Judas Priest

Sin After Sin, Unleashed in the East, Stained Class, and Hell Bent for Leather (Columbia Legacy)

Phases and Stages

Judas Priest

Sin After Sin (Columbia Legacy)

Judas Priest

Stained Class (Columbia Legacy)

Judas Priest

Hell Bent for Leather (Columbia Legacy)

Judas Priest

Unleashed in the East (Columbia Legacy) There's nothing better than classic Priest for burnin' it up down the motor mile, and Columbia Legacy has unleashed phase two of the label's Priest reissue campaign, the treatment consisting of remastering, expanded artwork, a mini-essay by the band, and a pair of bonus tracks on each release. Sin After Sin was the group's international debut and first for Columbia, though they'd been active since 1970. Opening salvo "Sinner" shows they already had their quintessential metal sound down pat, K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton's grinding riffs and Rob Halford's banshee wails producing what stands as one of the band's finest moments. Sin After Sin's diverse palette features the tunefully engaging Joan Baez cover "Diamonds and Rust," Southern rock balladry, progressive rock, and more studio trickery than one might ever expect, qualifying it as an overlooked gem. The following year's Stained Class was a streamlined affair that solidified their leather-and-chains sound forever, featuring "Better by You, Better Than Me," the song that prompted a lawsuit alleging that it caused the suicide of two Nevada teenagers with subliminal cries of "Do it! Do it!" If only it were that compelling. Hell Bent for Leather is a scattershot affair, with material both memorable and execrable. The title track, "Running Wild," and "Delivering the Goods" delivered all the fire of the previous album, while "The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)" took the early Fleetwood Mac piece places John McVie and Peter Green could only dream of. Yet "Take on the World," sounds like a Coke commercial, and "Evening Star" and "Rock Forever" obviously pandered. The live Unleashed in the East, more or less a best-of, is considered by many the definitive document of the band's Seventies glory. The reissue includes four tasty omissions from the original release.

(Sin After Sin; Unleashed in the East) ***.5

(Stained Class) ***

(Hell Bent for Leather) **

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