The Most Underrated Song on Every Judas Priest Album
Judas Priest's discography is a towering 18-albums of genre-defining heavy metal, released over a career that has now spanned more than 50 years. Their half-century dominance is anchored by dozens of timeless hits, but for every "Breaking the Law" and "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" there's other songs that, while they may not have the same commercial luster, are just as worthy of representing the Priest legacy. So, we're delivering the goods to bring you The Most Underrated Song on Every Judas Priest Album.
From a wayward blues rock band with psychedelic leanings and heavier ambitions to the band that wrote perhaps the most molten metal song of all time — "Painkiller" — Judas Priest paved the road from hard rock to heavy metal, as it was popularized in its late '70s ascent through the '80s explosion.
Rocka Rolla, their 1974 debut album, was raw and, while it lacked the maturity and songwriting finesse that came later in the band's career, showcased a band keen on their influences at the time but longing for something decisively fresh. With the metallic heft of Black Sabbath's lumbering sway and their own pioneering twin guitar leads and indomitable range of the 'Metal God,' Rob Halford, the Birmingham-based bunch quickly found their sticking point forever after once the sophomoric Sad Wings of Destiny dropped in 1976.
For some, this is the genuine birth of classic heavy metal — not to discredit Sabbath for all their impact, but their specific brand of heavy metal was not as widely represented, especially not in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene, until the doom metal subgenre was officially minted by the likes of Pentagram and Candlemass.
With the '50 Years of Heavy Metal' tour finally underway (until plans were postponed again, not because of the pandemic but due to guitarist Richie Faulkner suffering a ruptured aorta onstage) and a career-spanning new Reflections box set looking back at five decades of Judas Priest, we got a bit sentimental and rummaged through the deep cuts, the hidden gems… whatever you want to call them… to celebrate just how outstanding this band has been for so long, from Rocka Rolla through Firepower.
Head here to purchase the 'Reflections' 50th anniversary box set.