JUDAS PRIEST ALBUM RANKING GAME: #10 REVEALED

Mosh

PM me your Nightwish album rankings!
Staff member
Hey all! As I mentioned in the Bruce Dickinson thread, we're going to rank the Judas Priest albums next!

Here's how it works:

1: Each user will submit their rankings of the 18 Judas Priest studio albums to me via PM. The #1 album will receive 18 points, and #2 will receive 17, all the way down to #18 which will receive 1 point.

INVINCIBLE SHIELD WILL NOT BE IN THIS GAME!! It's too new and I don't want people to feel like they can't participate if they haven't heard it yet/haven't formed a solid opinion.

2: I will tally up the results and create a forum-wide ranking.

3: I will reveal the results one album at a time, starting at #18. This will be a more discussion based affair, since there will be no voting at this point.

So if you would like to participate, PM me your Judas Priest ranking from #1 (best) to #18 (worst). Any lists that ignore this format or don't include every Judas Priest studio album will be ignored! Any comments to this post with rankings will also be ignored, they must be sent via PM and no revisions! You have until the end of the Bruce Dickinson ranking game. Probably in the next week or 2. I will do a "last call" when it's about to wrap up.

The Judas Priest discography for your reference:
Rocka Rolla
Sad Wings of Destiny
Sin After Sin
Stained Class
Killing Machine/Hell Bent For Leather
British Steel
Point of Entry
Screaming for Vengeance
Defenders of the Faith
Turbo
Ram It Down
Painkiller
Jugulator
Demolition
Angel of Retribution
Nostradamus
Redeemer of Souls
Firepower
 
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Alright folks, the numbers have been put through the Grinder, the Metal Messiah has been identified, and it is once again time to Defend the Faith as we are in for a real Metal Meltdown. If you don't understand Priestish, it simply means that I am ready to reveal the Maidenfans ranking.

Before we get into the lowest placing album, some statistic trivia:

1: Unlike the Maiden game, where nearly every album had at least one champion and one major detractor, a big chunk of Priest's discography sat in the middle for most users, so there were many albums that did not receive a #1 ranking or a #18 ranking. However, there was one album that was ranked #1 on somebody's list AND #18 on somebody's list. Can you name that album?

2: No ties in this game either. But there were two close calls: two sets of albums were separated by a single point. Can you name those sets of albums and where they landed?

If you can guess any of the above correctly, you will get a say in which band we do next (subject to my own discretion)! Post your guesses in the comments, don't look at others' answers - if multiple people guess correctly I'll figure it out on my end. No more guessing after this round, so get them in now!

Speaking of our next game. we will be following up this Judas Priest game with NIGHTWISH. We've got 18 Priest albums to go through so it will be awhile, so I will followup later with an official thread but feel free to send in your Nightwish rankings using the previous rules.

OK, without further ado, here is our first entry!

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18: Rocka Rolla

Highest Ranking: 6 (@MrKnickerbocker @Diesel 11 )
Lowest Ranking: 1 (@Yax @DJMayes @Siddharth @LooseCannon )

Coming in dead last is Priest's debut album. Ironically, one of the members who ranked it the highest (Diesel) is also singlehandedly responsible for it being in last place (more on that later). I am actually pretty surprised at the result honestly. Rocka Rolla isn't a great album, but for a 70s hard rock/progressive rock debut album it's not terrible. At the very least it is listenable, which is more than I can say for Demolition. You could maybe make the case for Jugulator, but even then I'll take the bluesy riffs of Rocka Rolla over the artificial sounding guitars, industrial influences, and whiny vocals from Ripper any day. Also it's a clean 42 minutes vs albums like Demolition and Nostradamus that are well over an hour. :yawn:

In general we're going to see a trend where 70s Priest just didn't perform very well in general. Albums that are considered juggernauts in other spaces didn't even crack the top 5, and very few members ranked any 70s albums #1. I think the Ripper albums benefited here by being more modern sounding and at least having the heaviness that came from albums such as Painkiller (and today Firepower/Invincible Shield). Rocka Rolla is a lesser version of a Priest era that just isn't very popular here.

Aside from the fact that they haven't really cemented themselves as a Metal band, I can think of three elements of Rocka Rolla that drag the album down. One is that Glenn Tipton had just recently joined the band so the two guitar attack as well as Tipton's songwriting contributions aren't yet established. The second is the lack of a heavier drummer. The third is that the album lacks that knock out track. The album of course was produced by Rodger Bain who was best known for producing Sabbath. To draw comparisons to another debut effort, I think Rocka Rolla actually shares quite a bit in common with the self titled Sabbath debut's more filler-y less remembered material. On Black Sabbath, the band hasn't completely shed its bluesier side. There are long jam tracks, a loose rhythmic feel, and overall the Satanism and heaviness is mostly limited to a few songs. To me, Rocka Rolla is like if you had the debut Black Sabbath without the song Black Sabbath, NIB or The Wizard. At that point it's kinda just another bluesy rock album with some prog tendencies but without any memorable standout moment, which is basically how I would describe Rocka Rolla. Famously, a lot of the material that ended up on the followup, Sad Wings of Destiny, was rejected from Rocka Rolla as it was deemed not commercial enough. Of course Sad Wings was not that much better of a seller, but it at least set the band's direction and is remembered much more fondly. Rocka Rolla doesn't really seem that much more commercial sounding to me, nothing off the album did anything, and nobody really remembers it. I dig the title track though.

