Great Metal Albums of 1984: Judas Priest- Defenders of the Faith

If I thought I didn’t do Great White justice when I wrote about theirs as the first concert to take place in “Rock and Roll Children,” then I should grovel to Judas Priest begging their forgiveness. The Judas Priest/Great White concert that happens in the first few pages of the book is the one I knew least about. I couldn’t go on account of work and only had patchy accounts of the concert from people I spoke to who went. This meant my account of that night was, as one critic put it, bare bones, if that. So, to Judas Priest and their hardcore fans, I’m sorry. Though I do make up for it when I write about their 1986 concert. One of my biggest critics, my sister, said I nailed that one.

While the first Judas Priest concert might have been lacking in substance, the album they were touring in support of, “Defenders of the Faith” did get a good number of listens from the characters in “Rock and Roll Children.” I have always held this album in great esteem and will put my head in the lion’s mouth and declare that it is Judas Priest’s most underrated album, ever! Sales wise, it did not match the numbers of its mega fantastic predecessor, “Screaming for Vengeance,” and I put it a half a mark below it but “Defenders of the Faith” is one fantastic album.

The first seven songs are the reason why the album is soooo good. One by one each of those songs launch into an all out assault on your ears with such ferocity, you can’t help but to head bang away and jump up and down to it. Even when one song ends, the next one grabs you by the throat and makes you give your undivided attention to it. When I say the first seven songs, I mean all of those songs, not just the ones some might be more familiar with like “Freewheel Burning” and “Love Bites,” who when the premier of the video for it was announced on MTV was called “a family affair.” Of course there’s also my favourite track from this album and my third all time favourite Priest song, “Some Heads are Gonna Roll.” I just love that song. “Jawbreaker,” “Rock Hard, Ride Free” and “The Sentinel” all can cause an unsuspecting listener to lose control of their bodily functions as well. Plus, there’s the amusing “Eat Me Alive” which a year later would be rank on the PMRC’s hit list as the third dirtiest song. All great!

This not to say that the last three songs are in any way not up to scratch, they are good songs but intensity levels do tail off after “Some Heads are Gonna Roll.” Things go slower tempo with the remaining three songs but the pounding doesn’t let up. It just takes on a different form, nor does it detract from this great album in any way.

Track Listing:

  1. Freewheel Burning
  2. Jawbreaker
  3. Rock Hard, Ride Free
  4. The Sentinel
  5. Love Bites
  6. Eat Me Alive
  7. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
  8. Night Comes Down
  9. Heavy Duty
  10. Defenders of the Faith

Judas Priest

Robert Halford- lead vocals

Glenn Tipton- guitar

KK Downing- guitar

Ian Hill- bass

Dave Holland- drums

I’ve never really ranked Judas Priest albums before, except I knew that “Screaming for Vengeance” was my favourite. I have called “Defenders of the Faith” underrated but I am now declare it number two and not by much. It is a great under appreciated album.

Next post: Quiet Riot- Condition Critical

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14 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1984: Judas Priest- Defenders of the Faith”

  1. high praise indeed

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rob was still on drugs at this time and I sometimes wonder if that resulted in some sub-par performances?

    This album was CRUCIAL to my childhood. Totally instrumental in who I am today.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Damn – there go all my bodily functions again.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The deluxe edition released a few years back is excellent with a live show from 84 added to it….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review. This one has slowly established itself as my second favourite JP album after my initial indifference to it. Screaming For Vengeance is my favourite, naturally.

    Liked by 1 person

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