Greg Prato of Heavy Consequence celebrates the 40th anniversary of Judas Priest’s amazing, [Dana’s note: and my favorite] Screaming for Vengeance, album. Highlights from the article appear below.

Recorded from January through May of ’82 (with Tom Allom once again handling production duties), two studios were utilized — Ibiza Sound Studios in Ibiza, Spain, and Beejay Studios in Miami, Florida. When asked about the Vengeance sessions today, [guitarist Glenn] Tipton recalls, “In Spain, we did drink heavily, and there wasn’t much work done. Also, we found out when we came back to listen to the tapes, a lot of it was not usable, so we had to go to Miami to finish it. And even then, we recorded in some strange places. We recorded in a warehouse and did our own soundproofing. One thing it does is it gives the album a unique sound. I remember some of Florida… but I don’t remember much of Ibiza, unfortunately.”

Despite the hurdles, Vengeance…proved to be an incredibly consistent listen, with the band sounding inspired and focused — starting off with Priest’s greatest one-two punch album-opener, an instrumental entitled The Hellion that goes directly into Electric Eye.

“It’s just a melody that came into our brains and we put multi guitars on it and some big chords,” said Tipton of The Hellion. “And it was written for an intro. I think it serves its purpose very well. It’s very dramatic and creates anticipation — you know something big is going to come to follow that. That was the idea in doing that.”

[Regarding one of band’s biggest hits, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,] Tipton states, “[It’s] just this attitude that we’ve always had in Priest, and I dare say, we’ve always had in our personal way of dealing with issues that are sent to challenge us. ‘One life, I’m going to live it up… If you think I’ll sit around as the world goes by, you’re thinking like a fool.’ All this kind of stuff… ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’.’ It’s also wrapped up in the heavy metal community culture of the way we support each other with our metal. It’s very much a song of hope and rising above the issues or difficulties that come your way. It’s a song of resilience, as well.”

[Discussing the seminal record], Tipton adds, “It wasn’t an easy album to do, but in the end, it came out as one of the most successful albums.”

So taking everything into consideration, it would be quite understandable to declare Screaming for Vengeance as Priest’s best album. However, Tipton doesn’t feel it is such a clear-cut case.

“Not really. It’s close,” he said. “But I have to say there are a few landmark albums — like Sad Wings of Destiny; Sin After Sin in its own way was a unique album. Screaming for Vengeance definitely; British Steel. Even up to the current day, there’s been stepping stones where the band has touched on a slightly different style. And we’ve always been a band that was willing to experiment. I couldn’t give just one album to say — there were three or our four stepping stones where we changed direction slightly. But I think those are the most important: Sad Wings of DestinySin After Sin, and Screaming for Vengeance… up to the current day. I think that’s the right answer, really.”

Lastly, Priest’s longest-tenured guitarist unveiled the secret behind creating a bona fide metal classic: “It was a great deal of fun. And that’s what it’s all about, really — you’ve got to have fun. Writing and performing shouldn’t be a chore. It should just be a lot of fun.”

Read more at Heavy Consequence.

13 Responses

  1. I haven’t posted here in a very long time, but for the anniversary of SFV, I have to tip my hat to one of the finest albums of any genre of all time.

    I loved this album the first time my friend dropped the needle and The Hellion/Electric Eye came blasting out of the speakers. It was the first Priest album I bought (on cassette, although those Columbia-label cassettes didn’t last long so I then bought the vinyl and gave it the proper treatment on a Maxell XLII-90 cassette) and then I quickly bought up the back catalogue.

    For me, Priest accomplished two rarities with this release:
    1. Completed the Holy Trinity of Metal with British Steel and Point of Entry (I know, most folks are divided on this release but there are some stellar cuts on here – Heading Out to the Highway; Hot Rockin’; Don’t Go; Solar Angels; and the terrific Desert Plains. Also, when a release is book-ended by two such strong albums it is easy for it to get lost but I do like it. However, I digress…)

    2. The strongest opening of any album for all time. The Hellion/Electric Eye is good enough but when followed by Riding on the Wind…what else can you say? After this powerful opening, you would think the rest of the album might not be as strong but it is. Rob’s vocals are without peer on this release and they simply ride along with, for me, the strongest twin-guitar attack on any album. If you need more proof, just go on and listen to The Hellion/Electric Eye/Riding on the Wind this afternoon. Case closed. Scorpions came close on Blackout with Blackout/Can’t Live Without You but I still give the nod to Priest.

    Here’s to 40 Years of SFV. For me, it is a classic.

    1. This was very well written, and I could not agree more. It was my first Priest album, too, and it will always be, my absolute favorite.

  2. SFV is 1 of those albums that you just can’t play loud enough! Or get enough of! Even 40 years later! I agree with KB, Point Of Entry definitely gets overlooked because it was sandwiched between 2 absolutely perfect albums – British Steel, and of course SFV!

    1. Doug R –
      Exactly. This is what makes SFV such a special recording. British Steel was an exceptional album that any band would have had a difficult time with the follow-up. Evenf if they never made anything again even close to British Steel, Priest cemented their position near the top of the hierarchy of heave metal with this release. While not on the same level, Point of Entry was certainly a commendable effort. However, with SFV, Priest exceeded all expectations and, to me, at least, released the best album they ever made with SFV. I never get tired of this recording. Sure, there are the familiar tracks that have had their share of airplay, but then there are all the other gems that didn’t that are stellar in their own right. Plus, the production on SFV (and British Steel and Point of Entry) is superb. It still sounds as vibrant as it did 40 years ago.

      Dana – I agree – SFV is by far my favorite Priest album and is very near the top of the pile for me.

  3. Defenders of the Faith will always be my favorite Priest album…but maybe that is because that was my first introduction to the band. Sometimes what you listened to when you were younger, even though not their best, will be your favorite. Same goes with AC/DC “Fly on the Wall’, still my favorite AC/DC album, even though i know its not their best, but it brings back so many memories of my childhood and getting into metal…damn i wish i was 12 again!!

    1. MM,

      I am not sure about that, AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap was my first album, and it is very far from my favorite. My top three would be: Highway To Hell, Back In Black and Powerage.

      Sometimes you just get lucky, and the first album you happen to buy, is the band’s best one.

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