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Judas Priest - "Killing Machine, 1978 (re-release)"
CBS Records 2001

"Killing Machine" is a record where Judas Priest abandoned complexity in their songwriting. Everything was set for producing short sharp shocking bombs. There are no songs like Victim Of Changes, Sinner or Beyond The Realms Of Death.

So in one and same year, Judas Priest offered two very different albums. Also band changed producer. New producer was James Guthrie who already produced song Better By You, Better Than Me on Judas Priest previous album. Well, in my humble opinion, the shape of this song served as a working frame for songs that can be merely find on "Killing Machine". You know that frame: two pre-choruses, two choruses, instrumental mid-eight plus another chorus with classic fade out. Easily structured, but on the other hand Judas Priest offered album which captured even more damaging dynamite explosions as "Stained Class" did. "Killing Machine" can be also understand as the closest working frame for highly successful successor British Steel, that finally launched Judas Priest among supergroups of rock. Songs are short, riffs simple structured and rhythm changes are also not so often. So there are not so many points of higher ambient, but we got from start to end full powerful voltage drive.

Very precise riffing basic lines brings into newly remastered sound extra colorful contrast which can be easily detected especially during all bridges (guitar passages) and during guitar solos. Remaster brings another great news also in song Before The Dawn, where synthesizers were revamped and new sound catches even higher atmospheric mood inside this acoustical melancholic song full of eternal love yearning. First bonus track is early version of Rock Hard Ride Free called Fight For Your Life, which carries the same motive in pre-chorus, but differs with chorus theme, some guitar bridges and added solos. Second song is living bomb Ride Like A Wind, which will surely take your roof off when you'll press "play" button.

Judas Priest in a way sacrificed their sophistic touches, but on the other hand they became even more powerful, aggressive, arrogant and devastating. This album contains everything. Highly effective speedy heavy strikers such as terrorizing aggressor Delivering The Goods, damaging Rock Forever, Running Wild and of course air jet missile Hell Bent For Leather ("Hell Bent For Leather" was used as album's title for U.S. issue). We can find also mid tempo songs like both erotic Burnin' Up, Evil Fantasies, while title track talks about our endless slavery and prostitution for the money. Melodic high peak of a record is surely Evening Star, which is lead by commercially flavored riff in refrain. It is hard to compose such song. You have to combine simplicity with power of the expressive riff, but if you succeed to capture high atmosphere, too, than you are absolute winner. K.K. And Glenn were just born for making such kind of riffs. Band also offered a kind of metal hymn Take On The World with nice contrast between drum murdering, guitar riffs and Rob's pivotal singing. Also band didn't forgot to include beautiful short ballad Before The Down, so this album captures very intensive contrasts between compositions.

A special candy is undoubtedly Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown), a song that originally belongs to blues band Fleetwood Mac. This song is by it's nature full of tragic and schizoid as only mind of its author Peter Green, famous performer of "white" blues stream that developed in Great Britain during sixties, at a time when he wrote that song was. In hands of Judas Priest, this devilish song has been even more vampire-zed and truly sounds like pure touch of evil and horror.

Priest added to their overall heavy roaring sound also new image. They equipped themselves with chains and black leathers. Originally this was Rob's idea. Well, this was nothing new. Prior to Rob's idea, for example also Alice Cooper and Kiss were using leather uniforms. But Alice Cooper looked still more like crazy harlequin by a chance and Kiss were still so unearthly, they were more like aliens. Judas Priest on the other hand combined their new fashion with raw guitar aggression of their revolutionary new sound on a such way, that people could easily identify with band and accept it. Leather became almost new image in every single household. Priest were highly attractive. On stage they were looking simple, very human, without pomp and glamour. Also what was very provoking is the fact that they actually offered forbidden fruits, and this psycho effect on masses was highly effective. To commit a sin makes always some kind of attraction. Priest surely made a contract with the devil a long time ago. They offered forbidden fruits and through the eyes of masses remained unpunished. And this was the key, to take the masses under their spell. Renewed Judas Priest were shocking, thrilling, wild and dangerous. Just the way they wanted to be accepted.

All pieces fit perfectly together on this album. This band was never being afraid to show it's courage and sincerity. They were experimenting and improvising all sort of new things and in their history it is very hard to find two albums that would be close in terms of musical style and energetic vibrations, as a reflection of a state (caught mood) of a band's self evolution.

"Killing Machine" radiates grand consciousness of a band that is marching towards the highest peak of their musical art. It crackles all the way from it's captured electricity and charge as a result of tight chemistry and magic that was established between band's members. They really wanted to reach on to the top. While masses were sweating under light reflectors inside Disco clubs and shaking on the tunes of Boney M, Tina Turner and Bee Gees, and punk virus exterminated the giants of prog rock era long ago, everything was set up for heavy metal resurrection. The time for Judas Priest has arrived! They were up to running wild, rock forever and to deliver some real goods! World was approaching to the point when metal explosion would change it forever!

Author:   Aleš

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