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Judas Priest - Screaming for Vengeance Special 30th Anniversary Edition (Sony/Legacy)

By: David E. Gehlke

[8.5/10] British Steel was Priest’s monumental metal moment; Screaming for Vengeance was the band’s commercial breakthrough, a differentiator most ardent Priest backers have long understood. Once past the radio staple “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,” there’s a handful of steely, anthemic British metal numbers that have held up better than expected, which gives this Special 30th Anniversary Edition some extended value. Plus, the bonus live footage from 1983’s US Festival is unbeatable. Where’s a time machine when you need one?

A two-disc set with the entire Screaming running order, five live cuts from a 1982 show in San Antonio, and b-side “Prisoner of Your Eyes” on the first, and the entire US festival in DVD form on the second, this is a heart-warming time capsule of when Priest were at their arguable peak. The album itself has long been waxed about, so there’s no real need to elaborate upon classics such as “The Hellion/Electric Eye,” and the aforementioned “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.” However, the title track roars like a banshee thanks to Halford, while the twin guitars of Tipton and Downing hook up for some glorious duals to the death on the underrated “Bloodstone” and “Devil’s Child.”

The real money is on the live US Festival, which took place on May 29, 1983 (when yours truly turned a year-old, coincidentally) in California. Performing in front of a reported 300,000 fans, Priest doled out a veritable best-of set with “Metal Gods,” “Breaking the Law,” “Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)”and more, whipping the sun-baked crowd into a frenzy. The visuals are next to impossible to top, with Halford stalking the stage with a leather whip in hand, Tipton in his trademark red leather pants, Downing’s sporting his red flying-V, and bassist Ian Hill, stage left, headbanging, barely moving from his spot. In essence, this is the look that forever defined metal.

Rounded out by extensive liner notes courtesy of metal radio DJ Eddie Trunk, Screaming for Vengeance Special 30th Anniversary Edition is top-notch, covering all the bases and then some. While most reissues of this ilk are scattershot affairs, this is not. The only thing missing is an “I got whipped by Rob Halford” pin.

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