It's certainly a black sheep album. Say what you will about Judas Priest but their catalog is musically all over the place. Even in their worst moments, it's usually at least memorable. Rocka Rolla seems to be oft forgotten, which is a tough position to be in with a discography of 19 albums.
 
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I think Rocka Rolla is a pretty decent debut album. The title track and Run of the Mill are major standouts. I personally placed it right above the two Ripper albums.
 
Ironically, one of the members who ranked it the highest (Diesel) is also singlehandedly responsible for it being in last place (more on that later).
Goddamn!

I’m surprised this was the lowest-ranked album but then again it makes sense. It just kinda exists. Other people will fight for the Ripper albums, Nostradamus, the ‘80s pitfalls, but few will really care to argue that Rocka Rolla is a high point in their discography. It’s a bluesy album that only gives a brief showcase of the potential that would only start to be harnessed on Sad Wings of Destiny.

1: Unlike the Maiden game, where nearly every album had at least one champion and one major detractor, a big chunk of Priest's discography sat in the middle for most users, so there were many albums that did not receive a #1 ranking or a #18 ranking. However, there was one album that was ranked #1 on somebody's list AND #18 on somebody's list. Can you name that album?
Nostradamus?

2: No ties in this game either. But there were two close calls: two sets of albums were separated by a single point. Can you name those sets of albums and where they landed?
At first I was thinking about the Ripper albums, but I’m actually going to guess Point of Entry and Ram It Down at #15 and #16, respectively.
 
1: Unlike the Maiden game, where nearly every album had at least one champion and one major detractor, a big chunk of Priest's discography sat in the middle for most users, so there were many albums that did not receive a #1 ranking or a #18 ranking. However, there was one album that was ranked #1 on somebody's list AND #18 on somebody's list. Can you name that album?

Point Of Entry

2: No ties in this game either. But there were two close calls: two sets of albums were separated by a single point. Can you name those sets of albums and where they landed?

Painkiller and Defenders Of The Faith at No. 1 and 2, respectively.
 
Rocka Rolla is one of the weakest Priest albums for me. The only songs I like from the debut are - the title track (nice rock tune) and Never Satisfied, which hinted at their future style. Not the fan favorite Run Of The Mill. I guess the style is too early 70's for me. The 2nd album is quite an improvement. Playing and production too (for that time). No big highlights here. Their true sound began with the next album. Some bands debut albums are not their best or make an impression.

The instrumental could have been interesting, but not for 2 minutes.

Also it's a clean 42 minutes vs albums like Demolition and Nostradamus that are well over an hour.
Comparison between Rocka Rolla and Nostradamus???
 
I am surprised that Rocka Rolla is at the very bottom.

After relistening again today, sure, it's not a great album and my ranking has even dropped on this most recent listen compared to what I sent Mosh (it's been 5 years since I've done a proper discography run). That said, there is nothing off-putting about this album: it just exists. It shuffles and grooves it's way through a mildly rocking 30-something minutes and then it goes away...

...with two notable exceptions: Never Satisfied (which is a straight up banger and the only great song on this record) and the emergence of the Halford Shriek at the end of Run of The Mill.

Otherwise, the thing that I'm sure puts this album at the bottom for many folks around here is the simple fact that its not Judas Priest yet. They don't have their sound. Other than those two songs I mentioned, there is virtually nothing here that will carry over into their defining records or their later output. You can still track a lot of Iron Maiden's sound to their debut album, even though they've come many miles since in their sonic explorations. Although I wouldn't quite say that Maiden came out of the gates "fully formed" in their musical style (that would happen on Piece of Mind), I will say that they debuted with their sound pretty well developed. Priest does not have that at all on this record.

I think that they still have later albums that are much worse overall, but most of those have higher highs than Rocka Rolla (and far lower lows). Mostly, this album doesn't leave much of an impression.

When rating the songs this morning, Rocka Rolla dropped from a 5.6/10 to a 5.1/10.
 
While I really dislike Rocka Rolla, it's little more than butt rock to my ears, a band that hasn't yet really found its voice, I am also surprised it is actually last, and this is probably because Diesel's ears are broken when it comes to Ripper-era Priest.
 
