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Review: Judas Priest - Hell Bent for Leather
Judas Priest
Hell Bent for Leather

Label: Columbia Records
Year released: 1978
Duration: 38:15
Tracks: 11
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: June 2, 2017
Reviewed by: Christian Renner
Readers Rating
Hell Bent for Leather

Rated 4.5/5 (90%) (32 Votes)

I was looking for suggestions on something to review and had gotten quite a few great suggestions. Some were of bands that are criminally underrated and some were of albums that, for some reason or another, have not been reviewed at The Metal Crypt but really should have been. This album, of course, is part of the latter group.

Whether you like the classic era of metal or not it is at least interesting to see where your musical addiction got its start. I personally love this era and remember it quite fondly, which leads to a bit of a problem. Can I actually review this without letting nostalgia dictate my score? I also haven't actually listened to this album in its entirety in a very long time. I sat down with my headphones and started in.

I enjoyed their previous four albums but I can honestly say when I want to listen to Judas Priest I reach for this era of the band first. There is a reason there are so many concert standards from this part of the band's catalogue.

From the opener of "Delivering the Goods" to the closer of "Evil Fantasies" this album is just one killer riff after another. Judas Priest really understand the power of a great main riff and using the dual guitar attack to its fullest. This album was the start of a more straightforward approach with songs that are not as complex as previous efforts, but that tradeoff certainly doesn't diminish the overall feel. The songs may be shorter but I think they are better off being shorter. I'm sure they could have expanded on these core ideas and made a six-minute song but there really is no need. The last three Priest albums (in the new era) I have actually thought would be way better if they were shorter. My favorite band ever, Iron Maiden, has this exact same problem. It's almost like they have some sort of musical OCD that forces them to use up every bit of space on a CD. This album started a run of five straight albums that you will not find a song longer than 5:33 ("Rock Hard Ride Free"-Defenders of the Faith) and none even reaching a 40-minute total run time. That being said there would be a very large segment of fans that would say this era of the band is the best they ever were. It is definitely the era where the majority of the "classic" Priest songs come from.

So, this album is one that every metal fan should at least listen to, if not flat out own. Great riffs that will instantly stick in your head with the amazing vocals of one of the best metal vocalists ever. There is a reason Judas Priest are considered metal gods and I would say it started right here. Not the best album in their discography but certainly right near the top. If one of your biggest competitors is yourself then you are obviously doing something exceptional.

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