Is Defenders by Judas Priest already 30 years old? Holy crap Tbone your ancient ! Hahahaha. Seriously though I’m not going to review the studio portion here I’m just going to hammer down on print the live portion of the Defenders reissue! If you want to read the Defenders Of The Faith studio review head over to mikeladano.com he’s got it all there for Ya!
I gotta hand it to Priest they know how to reissue there back catalogue. British Steel came with the full album/Leftover studio tracks and a full live show from 2010 of Priest playing the full British Steel album front to back with classics thrown in for good measure. Screaming For Vengenace as well included the full album and some live tracks from the Live Vengenace tour and a full live DVD from the U.S. Festival (1983) of Priest playing to the masses that day! Defenders is the same full studio album and a full live show from 1984 as a included live bonus!
Friends of Arena Rock this how reissues should be done! Make it interesting for me the fanboy from yesteryear that will rebuy it. Give me something, toss me a musical bone so to speak to spend my $ and make it my worthwhile! Everyone and there dog knows I’m a Van Halen Fanboy so when I bought the reissues of the 6 David Lee Roth era albums back in 2000.no extras,nada,nuthin,zippo just some original packaging yada yada. Of course VH is once again reissuing the same albums (2015)and once again no extras,nada,nuthin,zippo…I will pass!
So for this reissue of Defenders you get 3 CDs with the reissue(myself as usual i bought it on iTunes $19.99 for 31 tracks) The first cd is the actual studio album remastered and it features everyone’s favourite singalong Eat Me Alive! Ha. This is great to have it as the last copy I owned was on vinyl back upon its release in early 1984!
Discs 2&3 are the selling point and Priest delivers it here as its a full live show recorded on May 5 1984 in good ol Long Beach California! Home of also where Iron Maiden recorded a year later in 1985!
Since there are a shitload of songs on the live portion I will try and keep it simple…..
Hell Bent For Halford!
LOVE BITES- the tour opener and you know listening to this track all these years later I can see how they are headed towards Turbo County 2 years later(1986). The beat is ZZ Toppey sounding and Ian Hill on Bass and Dave Holland on drums drive it Texas style but of course you got KK Downing and Glenn Tipton playing super duper cool catchy metal riffs and Rob Halford soars vocally……did I not say I was keeping this short and simple!
JAWBREAKER- well so much for that ZZ Top comparison! Priest goes back to regular business and this is a great song and it’s good to hear it again. Cool verses,prechorus catchy Metal hooks!
GRINDER- back to 1980s British Steel with Grinder! How can you not dig this tune especially the middle part how the song break downs and shifts gears you know the part about Grinder not needing a license! Ha..great song man….
METAL GODS- Halford tells the crowd that there’s 13,000 Heavy Metal Maniacs in Long Beach at the show and bam were into Metal Gods! I mean this song is metal not in speed but in pace it’s a slower kind of metal riffage! Tipton and Downing are on fire on this live recording!
BREAKING THE LAW- well now the British Steel Triology early in the show is concluded with “Breaking the what?” Asks Halford and Priest ramp it back up and and set the pace quickly and into…
SINNER-duelling guitars set the tone and Halford takes over and man Sinner is Awesome i still remember hearing it for the first time on Unleashed In The East and Halford almost destroyed my Sears stereo speakers with his Sinner bombastic shrieking! A tour de force of vocal supremacy here at Arena Rock! Boom! Done!
DESERT PLAINS- one of my favourite Priest tunes ever! Of course it’s from one of my fav albums (Point Of Entry) of the mighty Judas! ‘Full moon is rising the sky is Black!” Sings Robbo. Love the verses,chorus,solos,vocals it’s all hear! That opening riff at the start of the song is the fuckin deal!
SOME HEADS ARE GONNA ROLL- another newbie track from Defenders and it’s a great song! Priest is telling us all if people are bugging Ya don’t let them bug Ya! Cool tempo this is Priest slowing things down a bit but still keeping it heavy devy Metal! Umm no sap here whatsoever!
THE SENTINEL-holy and I mean holy shit it’s so good to revisit this song! Tipton and Downing lay down a slow heavy duelling guitar riff deluxe combo and Kaboom the rest of the band drives this song and what a great track! Epic building of a tune and I love how after the ripping of the solos Priest chill out and Halford does his deepy voice thing and than The Sentinel ramps back up towards the finish line! This is Judas Priest right here,right now!! Well 1984 that is!
