Keith Caulfield of Billboard reports:

Rock band Judas Priest debuts at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with Firepower — marking the group’s highest charting album ever. The album surpasses the group’s previous chart high, logged when 2014’s Redeemer of Souls debuted and peaked at No. 6…

Firepower — the act’s 18th studio effort — bows with 49,000 units earned in the week ending March 15th, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 48,000 were in traditional album sales — the act’s best sales frame since 2005’s Angel of Retribution bowed with 54,000 copies sold. Judas Priest’s bow was bolstered by sales generated from a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer in association with the band’s tour that began on March 13th.

Firepower and Redeemer of Souls are the veteran band’s only top 10 efforts, though the act has been charting since 1978 with Stained Class (No. 173). The group collected its first top 40 set in 1980 with British Steel (No. 34) and its first top 20 effort with 1982’s Screaming for Vengeance (No. 17).

The new album was ushered in by the single Lightning Strike, which has so far peaked at No. 21 on the Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart. It’s the band’s highest charting single on the tally since way back in 1982, when their classic hit You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ peaked at No. 4.

Here’s a look at Judas Priest’s history on the Billboard 200 chart:

Title, Peak Position, Peak Date

Stained Class, No. 173, April 22nd, 1978
Hell Bent for Leather, No. 128, April 28th, 1979
Unleashed in the East (Live in Japan), No. 70, Nov. 10th, 1979
British Steel, No. 34, July 12th, 1980
Point of Entry, No. 39, May 23rd, 1981
Screaming for Vengeance, No. 17th, Oct. 30, 1982
Defenders of the Faith, No. 18, Feb. 25th, 1984
Turbo, No. 17, April 26th, 1986
Live, No. 38, July 11th, 1987
Ram It Down, No. 31, June 18th, 1988
Painkiller, No. 26, Nov. 3rd, 1990
Metal Works ’73 – ‘93, No. 155, June 5th, 1993
Jugulator, No. 82, Nov. 15th, 1997
Demolition, No. 165, Aug. 18th, 2001
Angel of Retribution, No. 13, March 19th, 2005
Nostradamus, No. 11, July 5th, 2008
A Touch of Evil: Live, No. 87, Aug. 1st, 2009
Redeemer of Souls, No. 6, July 26th, 2014
Firepower, No. 5, March 24th, 2017

source: billboard.com

27 Responses

  1. Without looking at raw unit sales, this is a silly comparison. Screaming for Vengeance went at least double platinum, meaning 2 million sold. Firepower will never come close to that. Album sales in general are so far down from peak levels that hitting #1 now means nothing. I love priest but the upper level was Closed at their concert last week at Nassau Coliseum. They need to pack it in.
    Their Return in 2005 Should have been the final tour.

  2. FIREPOWER is a terrific album, and I’m glad Judas Priest is seeing success with it’s release. I think its their best album since PAINKILLER. If this is their final album release, as I’m guessing it is, then they are going out a success. My only reservation is that this success should not give them an idea to continue on without Glen Tipton after this tour. PLEASE, do not turn the mighty Priest into another example of a band with only one or two original band members trying to stay relevant, like Ratt, LA Guns, Great White, Quiet Riot, etc. Please exit the scene with your dignity intact. FIREPOWER shows everyone why Judas Priest was one of the greatest metal bands of all time. They should take their bows and exit the stage.

    1. Keith, Quiet Riot currently doesn’t have any original members. Frankie Banali, while a member of the classic lineup, is not an original member of Quiet Riot. Today’s Quiet Riot truly is a tribute band that is sanctioned by Kevin DuBrow’s mom.

    2. Yeah, I know that Rattlehead. I always think of the “classic” version of Quiet Riot as the original members, since I wasn’t familiar with them until METAL HEALTH came out. I will never understand bands like Quiet Riot. I mean, I’ve heard some tracks off of their newest album. It’s not too bad! But to call it a Quiet Riot record is a joke! Why not create something new? Frankie B. is a terrific musician, and the rest of the band members are all very talented. Frankie has said that he’s keeping Quiet Riot alive as some sort of tribute to Kevin Dubrow. He could still play Quiet Riot songs live, even if the band wasn’t named Quiet Riot. Let’s face it, Quiet Riot had maybe two albums that were successful (METAL HEALTH and CONDITION CRITICAL). They weren’t in the same league as Judas Priest, KISS, or Whitesnake. What is Frankie really preserving with the name Quiet Riot? They’re playing tiny clubs, county fairs, and festivals (not on the main stage!). There isn’t this huge Quiet Riot fanbase that will be heartbroken if the band Quiet Riot decides to call it a day! They should retire the name Quiet Riot, and move on.

