When I was 12-years-old, I watched Judas Priest perform on the American Idol finale for season 10. Earlier in the season, my favorite contestant, James Durbin, gave it his all on “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin,'” and he nailed those high notes! That was 2011, flash forward to 2020, where I decided to check out the album with that signature song.
Screaming for Vengeance, the band’s eighth studio album, was released on July 17, 1982. It’s no Painkiller (1990), but there are some tracks on here that people can blast in their car stereo while driving down a highway. “Devil’s Child,” “Screaming for Vengeance,” and “Riding on the Wind” showcase Rob Halford’s high vocal range, and the latter features a fast-paced drum intro. Oddly enough, I watched a reaction video of “Electric Eye” performed live, and honestly, it sounds way better live!
There were some slower tracks like “Fever” and “Pain and Pleasure;” I liked the latter, at first, but then I found the lyrics a bit cheesy after a few listens. “Bloodstone” has a beautiful melody, pounding drums, and it’s a fun, head-banging tune. I kept thinking of Guns N’ Roses when listening to it, but that could just be me.
The first time I heard the studio version of “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin,'” I thought, wow, “James Durbin sang higher than the two guitars combined when he performed it on American Idol!” It’s a great song, one of their tamer ones; even the guys were surprised when it became a hit in the states. Halford is a great singer, but now I’m cursed with comparing him to Durbin every time I listen to that track. I think Durbin sped up the song, too, so yeah!
I’m not an expert on the band, but Glenn Tipton and K. K. Downing can play guitar inexplicably well! I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the screeching sound of their guitars, as they traded between lead parts and melodic harmonies.
My favorite songs on the album are “Screaming for Vengeance” (despite not understanding a word Halford sings in that song), “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin,'” and “Devil’s Child.” I get chills every time Halford sings, “I believe you’re the devil,” like he means it! “Devil’s Child” also features spot-on backing vocals.
An interesting fact about the album is that it marked the first time a Priest drummer, Dave Holland, played on more than two Judas Priest albums. Holland played on the albums Point of Entry (1981) and British Steel (1980). I’m used to Scott Travis from the later live performances, but Holland is not bad too.
I researched that Screaming for Vengeance marked the return to a more distorted guitar and hardcore sound after their previous radio-friendly Point of Entry (1981) album. I agree in some sense; I’ve only heard a few tracks from the latter, but at one point, I thought I was listening to Journey, so that must say something! I’ll have to listen to the whole thing at some point.
Overall I came in with high expectations for Screaming for Vengeance, and while I wasn’t disappointed with it, I wish it was louder and more aggressive, or at least to the extent of Painkiller. From now on, I’m going to rank the albums I review out of five stars to make it less confusing. So I’d give this album 4 out of 5 stars because I think this album is a bit commercialized, but 4/5 is still good. So don’t stress too much about it!
Let me know in the comments below your thoughts on Screaming for Vengeance!
Take care and see ya real soon!