Judas Priest

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
Well, that's complex. Doubtful the band will say anything much regarding it, their break with him was pretty forceful for obvious reasons.
Dave Holland exited the band in 1989. Did the band know anything about his interests outside music back then?

He certainly served time for some hideous and abhorrent crimes, but the damnatio memoriae applied to him by Judas Priest has been pretty shocking (it is as if the albums from 1980 to 1988 did not have a drummer, judging by the pictures on the expanded re-released versions of some of them).
 

LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
He certainly served time for some hideous and abhorrent crimes, but the damnatio memoriae applied to him by Judas Priest has been pretty shocking (it is as if the albums from 1980 to 1988 did not have a drummer, judging by the pictures on the expanded re-released versions of some of them).
We don't know, but they've been pretty much keeping him out of the band loop since the break. Indicates this might have been more of a known situation, but even so...I don't blame them. Nobody wants to be putting out promo material, have someone point at a member and go, "And this is the convicted pederast."
 

Perun

Dominus et deus
Staff member
Well, that's complex. Doubtful the band will say anything much regarding it, their break with him was pretty forceful for obvious reasons.
I don't know very much about this, but I remember reading an interview with Halford in 2003 or 2004 in which he said that he was completely shocked when he heard of the allegations, he did not want to make a statement about whether he thought they were true or false, but also that neither he nor the rest of the band had any sort of contact with Holland since the split.
 

LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
but also that neither he nor the rest of the band had any sort of contact with Holland since the split.
Right, the obvious reason wasn't due to his later crime. It was due to their rather furious breakdown in personal relationships, which did not seem to be later mended.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Glad all that did not block a statement like they did. Nice to see how they give credit.

Yep, Priest had the biggest success of its career with Dave Holland in the band. Not purely to his credit of course, but he was part of it. And the man was some sort of human metronome. What a tight, good sounding drummer. Never did Scott Travis perform one eighties (or seventies) song better than his predecessor. In the early nineties I backordered hard rock/metal magazines from 1983 and 1984 and I vividly remember how Dave Holland was praised in the live reviews.

 

Octillus

Invader
Judas Priest has a great run through Defenders of the Faith and then of course Painkiller - I unfortunately could not get into any of the later albums (except a couple of tracks on Angel of Retribution) though I tried. That said, there's such a wealth of strong material.

Your mileage with Turbo may vary. Turbo Lover's a great song.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Rocka Rolla (1974)



Yes, that's the cover from the reissue because that's the version that's on Spotify and thus the version to which I listened. Overall, I liked this more than I expected to despite its lack of coherence and average songwriting.

One for the Road - 7/10
A groovy, slinky opener with some average vocals and some pretty bad lyrics. It's readily apparent that this is a 70s record through and through. None of the Priest trademarks of what I know to be "the Judas Priest sound" are here except for the obvious two guitars. It's a fun song, but sounds more like something that should be in the middle of a record instead of the opener. I can groove to it, at least.

Rocka Rolla - 5/10
This one is not my favorite. Halford's doing that slurry, talk-singing thing and overall this sounds more like it should be played in front of a disco ball than a stack of Marshalls. The music is alright, but too cheery and plinky for me. Wait, what's that, a harmonica?! Okay. The chorus is quite silly.

Winter/Deep Freeze/Winter Retreat - 7/10
Apparently this was not originally released as a single long track, but I actually think it (mostly) works better this way. It's big and groovey and doomy and I can definitely hear Rodger Bain's Sabbath-influenced production shining through here. The first half of "Winter Retreat" is a throwaway and quite annoying, but hey, overindulgence was the name of the game in the 70s. The second half sounds like Pink Floyd to me and I'm no interested.

Cheater - 5/10
I don't care about the reissue here, this song is clearly not meant to be part of this "suite". Tonally different, subject matter is different...Also, including it with the previous three tracks would really hurt the score of the superior suite. The main riff just sounds like "My Sharona" and I can't help but sing that in my head over and over (yes, I know it came out 5 years after this). This is not a song I'll listen to again. Actually, if I go back to this album I'll probably just skip ahead after "Deep Freeze."

Never Satisfied - 9/10
I'll admit I was already familiar with this song due to an Armored Saint cover (which I still prefer). However, this is easily the best song on this collection and certainly hints at Priest's direction. A really good, classic 70s hard rock banger, this one.

Run of the Mill - 8/10
This is another one of those songs that sounds more like Priest's inspirations (I can assume Floyd and Zeppelin) than it sounds like Priest. It's a really long drudge. I don't inherently dislike this (except for the clunky lyrics), but it's too spacious and too boring to be a classic. We do get the first real taste of Halford's range in this song, though, which adds an extra point.

