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CD REVIEW: JUDAS PRIEST – Defenders Of The Faith

| 12 March 2015 | Reply


Label: Columbia/Legacy

Release Date: March 10, 2015

Rating: 9.5/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

How do you improve on a classic? Just ask Judas Priest.  In celebration of 30 years of Defenders Of The Faith, the band decided to reissue this metal classic, but this isn’t your run of the mill ‘grab the bucks from the purists and collectors’ reissue.  Handing over the ten-track album to producer Tom Allom, the band is delivering the goods (pun intended) with a fully remastered version of the disc, which has a slightly tweaked mix, in order to recapture and clean up the magic of this classic disc.  The real addition to this collection is the addition of a killer live recording from the the Defenders Of The Faith tour – a 21-song set recorded at Long Beach Arena in California on May 5, 1984.

Typically when a band releases new material, you can expect them to pepper the tour setlist with new material, increasing the number of new tracks as singles are released and to help push sales of the disc, but a mere four months and a day after the initial release of the disc, the band had incorporated nine of the discs ten tracks into their 21-song setlist.  Even then, the band knew what an incredible disc they had on their hands.  Fast forward thirty years, and the band still plays three of the tracks regularly during their live set: “Love Bites,” “Jawbreaker,” and “Defenders Of The Faith.”

The real test is how these tracks, new and fresh at the time of the live recording, stacked up against other classics in the bands catalog.  Hearing these songs stacked against songs like “Metal Gods” and “Breaking The Law” in the first half of the set is simply amazing.  To hear a band actually kick off a live show with two new tracks is unheard of, yet Priest did it on this show, opening with “Love Bites” and “Jawbreaker,” which as I mentioned earlier, they still play regularly in 2014-2015.  Other classic Judas Priest tracks are littered through the setlist, including “Grinder” and “Sinner” which the band rips through with a determination that you can hear in the performance.  Four more Defenders tracks line the middle of the set, with “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll,” “The Sentinel,” “Rock Hard Ride Free,” and “Night Comes Down” run back-to-back.  While these songs were new, the aggressive playing and singing help these tracks come off like seasoned hits, especially “The Sentinel” which has a fury in the twin-guitar attack that lights this track up.  Other classics fill the void between new tracks, with a personal favorite “Electric Eye” being one of them.  Three more tracks from Defenders Of The Faith are rolled out before the band rolls out arguably their biggest hits.  “Heavy Duty,” title track “Defenders of the Faith,” and “Freewheel Burning” are the final new tracks played in this crazy metal-filled performance.  The band closes the set, originally aired as part of the ABC Rock Network’s live broadcasts, with other classics , including “The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown),” “Living After Midnight,” and set closer “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.”

CD1 – Defenders Of The Faith (Remastered)

  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

CD2 – Live at Long Beach Arena, California 5th May 1984:

  1. Love Bites
  2. Jawbreaker
  3. Grinder
  4. Metal Gods
  5. Breaking the Law
  6. Sinner
  7. Desert Plains
  8. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
  9. The Sentinel
  10. Rock Hard Ride Free

CD3 – Live at Long Beach Arena, California 5th May 1984

  1. Night Comes Down
  2. The Hellion
  3. Electric Eye
  4. Heavy Duty
  5. Defenders of the Faith
  6. Freewheel Burning
  7. Victim of Changes
  8. The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)
  9. Living After Midnight
  10. Hell Bent For Leather
  11. You’ve Got Another Thing Coming





Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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