UltimateClassicRock.com recently published a list ranking Judas Priest’s studio albums from worst to best. Lists are always fun and good for debate. It got me to thinking about how I’d rank the band’s discography. It goes something like this…
17. Rocka Rolla – Yes, the band’s debut album is their worst, IMO. #SorryNotSorry That said, I don’t think it’s bad but I don’t think it’s very memorable. It’s really only notable because it was the band’s debut album; they were still finding themselves.
16. Jugulator – Most fans who can stand the Ripper era prefer this one, but I don’t.
15. Nostradamus – Said it before and I’ll say it again, this album is a bloated in every fashion possible. Trim it down to one disc and you’d have something decent, but as a double album it’s a bore and chore to sit through.
14. Point of Entry – An okay album with one excellent song (“Desert Plains”) that was nowhere near a follow-up worthy to British Steel.
13. Demolition – This is the Ripper-fronted album that has a greater number of songs that I enjoy. I have a soft spot for it because I bought when it was first released; it was my first “new” Priest album.
12. Turbo – A lot of people dislike this one but it’s a guilty pleasure to me and features a few great tracks.
11. Ram It Down – A harder-edged version of Turbo, it too falls under the category of being a guilty pleasure.
10. Angel of Retribution – Another album I have a soft spot for since it was Halford’s return to the group. I was very excited for this one. It was a good but not great reunion album.
9. Redeemer of Souls – Given that this album was only released a few months ago, it’s hard to truly determine where it stands in the Priest catalog. I feel like it is definitely a top 10 album for the band. It’s certainly the best album the band has made since 1990’s Painkiller.
8. Sad Wings of Destiny – While the band’s debut didn’t offer up much of interest, their sophomore effort saw the band heading down a heavy metal road that would eventually end with them being crowned as Metal Gods.
7. Defenders of the Faith – Released between the classic Screaming for Vengeance and the controversial Turbo, this one delivered a few classics in its own right.
6. Sin After Sin – The very first Priest album I ever bought.
5. Stained Class – This one is a near tie with the next album…
4. Hell Bent for Leather – …except this one wins out thanks to tracks like “Hell Bent for Leather”, “Before the Dawn” and “The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Prong Crown)”.
3. British Steel – I know there’s a strong case to be made for this being the band’s best releases, but there still some filler on this one.
2. Screaming for Vengeance – The band’s commercial breakthrough. I could go without ever hearing “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” for the rest of my life, but I’ll never get tired of “Riding on the Wind”, “Bloodstone”, “(Take These) Chains”, “Electric Eye” or “Screaming for Vengeance”.
1. Painkiller – This one, thought well-reviewed, still does not get enough love as far as I’m concerned. It’s the heaviest, fastest album the band ever did. A lot of people point to this album as having simple comic book lyrics, but who cares? Every track is an atmospheric heavy metal classic. It’s just too bad it was released in 1990 just as heavy metal was starting to slip a bit in popularity.