Judas Priest
Unleashed in the East


4.0
excellent

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
July 10th, 2009 | 52 replies


Release Date: 1979 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ladies and gentle men, we present to you: UNLEASHED IN THE...

After 5 studio albums, Judas Priest fans (more specifically: the Japanese ones) were eager for a live album by the British heavy metal act. Priest answered to this call, and made their first live recording in Tokyo, during the 1979 Hell Bent for Leather Tour. It was released worldwide in October the same year (although originally only a Japanese release had been planned), and was the first of many Priest albums to feature Tom Allom on production duties (who would leave after 1998’s Ram It Down). It does not contain the entire Tokyo concert, although the 2001 remaster added 4 take-outs not on the original release. The album was well-received and the first of a stream of Priest albums to reach the US Top 100.

However, Unleashed in the East, as the album was called, was surrounded by rumours about its authenticity. Claims were made about Rob Halford’s vocals, that were supposedly overdubbed in the studio, as well as the guitar parts. Some even went as far as to say that the album was completely recorded in the studio, and made to sound like a live recording by clever engineering, jokingly referring to it as ‘Unleashed in the Studio’. It was later admitted by both Halford and Tipton that the vocals were done over in the studio, as Halford was suffering from the flu at the time of recording and the original vocals mix was ruined. Whether there is truth to these claims or not, Unleashed in the East stands today as Priest’s most famous live recording, and is still hailed as one of those brilliant 70’s live albums by many.

Unleashed in the East’s Judas Priest was:
- Robert John Arthur Halford ~ Vocals
- Kenneth Downing Jr. ~ Lead Guitar
- Glenn Raymond Tipton ~ Lead Guitar
- Ian Frank Hill ~ Bass Guitar
- James Leslie Binks ~ Drums

Unleashed in the East: The Good & The Bad

The Good:
- The song choices: The 70’s were Priest’s prime decade, and spawned a majority of their best material. The list here is most impressive, with the classics from Sad Wings of Destiny, Sinner and Diamonds and Rust from Sin after Sin, Exciter from Stained Class, and the choice cuts from Killing Machine. A minor issue is the two classics Dissident Aggressor and Beyond the Realms of Death that are missing.

- The intensity: As is popular in live performances, all songs are played in a faster tempo and than their studio originals. This often adds loads of intensity to the performance. Exciter, Running Wild and Sinner, among others, profit heavily from this and are improvements on their studio versions. Green Malanishi is not sped up that much, but sounds ear-pleasingly heavier.

- Downing & Tipton: The band is at its peak here, and the guitarists are no exception. The play faster, the play heavy, and they make improvisations and extended solos that only belong in a live recording.

The Bad:
- The ‘Live’ vibe: Unfortunately, it is almost unavoidable to hear to Halford’s vocals were overdubbed in the studio. This does not only make this album unauthentic, but is also an opposing factor in the listening experience. A listener will want to hear real live vocals in a live concert, which are vital to the feel of the album, where these are clearly studio-sounding, which is a shame. The decision was perhaps the lesser of two evils, as the parts in which Halford is talking to the audience (‘Thank you’ at the end of Victim of Changes, for example), do indeed sound as if he was in a bad condition.

- The Sad Wings of Destiny classics: While most part of the album seems to benefit from a sped-up live rendition, the tracks from that album suffer from it instead. There was a unique and perfectly carried out atmosphere on the original tracks, which is ruined for a whole great deal here. Especially the dark theatrics of The Ripper and the middle, near-psychedelic part of Victim of Changes are blasphemously performed.

Unleashed in the East should have been the pinnacle of Priest’s success; a perfect, flawless live recording featuring the best songs of their best decade. What it turned out to be however, is not that what it should have been. Some songs gain from the playing speed, some suffer from it, but the worst flaw is the studio overdubbing, which is not at all good for the ‘live’ atmosphere, be it a necessary decision or not. This really should be THE fantastic Judas Priest live album, and should be rated it as a superb or even classic record, but it doesn’t deserve that. Still, despite its flaws, Unleashed in the East is an overall excellent rendition of a collection of fantastic songs and a very enjoyable listen.

+ Features their best songs of their best decade
+ Live intensity and sped-up performances enhance several songs to a higher level
+ Guitarists are in perfect shape

- Overdubbing of vocals slightly ruins the atmosphere
- While the faster playing may be good for many songs, it also affects some in a bad way

Recommended tracks:
Exciter
Sinner
Running Wild
The Green Malanishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)



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user ratings (197)
Chart.
4.4
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
July 10th 2009


8316 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

While I'm at it, why not do the live albums? I decided to use a different review structure for those. Let the comments roll, I'd say. I'm also surprised that this one hasn't been done yet.

shindip
July 10th 2009


3536 Comments


Nice review. This is a pretty damn good live album

Nagrarok
July 10th 2009


8316 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you. It's just that this doesn't completely click with me as a live album. It's deemed by many to be so great, but the overdubbing and some tracks are really dissapointing.

genericnamelol
July 10th 2009


49 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is awesome. I'm curious what you're going to give British Steel, hopefully you're not one of those people who think it's a metal classic :>.

OllieS
July 10th 2009


2037 Comments


Heard a few songs off of this and they were great. A shame they didn't play the drum solo at the beginning of Exciter. Good review as always, liked the structure.

Douchebag
July 10th 2009


3624 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Victims Of Changes sounds sooooo good here.

Nagrarok
July 11th 2009


8316 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No, it does NOT. I'm probably the only one of doesn't like Victim of Changes here though (or maybe I'm just too critical because it's in my top 5 Priest songs).

I like this one better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plljBq__WOI

Douchebag
July 11th 2009


3624 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'll pay that man, love that DVD! by the way, I have a Gibson V that looks exactly like K.K's in that clip.

Nagrarok
July 11th 2009


8316 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't actually know from what DVD it is, but just came across the video. It was the first live version of Victim I saw.

quaazi
July 11th 2009


200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've never thought of Priest as a live band, all their live performances just have something about them which makes them inferior to their studio counterparts. Thank god Retribution had awesome tracks like Hellrider which cant be done wrong live.

ConorMichaelJoseph
July 11th 2009


1870 Comments


Judas Priest are a band I would give a lot to see. Good review

MozillaFirefox
October 17th 2009


18 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree victim of changes is brilliant on this album.

mark7477
August 18th 2010


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album was good enough to say the live version of diamonds and rust was better than the previous studio version being more metal and exciting.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2010


28819 Comments


you should change your name to mudkip7477

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

TheNotrap
July 29th 2011


8132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Classic Priest live. The compilation of their classic era.

This version of victim of changes is definitely the highlight here (with Green Manalishi) Rob's high tune performance in the end is in my opinion the best vocal moment ever in metal.

Essential record.

Digging: Funebrarum - The Sleep of Morbid Dreams

KILL
July 29th 2011


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

which faggot gave this a 1

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
July 29th 2011


21603 Comments


Excellent live album.

Digging: Foxes in Fiction - Ontario Gothic

TheNotrap
July 29th 2011


8132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Listen to victim of changes. Specially Rob's ending performance.
F************* How could he get so high????????

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
July 29th 2011


21603 Comments


I know it's crazy.

KILL
July 29th 2011


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dude downing helped him achieve those high notes



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