While I really dislike Rocka Rolla, it's little more than butt rock to my ears, a band that hasn't yet really found its voice, I am also surprised it is actually last, and this is probably because Diesel's ears are broken when it comes to Ripper-era Priest.
I ranked Jugulator dead last! May have had a hand in bumping up Demolition though…
 
This is absolute slander. The MaidenFans Moderation Team is attacking my credentials as a person with the right opinions, all the time, except when I don't and revise my opinions later on. Such a heavy burden I carry upon my shoulders. -_-
 
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17: Demolition
18: Rocka Rolla

Highest Ranking: 13 (@Diesel 11 )
Lowest Ranking: 1 (@The Dissident @KidInTheDark666 @Night Prowler @Eddieson @Mosh)

It should be no surprise to see Demolition land toward the bottom. As you can see by the rating spread, Diesel's insane high placement of this album helped keep it out of last place. Throwing out Diesel's scores results in Demolition coming in last place, but to be fair it's actually still surprisingly close. Where The Ripper era has an advantage that Rocka Rolla lacks is in the fact that the period has its share of defenders. Unlike the Blaze Maiden albums, however, this era hasn't held up as well and you can't really draw any elements of Priest's current sound back to this album. Priest has done their best to erase this part of their history as well.

Of the two Ripper albums, I do find Demolition to be the one without any real redeeming qualities. Priest has always been a band that got a little overly occupied with chasing trends to varying levels of success, but Demolition is trend chasing Priest at its worst. The industrial, nu metal, groove influences all represent the worst aspects of Metal in the 90s. Additionally, this album falls victim to CDitis and is just way too long for an album that doesn't really have much in the way of musical variety. We'll get to Jugulator later, but I think Demolition really lacks a cohesive album flow and some of the songs are just plain unpleasant to listen to. For my money, it is the weakest Judas Priest album by a longshot and one of the biggest missteps in rock history.

The Ripper era as a whole suffered from two major problems. One is Ripper himself. I find his voice to be really grating to listen to. I didn't like him in Priest and I didn't like him in Iced Earth. His middle range is very whiny and while his high shrieks are a decent Halford impression, they lack a lot of the same power. When he harmonizes with himself, it just sounds like nails on a chalkboard to my ears with that slow vibrato. I don't know how you could listen to something like Metal Meltdown and any Ripper Priest track back to back and consider Ripper a worthy imitation. He sounded enough like Halford to pull off the songs on a technical level, but he is tiring to listen to. The whole tuff guy shtick is also just ridiculous in a band like Priest.

Which brings me to the second major problem I have with The Ripper era: the band took themselves way too seriously during this period. Painkiller was a great comeback record and a great way to keep up with modern Metal sounds, but Jugulator/Demolition (especially Demolition) took a lot of the wrong lessons. When you listen to songs like Metal Meltdown or Hell Patrol, the lyrics are absolutely ridiculous fantasy fare. Halford is always creating these comic book Metal characters and delivers their stories with this level of hilarious conviction that makes Judas Priest a lot of fun to listen to. But you always get the impression that they're in on the joke. I don't get that same impression with Ripper Priest. They're trying (I think) to sing about "real world" issues and create this impression of a some angry kids from a grimy part of Los Angeles, not a bunch of aging British Metalheads (plus a guy from Ohio). It's all so fake. You end up laughing at them instead of with them.

At the end of the day, it mostly just comes down to filler. At over 70 minutes and 13 tracks, Demolition is a real slog to listen to. It's monotonous, the lyrics are stupid, and Ripper just can't carry a great Metal band.

P.S.
At first I was thinking about the Ripper albums, but I’m actually going to guess Point of Entry and Ram It Down at #15 and #16, respectively.
Nobody has gotten it right so far, but this is pretty close. I'll leave guessing open another round in case anybody wants to take a stab at it.
 
I like Demolition. It has several good songs, along with one great (Hell is Home), but almost every other Priest record is better. It's a bit like Maiden's Virtual XI in that aspect, close to universally disregarded, but appreaciated by a small faction of the Maiden fans.
 
18: Demolition

Not a bad album seriously. Priest is my one but favourite band and I honestly can enjoy all their records, even the least ones, to a certain extent.
The main reason for putting this last is that I find it the least memorable. I do not wish to sound harsh, I really like some of these songs a lot (e.g. One on One, Hell Is Home, Feed on Me, Subterfuge), but in general the overall speed is rather slow on this record.
 
Great
1. Defenders of the Faith
2. British Steel
3. Painkiller
4. Stained Class
5. Screaming for Vengeance

Very Good
6. Sin After Sin
7. Firepower
8. Sad Wings of Destiny
9. Killing Machine/Hell Bent For Leather
10. Turbo

Good ideas but often disappointedly executed (by their standards)
11. Jugulator ("Bullet Train" is in my top 10 though, and "Cathedral Spires" not far behind)
12. Ram It Down (the lack of a real drummer underlines how this band can have been cheap... and the less said about the integral box set the better :D )
13. Point of Entry
14. Rocka Rolla
14tie. Nostradamus (for the sake of the game, let's say it is #15, because they were professional by then so fewer excuses, for the amateurism of the cover for instance)

A hiatus would have been better than these instances of uninspired brand-milking releases
16. Angel of Retribution
17. Redeemer of Souls
18. Demolition (though I admit I haven't listened to it in a while)

@Mosh "CDitis" = great invention! :)
 
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