Review Summary: Although it's a little inconsistent, it's still worth listening to for even casual fans of Priest.
Judas Priest were one of the originators of the heavy metal genre, right up there with some of the biggest rock 'n' roll giants of all-time like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. However, the band wasn't always metal. Albums like Point of Entry and Turbo are proof of this. The genres of Priest range from speed metal to metal to hard rock to even glam. So what category does this particular album, Screaming For Vengeance, fall in? Heavy metal
It all kicks off with The Hellion, a technical instrumental that only clocks in at forty seconds, and leads right into the real opener, a heavy metal classic, known as Electric Eye. Glenn Tipton and KK Downing's beastly riffs carry the song through its entire four minute timespan, with Rob Halford's shrieks making the track all the more fun to listen to. Priest openers usually tend to be the best song on the album, with the closer being almost or just as good, and this is the case with Screaming For Vengeance. The Hellion/Electric Eye is an amazing song that has almost everything I love about Judas Priest in it. Also, when played live back in the day, the stage setup for this song was pretty cool
Screaming For Vengeance is loaded with plenty of other quality numbers besides the ones I mentioned. Riding On The Wind is an adequate song, as is Bloodstone. Also, the title track is definitely the most energetic number by far, and it features Halford's best vocal performance on the entire album. His screams are mindblowing. Not to mention, the twin guitar attack of K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton is brilliant. They can play well slow, and they can play well fast, the latter especially. Their chemistry on the title track is superb, and not once do they get too rambunctious or over-the-top with their instrument. You've Got Another Thing Comin' is without a doubt Priest's second biggest hit ever, just behind Breaking The Law, and it too is a fine song. However, it's clearly the designated hit song off the album. It seems almost like they recorded it just to be able to release a single from this album, but it's a very good single at that. The problem I have with this song is that it's not that heavy. It's quite good, but Judas Priest are far better when they're playing fast and going out on an all-out heavy metal attack. The heaviness is picked back up with the closer, Devil's Child, which is one of my all-time favorite Priest songs. It's just four simple minutes of the band unleashing the fury. It's probably my second or third favorite song off the album. So as you can see, Screaming For Vengeance has its fair share of excellent songs.
There were three songs that I didn't mention in the above paragraph, and those songs are (Take These) Chains, Pain and Pleasure, and Fever. Fever is obviously the best of the three weak links, but regardless, it is still one of the weak links. (Take These) Chains is a bit of a slow song, and it's borderline glam. Not good glam though, not at all. It's very annoying, and it's just not fun to listen to. Pain and Pleasure is also very slow, and it's just very boring. It just seems that there's no energy. Judas Priest plus a snail pace tempo equals a bad song. It's as simple as that. However, Screaming For Vengeance isn't the only inconsistent Priest album. Every other Priest album I've heard (except for perhaps Painkiller) has at least three subpar songs.
Screaming For Vengeance is an odd album. It's got seven quality songs, three or four of which showcase Judas Priest at their very best. However, it just has too many below-average songs to be considered the classic that it is heralded as. If you're a huge fan of Priest, then you'll surely love it, but if you aren't very fond of Priest's other work, then I doubt this will change your mind. However, it is an essential speed metal album, and even though it has quite a few flaws, it's definitely worth listening to.