Judas Priest
Defenders of the Faith


3.0
good

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
July 26th, 2009 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Another one of Priest's overrated affairs, Defenders of the Faith is far inferior to its predecessor Screaming for Vengeance.

After extensive touring following the release of one of their most successful albums, Screaming for Vengeance, Judas Priest recorded follow-up Defenders of the Faith, which was released in 1984. The album features essentially the same approach as its predecessor, combining elements of both Priest’s mainstream and heavy metal sound. Defenders is the heavier of the two, and more on the heavy metal side of the fence that Screaming. Faster-paced and more energetic than any album before in the most part, Priest’s 8th studio album was even a sign of what was going to come on Ram It Down, and further improved on Painkiller: speed metal. It’s cover art depicts their second metal messiah, The Metallion, which is strikingly similar in design to The Hellion from SFV, a reason, along with the similar stylistic approach, why the two albums are often seen as brothers.

Defenders of the Faith’s Judas Priest was:
- Robert John Arthur Halford ~ Vocals
- Kenneth Downing Jr. ~ Lead Guitar
- Glenn Raymond Tipton ~ Lead Guitar
- Ian Frank Hill ~ Bass Guitar
- David Holland ~ Drums

The heaviness and tempo compared to its predecessor is apparent from the start. Opener Freewheel Burning is an energetic and speedy highlight, with a hyperactive performance from Halford and excellent guitar harmonisations (which are strong throughout the album), with Jawbreaker and others following it in the same direction. The Sentinel varies its tempo nicely though, and also Night Comes Down is a slower, more laidback effort. Rock Hard Ride Free is the only real mainstream song on Defenders, as its title already suggests.

The first half of Defenders is far stronger than the second. Especially the first four songs are all highlights. The aforementioned Freewheel Burning and Jawbreaker start things off nicely, and Rock Hard Ride Free is just as fun despite being a pretty cheesy hard rock song. The only weak link in the first half is Love Bites, which is too generic, as well as cheesy, to stand out. As for cheese, DOTF was lyrically Priest’s cheesiest release up to that point. Luckily, this is not as bothersome as on records that would follow.

Though the second half gets a good start with the fun Eat Me Alive, the music doesn’t really get going as much, unfortunately. Night Comes Down might be a nice change in tempo, it just as much fails too keep attention. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll is, like (Take These) Chains, written by Bob Halligan, and has a glam rock feel like its counterpart. It is the better of the two, but not particularly memorable due to its repetitiveness. Even Heavy Duty and the title track fail to close off the album on a high note, seeming more made to play live than suited for the studio, and do not leave the listener with a fulfilled experience.

Despite being widely praised as one of Priest’s record, Defenders of the Faith misses consistency with a uninteresting second half that becomes its downfall. With more memorable songs like Screaming for Vengeance, it could have been an excellent, or even superb Priest album. Failing to live up to its reputation, Defenders is still a good record, but more Screaming for Vengeance’s inferior brother than anything else.

+ The first half of the album
+ Excellent guitar harmonisations

- The second half makes the album rather inconsistent

Recommended tracks:

Freewheel Burning
The Sentinel
Jawbreaker
Eat Me Alive



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user ratings (661)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
July 26th 2009


8247 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

*Waits for people commenting on the low rating*

*Also, 999th comment!*

Douchebag
July 26th 2009


3624 Comments


haha yeah it's a tad low in my opinion, but screw my opinion it's your review not mine so good job!

Gyromania
July 26th 2009


15712 Comments


Worst album art ever?

shindip
July 26th 2009


3536 Comments


I like the cover to Carniverous Erection.

lostforwords
July 27th 2009


446 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't really agree with what you say. Nevertheless the review is once again good, so I'll pos. My only objection is that you got too carried away in comparing this one to the previous.

As far as the album itself, I really like that it is their most successfully aggressive album to date, and I find most of the album really memorable and at times dark and evil ("love bites"), for Judas Priest anyway.

FadeToBlack
July 27th 2009


10926 Comments


Nice review, I agree that the second half is lacking. Rock Hard Ride Free is one of my favourites though

Nagrarok
July 27th 2009


8247 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Alligator: A 5? You really need to cut down on those classic ratings, mate. You might like it better than I do, but 5 is overdoing it. Just decide what your fav Priest album is and give that a 5, instead of half their discography.

@gyromania1: Yes, the cover art is pretty sucky.They've had so much better.

@lostforwords: I felt it was necessary because of the similar approach. It's still only in the intro and the conclusion though.

@FadeToBlack: Rock Hard Ride Free would have probably been next on the recs list, if you'd like to know.





Douchebag
July 27th 2009


3624 Comments


lol i missed that man! I was probably lovin' the album at the time... although deciding a favourite is impossible!

It's a 4.5 now

FadeToBlack
July 27th 2009


10926 Comments


Are you going to review all of priest's albums Nagrarok?

Nagrarok
July 27th 2009


8247 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Take a look at my review history and I think you'll guess the answer.

FadeToBlack
July 27th 2009


10926 Comments


Cool, at least Painkiller will get a review which isn't a 5

Nagrarok
July 27th 2009


8247 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not sure if everyone will like it though. Still, a statement must be made. Painkiller is the most overrated Priest album on sputnik, by far.

Terrifyer
August 20th 2010


3403 Comments


Heavy Duty and the title track are beyond shit

dannyboy89
February 24th 2013


11960 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I probably like this a tad more than you, Nag, although I somewhat agree with your points. This album does have its filler in the 2nd half.

70sPriestIsBetter
February 24th 2013


1934 Comments


ROCK HARD

dannyboy89
March 18th 2013


11960 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

RIDE FREE!!!

KjSwantko
March 18th 2013


9277 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ALL DAY ALL NIGHT



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