Judas Priest had been around for nearly fifteen years, yet they were just getting the popularity that they deserved. Their 1980 breakthrough album, British Steel, put them on top, and their popularity rose with Screaming For Vengeance. In 1984, they released Defenders Of The Faith, which also became one of the most popular Priest albums. Hailed by many as a classic, a classic this is not. However, Defenders is a great album.
When I purchased this album(along with Megadeth's Youthanasia), I expected to be blown away with high-pitched vocals and loud guitars, and this is exactly what I got...for the first six tracks. From Freewheel Burning to Eat Me Alive, I was treated with some of Judas Priest's absolute finest material. It was mildly cheesy, but this certainly was not a problem whatsoever. This is one of the best things about the album. It's got plenty of cheesy arena metal moments, but it didn't bother me in the least bit at all. The Sentinel is definitely the greatest song in the bunch. Fast, loud, energetic; everything you could possibly want in a Judas Priest song. One thing you'll notice about the first six tracks is that they are all very energetic. Rob Halford has one of the most metal voices in the genre of metal. He can hit all sorts of insanely high notes(much like Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden), as well as being able to change his voice a lot. KK Downing and Glenn Tipton's duo guitar-playing is also a huge contribution to the energetic style of Judas Priest. Their pure, speedy, heavy metal guitar work is one of the best things about the album. The bass isn't a major part of Judas Priest, unlike other bands at the time, such as Iron Maiden.
Now for some info on the album's tracks. As I said before, The Sentinel is my very favorite song on the album, yet there are many other highlights. One of the more underrated songs on the album is Love Bites. No, it is not a ballad like the lame Def Leppard song is. Love Bites is a very well-done metal song. This track has a very cool bass intro, and then the vocals begin. The vocals are superb. The Sentinel has the most impressive of all of the vocal work on the album. As for the other highlights of the album, we have Freeweheel Burning, Rock Hard Ride Free, and Eat Me Alive. However, all of the first half-dozen tracks are pure heavy metal classics. And then, we have Some Heads Are Gonna Roll.
Some Heads Are Gonna Roll is one of my least favorite tracks on the album. It's a decent track, yes, but compared to what we get on the first three fifths of Defenders, I would say that it's mildly weak. It has grown on me a little, but it still is not one of my favorite tracks. Night Comes Down is insanely weak however. It's typical arena rock, almost reminiscent of crap like Night Ranger. I wouldn't exactly go that far, but it is pretty weak, seriously. Heavy Duty and Defenders Of The Faith are two seperate tracks, but they are linked together as one. They are decent tracks, but they do not live up to the excellence of the first six.
Sure, there are a few weaklings, but the majority of the album is great, hence the 3.5 rating. Powerful and aggressive riffs combined with pure metal high-pitched vocals, as well as some of the most energetic Judas Priest songs I've yet to hear make their ninth release, Defenders Of The Faith, definitely worth a listen. Buy it, borrow it, download it, whatever you choose to do. Just give this album a listen. I highly suggest trying it out, even though it isn't the best album ever.
+ Great vocals
+ Great guitar
+ The first six songs
- Not very consistent, because it goes downhill after the first six songs.
- Night Comes Down sounds like typical bland arena rock