    3. Not exactly true; their current bass player has deep roots with the band, and played on the track “Metal Health,” he’s a very good player. I watched Frankie’s doc, and they had this singer for a while who was really really good, but his stage presence wasn’t to Frankie’s liking; he didn’t have any; Frankie yelled at him a few times. But I say that this guy’s demeanor being the exact opposite of DuBrow was not minus, but could be a positive. He wasn’t trying to be DuBrow, and his sort of meek stage persona was endearing really because he sang the songs so well and with a lot of heart too…Don’t really understand why Frankie was so hard on the guy but to Frankie’s credit, he edited the movie to show the full spectrum of this singer; i.e., he didn’t make him look bad, he showed the guy’s ability and what he did. Lol…so he gets this new blood in there and it was a good business move, the kid is pretty good, haven’t heard much of their latest release.

    4. Shannon, I hear ya’, the current bass player, Chuck Wright, does have deep roots with the band and did indeed play on couple of Metal Health songs. But he’s not an original member. Kelly Garni, a friend of Randy Rhoads, was the original bass player and a founding member of Quiet Riot.

  3. Glenn just said his favorite Priest song is “Night Comes Down,” not what I was expecting.
    Rob said “Victim of Changes,” Richie: “The Sentinel.”

    1. I have too many to name, but Victim of Changes would be towards the top, so I am with the Metal God.

      D 🙂

    2. I know “Screaming for Vengeance” is your favorite but that record is so nihilistic, and strangely so because it’s so commercial. It is probably the first mainstream release to be that uncompromising but it just doesn’t necessarily translate into personal enjoyment for me but works more on the level of social commentary. In that regard, it’s the most brilliant, and ironically anti-Enlightenment, record ever made. The albums I personally enjoy the most are Point of Entry and Ram It Down, the former is a metal record for adults, and the latter has a lot of virtuostic guitars and clever melodies and riffs and it’s not so calculated like Turbo. Priest is also that rare band whose demos are really cool; the songs were good enough but for some reason just didn’t fit in to the narratives of the albums. I just like Priest the most when they lighten up. 🙂

    3. Is that comment directed at me?

      If so, Point of Entry, is also a good album, very underrated. I think it gets lost in the shuffle because it was sandwiched between two of Priest’s best records British Steel and Screaming for Vengeance.

      As for Screaming, I wish I could give an estoeric explanation for why I hold that album in such high regard. The truth is, it was the first Judas Priest album that I purchased (and the most current at that time), and I think the songs are just melodic enough without losing any of the grit and snarl.

      Sadly, I am one of those people, who while I very much appreciate, and admire, clever lyrics (shout out to Bob Daisley), I do not tend to pay much attention to them, nor the overall message of a song. Priest tends to be at their best when slightly cynical, Victim of Changes, is one of my all time favorite songs. Many would put Beyond The Realms of Death on that list as well, and that makes the overall “darker” tone of Screaming for Vengeance, seem downright giddy. Remember even Point of Entry has some bleaker moments (Don’t Go, Turning Circles (which I LOVE)), and even the lighthearted, electronica, Turbo, has Out In The Cold.

      Music like art, media, food and fashion is all a matter of taste. Other than maybe art, I find that most rock music fans have the most passion. 🙂

      Finally, if that comment was not directed to me, then just ignore my entire explanation-LOL!!

      D 🙂

    4. Yes, I was replying to you, and your explanation of Priest at their best sums it up nicely. I actually disagree somewhat in your comparison with their 70s material being bleaker as I hear Screaming for Vengeance’s corporate sound as just adding to how unsettling it is. Never mind how ruthlessly executed it is. Lol!! Again, though, what you said about them being at their best when they’re cynical is appreciated over here. 🙂

    5. No, I need to, they’re a missing link in my “history” of rock and roll collection. 🙂

  4. I don’t know how album sales work anymore nor how they measure “units” … but I LOVE this album. Guitars are HUGE and I really like the songwriting. Rise From Ruins is my favorite so far. Can’t wait to see them in Detroit 3/31 with Saxon and BSR. Saxon’s new album is also great! Sons of Odin is awesome and, of course, They Played Rock and Roll!

  5. Shannon Mehaffy, enlighten me please on which song(s) Dave Holland caries Priest on? Riding On The Wind, Troubleshooter, Living After Midnight? Not sarcasm, just curiosity.

    1. Actually, I was referring more to the Painkiller album and that kind of metal in general. Holland isn’t carrying the song because he doesn’t have to, the melodies and structures are already interesting enough…Holland added but he didn’t have to do much except keep the right beat. Travis plays those songs much the same way Holland did.

    2. Painkiller is familiar territory for Priest, they didn’t have to stretch that much as artists. It’s, of course, a very professional album with plenty of great performances left and right. However, the only real inspiration I hear on it is “Touch of Evil,” “One Shot at Glory,” and the audacious title track. And even there, it’s just above their threshold of what I would consider average Priest (which is still higher than normal).

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