Defenders of the Faith 30th Anniversary
Release Date: Out Now
Review by Matthew Clewley
The rampant attack of the digital remasters continues from NWOBH titans Judas Priest as they have ‘Defenders of The Faith’ crashing back into the mind sets of classic heavy metal fans. Judas Priest are one of the most influential bands of all time, anyone with at least half a brain knows that. The album was originally released in 1984, during this time heavy metal was becoming yet again a global triumph as Judas Priest influenced the glam scene with their leather live performance dress code. ‘Defenders of the Faith’ did chart, it reached number 90 on the ARIA, but more notably it received an impressive second spot on the Swedish charts. The album has been given a platinum status, but does this remaster improve or ruin these songs cherished by die-hard fans?
The first single of three that was released before this album, ‘Freewheel Burning’, opens up this album with an immediate burst of pace and straight away you hear Halford screech his way onto ‘Jawbreaker’ and ‘The Sentinel’, which continues the fast, thrash element this album seems to radiate. Songs like ‘Rock Hard, Ride Free’ and ‘Love Bites’ reek of glam metal, with ‘Eat Me Alive’ mixing both thrash and glam into one. Undoubtedly, ‘Some Heads Are Gonna Roll’ is the signature song with a chorus and riff that drills into your skull, a song we all adore live and especially on this album. The album does die down quite a bit after this song into a slightly cheesy yet enjoyable finale, but this belongs in everybody’s music collection.
With this edition, there are of course the live performances. This one is in 1984 at the Long Beach Arena in California. Opening with ‘Love Bites’ and ‘Jawbreaker’ this live performance is absolutely swell. Listening to the crowd chant ‘Breaking The Law’ is heart warming. It makes me want to travel back in time to see this.
The ballad on ‘Defenders of the Faith’, ‘Night Comes Down’, opens up disc 3, only then for ‘The Hellion’ to rip it apart and give ‘Electric Eye’ the spotlight. The motorcycle revs before ‘Hell Bent For Leather’ breaks in to always whip any Priest fan into an excitable frenzy, just as much as Halford teasing the crowd before ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Coming’. This is a perfect nostalgic flashback for those who had the pleasure of witnessing Judas Priest live during their mid 80s prime.
The production on the remasters makes this sound beautifully fresh, the live production is incredible especially. The soaring vocals Rob Halford and the double K.O guitar duelling from Glenn Tipton and KK Downing show that this album doesn’t age. Tipton and Downing shine brighter than the metal this album encrusts, with their wild solos piercing through my headphones and causing a shitstorm in my brain. ‘Defenders of the Faith’ is a perfect mix, very influential to both glam and thrash metal and it also remains an all time classic.