Screaming for Vengeance

It’s anniversary reissue central right now. This is another cracker, Judas Priest’s best album Screaming for Vengeance. It’s 30 years since I bought my original vinyl of this album from John Menzies in the Clydebank Shopping Centre, complete with a fold out poster of the cover art, four times the size of the album, and a lyric inner sleeve which are the two things you always wanted from an album, stick a merchandise leaflet in there and it was Christmas come early.

There’s no messing with the original album here, the songs are the same as the remastered series from the 90’s, including the pointless, misplaced and shite extra song from the Turbo sessions that they tacked on at the same time. Bonus Track my arse.
It’s a brilliant album, and a constant on my iPod. The Hellion intro into Electric Eye has to be one of the best album openers ever, best live set opener too for that matter. The whole album rises and falls, changes mood and pace and is heavy metal to its core. Proper metal too, with invention, subtlety as well as ferocious delivery, not the one dimensional parody of spoofs and possibly even Priest themselves since Halfords return.

The extras are the reason I bought this album, once again. On the CD there’s a bunch of live tracks from ’82 which are decent enough. I saw Priest in ’81 and ’83 at the Glasgow Apollo and they were outstanding, any live stuff from this era is worth a listen. But the DVD is where it’s at, it’s the whole of Priest’s set from the US Festival in California in ’83. This festival was legendary, three days of music where the metal day in the middle had the biggest audience of something around 350,000. The bands on the day included Ozzy, Van Halen and the Scorpions. A good time for metal.
Priest look young and relaxed, sound good and play a blinder. The ’83 tour programme was full of photies taken from this gig and last night was the first time I’ve ever seen the whole gig. I’m pleased, it’s worth the price of this special edition.

The cover’s had a revamp to distinguish it from the original below which is a classic piece of airbrushed art from Doug Johnson, a man who has no website to link to which is frustrating given his body of work. It was bold having something so bright at the time I think, metal is supposed to be dark, but this cover was bright, bold and confident and that’s what metal was to be from then on as it rode a rising wave of popularity, Priest’s support band the next year were Quiet Riot who were #1 in the US charts with Metal Health.

Good days, happy memories and the soundtrack to my youth sounds as good to my weathered ears as it did back then.

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