Judas Priest/ Defenders Of The Faith Special 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Columbia/ Legacy, 2015)
Original album released in 1984.
I hate my money. Absolutely hate it. Why else would I buy five copies of this album??? My first copy was on vinyl. That Christmas I got it on cassette along with my off-brand Walkman (a Sharp?). Then I of course upgraded to CD...then the 2001 remaster with bonus tracks...and now this 3 disc version. You could do worse than buying an album this awesome five times in the past three decades, but you catch my drift.
|L- Original CD release; C- 2001 remastered editon; R- New version|
Judas Priest replaced Kiss as my favorite band during this time. This album blew my mind, as it was the heaviest thing that I had heard when it came out. Bear in mind that many record stores did not carry independent or import titles at this point in time, so as far as my 10-11 year old mind knew this was the heaviest thing on the planet. Aside from the unrelenting heaviness there were actual, honest-to-gosh songs underneath it all. Songs rule all. You can be heavy as all get out and if you can't remember the song five minutes after the album is over then you don't have shit.
Priest were so badass in 1984. Every single song on this album is a jam. To this day I get pumped when I listen to this, and I have played this album umpteen times in the past three or so decades (since this 30th Anniversary edition came out 31 years later). Discs 2 and 3 capture the band at the peak of their powers, an uncompromising arena juggernaut selling out everywhere they went. What a great set it was, too. Priest always played faster than their recorded versions, and Sinner is literally done in double time from the version found on Sin After Sin. Desert Plains is another one that was worlds better live than on album. They absolutely killed it back then, as they were the best live band on the planet in the 1980s.
The remastering here sounds better than the 2001 version. While the original CD was stiff and slightly slower than the vinyl and cassette, it had the correct EQs and mix. The 2001 version swapped the right and left channels, with Glenn being on the right and KK on the left, which is of course unnatural and unholy. I got into an argument with their manager about these remasters at the time about this and the defacing of the artwork by changing the logo colors. It didn't end well for me.
Little did I know at the time that this would mark the end of the classic era of the band, with Turbo steering the band off course into mainstream waters for short term commercial success with long-term damage to their standing with the fans. This album, however, should be in the collection of any self-respecting Heavy Metal fan.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 6 out of 5.
The OCD zone: For those of you new to this site, this is the section where I dissect the packaging elements of a release. It seems that here in the brave new digital world there are two camps: one who care nothing about packaging or artwork whatsoever and the other who care about the packaging nearly as much as they do the music. I fall under the latter.
Like the 2001 remaster, they colored the logo incorrectly, this time with a blue instead of gray. The 2001 remaster was far worse, with that garish silver lettering. Still, it remains incorrectly colored and this bothers me. They also changed the placement of the logo, with it being closer in appearance to the T-shirts from this tour. Art is abandoned and never finished, or so the saying goes. Priest should have left the artwork as it was when the album was finished in 1984.
Other packaging elements not retained from the original release are the sleeve photo collage of the band and the lyrics from the flip-side of the sleeve (or booklet on the original CD; cassette buyers were SOL in those days).
Also, not one photo of drummer Dave Holland is in the entire package. That's ridiculous. I understand that he left the band under less than desirable circumstances and that he was convicted of rape/child molestation in 2004, but he was the drummer for the band for 10 years.
There are several live B-sides from various 7” and 12” singles from around the world that would have been the cherry topping of this otherwise delicious sundae. Maybe those will be included on the 40th Anniversary Edition.