ROCK HARD RIDE FREE- what a great track from Defenders! Super cool catchey everything! Love these chill power chords on this tune and the tempo starts the song one way and by th first verse a tempo change than into the pre chorus yet another tempo change and after all that Halford laying down the “Rock Hard Ride Free,all day all night” Yep that says it all! The solos are dope sick good especially when they shift into the breakdown at the end of the Tipton/Downing guitarama! Another one of my Favs and next to the Sentinel my fav off of Defenders!
NIGHT COMES DOWN- Wowzers Priest shifts gears and slows the bus down and plays a tune that is slower but it’s a good track! I’m surprised back in the day Priest didn’t release this as a single. Perhaps they didn’t want to follow trends since other bands of the time were doing it. I could be wrong or maybe Priest forgot to do it! Haha
THE HELLION/ELECTRIC EYE- ahh yes now the Screaming For Vengenace album is represented and it’s amazing that Screaming was Priests biggest seller up til that point and it’s finally track number 12 of the show and after the taped Hellion intro and viola Tipton/Downing lay down the law with the axes and this is another excellent track! Love it …crank it and buy yourself a copy if you don’t have it!
HEAVY DUTY-Robbo and the Priest tells us that Metal is Heavy Duty so get ready as we’re all…..
DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH-Reverend Halford takes his metal pulpit and tells us all that we are all Defenders Of The Faith and the Faith is indeed Metal! Tons of crowd participation! Man up til this past week it must be 30yrs or close to it that I heard this tune! Metal indeed!
FREEWHEEL BURNING-the studio album opener and all bets are off! Priest hits the highway hard pedal to the floor and this is classic Priest smoldering engine pushed to the max and how about the chorus Freeeeeeeewheeeeel Burnnnnning! Of course Halford goes crazy with the vocal “Look before you leap has never been the way we keep” man Halford throws it down at 110 mph vocally!
VICTIM OF CHANGES- back to late 70s Priest Metal with heavy guitars and this is a track also I heard for the first time on the Unleashed live album! Thrown in for good measure is a live guitar solo and this has all the Metal trimmings….9 minutes long! Halford changing tempos with his voice!Hill and Holland laying down the bottom end! Guitar Hero solo 101 tossed in for good measure! Shit man what a Extravaganza!
GREEN MANALISHI- oh yeah Fleetwood Mac originally wrote this probably before Stevie Nicks and her Rumours vibe joined Fleetwood but regardless Priest make it there own! This is a great song very catchy! Cool guitar solo and once again Halford soars sonically at the end of the song!
LIVING AFTER MIDNIGHT-Priest says just cause the shows ending doesn’t mean the party’s ending! Simple metal but it’s friggin good! When I think of this track ummmmm…LOADED! Great song written by Downing/Tipton/Halford..what else Ya want?
HELL BENT FOR LEATHER- cue Rob entering arena on his Harley! Cue tons of feedback from the amps of Downing/Tipton! Cue quick riffing! Cue double bass drumming! Cue Ian Hill slammimg straight ahead bass licks! Cue leather/Smoke/Metal! This has to be the trademark Priest send off ! Boom …..
YOU GOT ANOTHER THING COMIN-the big hit from Screaming including crowd singalong and Priest send the 13,00o home from Long Beach Arena happy and according to Halford at one point in this show another 5 million radio listeners at home(this show was broadcast on radio) Thats a good nights work !
IN CONCLUSION-It was great to revisit Defenders after so many years! For myself personally it was Priest from Unleashed In The East thru to Screaming that I like best! Well now I gotta give it up for Defenders Of The Faith!
The live show like I mentioned is the Deal! I mean how crazy is it that Priest plays 9 out of the 10 tracks from Defenders(Eat Me Alive is the lone holdout) and play just two from Screaming For Vengenace there mega seller from 2 years earlier! Give Them credit man ….plus there live chops are awesome! The mix and production from the live show is real good considering it’s been laying around in a vault somewhere for 30 years!
The booklet included is pretty neat and shows the pics of Priest when they played MSG in NYC in 1984 and fans ripped out seats and chucked them at the stage. The result was $250,000 in damage and landed Priest a lifetime band from playing MSG!
The Love Bites video is a bootleg from Montreal! It’s pretty good footage considering the dude probabley filmed it on a camcorder the size of a mini bar fridge back in 1984! Check it out and see how Priest kicked off there show in 80s style!
So much for keeping it short! Hahaha…