1. Freewheel Burning
3. Rock Hard Ride Free
4. The Sentinel
5. Love Bites
6. Eat Me Alive
7. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
8. Night Comes Down
9. Heavy Duty
10. Defenders of the Faith
Judas Priest on the top of their work during the NWOBHM time. After the amazing Screaming for Vengeance album this killer album was published 1984. This album showed all that Rob Halford is one of the best Metal shouters ever and he was absolutely right that he called himself the metal god.
Starting with the neckbreaker Freewheel Burning, a song like a hell ride on a motorbike. Fast, furious, double lead guitars and a stamping drumsound like a hammer. What a start. Same speed in Jawbreaker, a song with real high vocals of Halford, one of Priests trademarks. Nothing but burnt earth left….a demonstration in Heavy Metal. After this follows the biker hymn Rock Hard, Ride free. A lot slower than the two openers with a refrain that let every biker raise his fist on his cycle to say…hell yeah, thats freedom. A hymn that became a big role in live shows cause of the “everyone can sing it” parts. Breaking to a different kind of songwriting with the theme of The Sentinel. Unspectacular start in the song but then it points with a little mystic touch and heaviness. I can find out even little doom elements except the partly high vocals. Downing and Tipton play their duels obviously with the most fun for them in Love Bites. Is it a love song? No. It is a song that slows down some steps but it has A Touch of Evil in the perfomance of Halford and the guitars break at the second part of the song through your head. The first surprise on that album.
Eat me alive is a faster song with a good refrain but really unspectacular. So this song cannot keep the quality of the songs heard before. Not bad, but more a filler for me. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll has become a classic of Judas Priest that they always play live til now. A midtempo song with a killler refrain and the lyrics say what it looks like. Halford nearly barks that song out.
Following is another hymn. More a pop song than metal….When the night comes down. I think that was a try to get in the charts, but now we can say that didnt work. The song has its moments in the theme of the refrain, but the surprising breaks or the effect of open mouth is missing.
The album ends with a double song. Heavy Duty is nothing but a stamping locomotive with Halfords shouts. The song leads to a short endtheme called Defenders of the Faith. You can also think about that song as a finisher of live concerts. Only one sentence “we are…Defenders of the Faith” with real high vocals of Halford. The song could continue on and on and the crowd will sing it.
Great finish !! I think with this album Halford was on top of his volume of voice and the guitar wizards Downing and Tipton on top of their fantastic break breaks break solos. Ok. Painkiller was a good album later too. But this album has a special touch cause it hit direct into the NWOBHM and showed the most bands where their talent is ending.
review by Kerb