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Judas Priest - "Priest, Live And Rare"
CBS Records 1996

This review might seem a bit odd and somehow unnecessary, because "Priest, Live And Rare" was officially released only in Japan. I felt it very suitable to include along with the rest of band's discography and to get nice and clear general overview on what Judas Priest as a band really were and are. You can purchase this CD via internet without any problem. Almost entire material here is actually a gathering of the tracks taken from b-sides of band's released singles. There are not only b-sides included here. So let's see what we got here!

Compilation starts on a best possible way. With an excellent live version of cult classic Beyond The Realms of Dead as a b-side to single release Evening Star. Live recording took it's place in Cleveland 1978. This also concerns for b-side tracks, both live versions, from same place White Heat, Red Hot and Starbreaker (the last song is surely a highlight among all material) taken from released single Take On The World. Sound is phenomenal, energy and climax superb, sonics from audience, too. You can feel strong presence of pure conviction and straight determination from the band to really take on the world. Rob's vocals are done with no mistake and with full force. Another interesting snap shot has been taken with single Hot Rockin' live b-sides Breaking The Law with Rob entirely leaving his work in refrain to the helping hand of audience and Living After Midnight, both from European leg of Point Of Entry world tour. How this band was getting tighter and how ferociously heavy began to sound on stage in 1983, has been testified with three live versions from "World Vengeance" world tour. Another version of Breaking The Law, than brilliant detonator You've Got Another Thing Comin' both being released as a b-sides to live single The Green Manalishi (with the two pronged crown), which is the only song among b-sides on this CD which was released as a single. Because it wasn't included on any of band's officially released LPs, Judas Priest finally got opportunity to include it here on this compilation. Last two tracks are b-sides from single Turbo Lover. First one is another excellent live performance of Private Property from St. Luis in 1986 (U.S. leg of "Fuel For Fire" world tour). The other b-side track and actually the last song on this compilation is pop/metal hybrid, a hi-octane mix and extended version of Turbo Lover, where you'll easily find out that it is possible to dance also on the tunes of Judas Priest music. It can't impress me. This is the only weakness among this nice selection of really rare live stuff.

Material represents mainly live vibes from band in four different stages of their evolution. Priest live as usual. With straight raw aggression and incredible on stage explosiveness. It is interesting to compare live sonics from audience in 1978 with those from 1986. At same time as band grew bigger, also live auditorium did. And this compilation is waving very much by climaxes that were caught live on tape, which helps to bring interesting contrast on a CD.

This CD is an absolute must for every single Judas Priest die hard metal head. Especially what will make happy a certain person being JP fan, is appearance of first three songs on this CD, cause live material from seventies is really hard to get on officials. Last two live albums "'98 Live Meltdown" (1998) and "Live In London" (2003) were merely focused on performance of band's eighties material. Beyond The Realms Of Death, Starbreaker and White Heat, Red Hot live performed by Rob Halford, will surely ease the pain for all those who had never fully accepted his absence through band's nineties.

Author:   Aleš

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