Judas Priest’s ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ Gets a Thumbs Up | Album Review

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! 

Lana

26 thoughts on “Judas Priest’s ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ Gets a Thumbs Up | Album Review

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    1. Huh, that’s interesting! Then again, that was my first introduction to metal so. That’s not Durbin’s best performance on the show, but it’s one of my favorites because it was so different compared what past contestants have done before (with the exception of Adam Lambert).

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts Mike!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was fully prepared to hate James Durbin forever based on two things:

        1) he was on a reality singing contest
        2) the Priest song

        However when he joined Quiet Riot I switched gears. Loved Durbin in Quiet Riot. Possibly the best singer they’ve had.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. To be honest, ‘American Idol’ became a joke towards the later years, or at least when Daughtry got voted off. But James is so much more than a reality show guy. He did a great job with Quiet Riot. He’s done a few albums, I’m planning to do a review on his 2016 album in the future, which is only available online sadly. But yeah, that’s why I stopped watching Idol.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I boycotted all singing shows by principle. I don’t believe in singing contents with rock and roll. Pop sure, but not rock. Rock must be born on stage not on TV.

        Definitely interested in his 2016 album!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You make a good point, that must be why we haven’t had successful rock artists come from that show (with the exceptions of Adam Lambert and Daughtry). That and the winners are forgettable.

        His 2016 album is really good. I personally like it more than his debut, but that could just be me! He went through a pop phase and I hated that. I’m hoping he doesn’t do that again lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Ah I see. I follow Durbin on Instagram, but I haven’t been on insta much recently, so I’m clueless on that stuff. I think he is working on a new album though, which I’m excited for!

        Like

      6. Well Lana it’s not a series really, I’ve been reviewing Priest since day one, but never finished all their albums. I did five or so earlier in the year and I have at least five more to go. Hard to keep track of all the live albums. I’ve got three on deck and ready to post but I’ll see if I can make a week out of it.

        If you wanna know more about the Priest and what to listen to, check this out!

        https://mikeladano.com/2020/04/10/live-stream-the-complete-judas-priest-and-more/

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Well, I turned around to get something, learned forward, and according to Deke, you could briefly see … argh… the crack of my ass. However this has been taken out and you have nothing to fear and nothing to blind you!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Ah got it! Well I just finished you going over the albums and man, Priest had way too many live albums! How did they survive with all those not-so good albums? Did they just rely on the hits when in concert?

        Man that is wow! ‘Painkiller’ is my favorite out of the two I’ve listened to so far. I’ll have to give ‘Firepower’ a shot one day, but it sounds like they went downhill after ‘Painkiller.’ Unnecessary fact, I actually hate “Breaking the Law;” if they got rid of that song from their setlist, I’d be a happy camper! Sorry Priest fans!

        Like

  1. Yeah, I’m with Mike on the Durbin performance. He sounds like a kid. But he probably was! Whatever though, it got you on the road to some Priest! Interesting that you like Painkiller better. Some find it too harsh. I think both albums are great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Durbin was 21 at the time, and that wasn’t even his best performance on the show. He matured throughout the season. My favorites are when he did “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” those performances show his emotional side and he has much more control in his voice.

      I guess everyone is different, both albums are good and I’m glad you like them both. I think ‘Painkiller’ is a better album to listen to when you’re pissed off at the world, while ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ is more on the tamer side.

      Like

  2. I must admit I really don’t rate this one highly at all. When it comes to Priest I am probably at my most contrarian (other than Blaze Bayley’s period with Maiden).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I would have to say Defenders of the Faith, followed by Painkiller and then Sin After Sin, Nostradamus, Angel of Retribution and then Turbo

        Like

    1. Thanks so much John! Also, thanks guys for putting me to shame for admiring Durbin and that particular performance. Nah it’s fine, it wasn’t his best performance. I mainly liked it because it was different than what Idol was known for. I had Durbin’s first album, but I was dumb and sold it to the Book-Off and that adds to my list of biggest regrets in life.

      I think ‘Painkiller’ is a way better album, but like Kevin said, it’s more harsh. I’ve only heard that and ‘Screaming for Vengeance,’ so I can’t say much on the subject.

      Liked by 1 person

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