Judas Priest - Screaming for Vengeance (30th Anniversary Edition)

Screaming for Vengeance is, unquestionably, one of the most important British heavy metal releases of all time. It remains Judas Priest’s biggest selling record across the globe, and was the album that broke the band into America; it regularly features on lists of influential metal records, and was the first full album to be featured as downloadable content for the computer game Rock Band. As such, it has influenced many generations of music fans in countless ways. Now, thirty years after it was first released, it’s back.

The first two tracks, The Hellion and Electric Eye, make for an enthralling opening: Rob Halford’s distinctive vocal soars over a sea of killer riffs, exciting solos and thunderous drumming. It’s everything you would expect – and want – from an 80s British heavy metal album, and it does it oh so well.

The album continues on in a similar vein for the remainder of its 10 tracks, each one fuelled with an unparalleled driving energy. Songs like the electrifying Bloodstone and explosive title track Screaming for Vengeance sound huge, the twin guitar assault of Glenn Tipton and KK Downing ringing sweeter than ever.

The album’s most popular track, however, is rock romp You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’. It’s a more straight-forward song than others on the album, and guitarist Downing actually revealed earlier this year on his blog that it was a late addition to the record. Despite being happy with the album, the band decided it could do with one more song. Downing wrote that the song “came together quite quickly, and I seem to remember that we all had a good feeling about it as it did sound like a good driving song and possibly a good radio track.”

“Without You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” continued Downing, “the album may not have been the success that it was, but I guess we will never really know.”

As with many anniversary re-releases, Screaming for Vengeance is augmented with a number of bonus tracks, the majority of which are live versions of the album’s fare. While they showcase the band’s live talent, they do not add anything to the album and here feel like filler, crowbarred in to make this a “special” 30th anniversary edition. One notable exception is bonus studio track Prisoner of Your Eyes, recorded in 1985: a seven minute, slow-building metal epic that ends the extra section of the album on a high.

So what more can be said about a classic album like Screaming for Vengeance that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before? If you’re a heavy metal fan and this seminal record isn’t already in your collection, now is the perfect time to remedy that.

Screaming for Vengeance (30th Anniversary Edition) is out on the 10th of September via Columbia Records.
ES