Presented by VERTIGO RECORDS
DARIN’S PICK FOR MARCH
When Darin told me he was going to go “classic” this week, I had no idea he was going to pull out this gem. In 1978, Judas Priest was about the embark on their more accessible, mainstream era. When this album was originally released in the UK it was titled KILLING MACHINE, but when it came over to North America, the bosses at the record label thought that the title was too violent. Darin and I had a good chuckle over this, as in no time in history has there been a more prolific nation of killing machine designers than the United States. Instead, we, the protected from ugly words, had this ‘Priest album released as HELL BENT FOR LEATHER. Oh, the irony. What we didn’t know about whole leather chaps thing back then only makes this title more hilarious now. When Darin pulled this re-release of the original UK titled album, I was quite happy.
I am not a super huge fan of this Judas Priest era. What can be said for it though, is that it blazed the way for bands like Motley Crue and that whole shock rock genre. The biker outfits and the lighter rock sounds would go on to become a very popular form of metal for an entire decade after this recording. Again, it really isn’t my thing, and I can honestly say the earlier more violent Judas Priest is where I keep them in my head.
So, we have the original UK title, and this makes this record special for us folks this side of the pond, but it’s the addition of the Peter Green classic “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)” that was not on the original because it hadn’t been recorded yet that actually pisses me off here. The band did this song live for a long time before this record was released, but had not recorded in time for the UK release. The band recorded it in time for it to make the North American pressings. Yes, it is a big hit for Judas Priest (many dumb ass people think it’s actually a Judas Priest song), and maybe the record executives thought that the reissue of this KILLING MACHINE album should have it on it, but when it is the only real difference between the UK and North American releases, besides the name, why would you fuck with that? It’s dumb, and it makes this release shitty, in my opinion. Yeah, some may say that having this song on the album with it’s original title makes it even that more rare, but I say fuck that. First of all, go have a good listen to the Fleetwood Mac/Peter Green original; this version is ass compared to that. Plus, with the exact same album art, the only difference with this release is the name – to me, it feels like a fraud.
In the end, I still love the guitar work that Tipton and Downing did on this record, and Rob Halford’s scream will always be legendary, but in a court of cheese I find Judas Priest guilty of setting the foundation for some of the shittiest metal ever produced. Ya, I know, it was 1978 and everything was changing in music. The years between 1978 and 1982 can go fuck themselves. I will give credit where credit is due, re-releasing this record with the far superior title with a very nice package is awesome, but why did they have to go and fuck it up with changing the track listing. Stupid. – FATS