pleasure' picks up where `Evil Fantasies' left off from Killing Machine, again displaying the raunchier side of Mr Halford's mind - it's OK, as it slows proceedings down before the sheer assault of the title track hits the speakers. The title track is a, chaotic, barnstormer of a song - although strange in that it has no discernible guitar tune/riff to speak of when it gets going. The song hangs on both Rob's extraordinary vocal performance (spitting with anger throughout) and his high octane melody - complete with `that scream' at the climax - amazing.
`You've Got Another Thing Coming' is the chugging, hand waving single which really broke the band in the US and which survives to this day in the set (it's possibly overlong) and finally there are the closing songs `Fever' and `Devil's Child', the latter being particularly strong (again the huge riffs, the strong melodies and the totally convincing delivery) - you even get to hear Ian Hill on the bass on the last song.
This is a great and classic record - placing it in the contemporary bloodline of the early 80s I would say that it's not as nimble on it's feet as the more 'poppy' British Steel, possibly due to a heavier produced, thicker, sound, but it's sharper and more focussed than the flabbier 'Defenders' that follows it.
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