Dying to Meet You - 3/10
Cool music here, but I really hate Halford's baritone vocals. The problem isn't is tone, which is quite impressive, but the melody is bunk. Those extended ending notes are as grating than a poor Blaze recording. Easily my least favorite track here.

Hero, Hero - 5/10
Another hidden/squashed track?! What the hell was happening with this album pressing? This sounds more like what I was expecting from Halford on this record, but it's simply not a great song. Not terrible, but the tone of the guitars aren't big enough to hold up to Rob's wailing.

Caviar and Meths - 4/10
A pointless instrumental to close the album. Why didn't they put "Run of the Mill" at the end? Silliness. It's a nice little piece of subdued music, but completely unmemorable.

Album rating - 5.8

Technically there is a cover of Joan Baez's "Diamonds and Rust" at the end of this reissue but it's definitely not from the same sessions. The band sounds way more natural and the production is glossier. It would get a 7 or 8/10 from me because it's nice and tight, even if it's a strange choice of a cover.

 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Too negative for me to truly enjoy this writing but at least I appreciate it that you give the material a listen.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
From what I've heard from most Priest fans their first album is definitely a low point in the history of the band. Hell, they haven't even played those songs in almost 40 years so the band themselves can't hold it in high regard. I've also stressed many times in other threads that I do not have a natural affinity for Judas Priest. Considering all of that, I think my reaction is rather positive.
 

Mosh

And I should contemplate this change
Staff member
Yea I don’t get how that’s too negative at all. In fact you were probably nicer to it than I would be as a big Priest fan.

Edit: Btw not sure if you’re aware but Never Satisfied was played on the Epitaph tour in 2011. Probably the only dull moment in both shows I saw.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Priest did not play that material for a long time due to some copyright problem, I believe. Or was that only about releasing the material.

Found this:

As the band broke their contract with Gull Records, who originally released these albums, the band members lost all rights to these records and associated demos; the group receives no royalties for any existing release of these two albums despite their integral place in the band’s early discography (though they do apparently retain rights to the songs themselves, as songs from the latter album do appear on compilations).
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Alright then: Not newly written, but still I'd like to post it here to show how I look at Rocka Rolla.

I find the title track enjoyable, because its chorus has a great hook. At the same time, I find it striking to hear the huge difference with the rest of the album. I'm sure that the rest of the album must have been the direction the band really wanted to take. If people bought that record after only hearing the title track, they must have come in for a surprise because it's not really representative for what Priest stood for.

Even though I like this song, I am glad that most of the rest does not come close in style. Because it has much more layers in it. Deeper, more mesmerizing music and lyrics.

The band was not satisfied by the production (nor by the cover which they found inappropriate). The album sounded good (louder!) when they played it in the studio, but after it was cut on record it sounded bad. I am not having such a problem with this aspect, although I can imagine the band's disappointment.

I can still hear all instruments clearly. Perhaps it does not sound as powerful, but so what? There's other stuff to enjoy if you're open for it (and like it of course). As Flash noted in round 1 of the 2013 Judas Priest Album Survivor, the bass guitar is coming out great and it surely was used when writing songs as well.

One for the Road has this endless riff, and although it sets the tone well, it is one of the lesser tracks.

I love the Winter trilogy since the first time I heard it. Great to listen to these a capella drums (and then those guitars: daaa daaa dadaaaa.. etc.) on Winter, the first of the suite. John Hinch didn't do the fast work his successors showed (not that these songs asked for it!) but the guy could keep a groove! Then it's time for Deep Freeze, 81 seconds of noise? Nah, I like this madness. It isn't that long either. Downing makes some really cool sounds, at times sounding like a motor of a race car. Excellent end as well. Winter Retreat is its opposite with very calm guitars suiting this phase of the season.

Once I called Cheater the weakest song, but Halford still saves it by his dynamic vocal lines.

Never Satisfied. Check that solo break and try to count the beat. Very unusual. I like the last part the best, with its doomy chord progression.

Run of the Mill has one of the best build-ups towards a climax that they ever did. Brooding is the perfect word for the instrumental part, I guess. That solo by KK tells a whole story. Starting calm and subtle, it has a long build-up, perfectly intertwining with the swelling atmosphere. That hypnotizing bass line underneath locks well into the drums, providing a magnificent grooving rhythm. Nice haunting organ by Glenn. Some of Halford's finest, emotional singing. So passionate. When I heard this coming from my vinyl* for the first time, I was spellbound. Altogether a top 10 Priest track for me.

Dying to Meet You. This song included a segment, that later was called Hero, Hero. This title was not listed on the album, and I never saw it as an apart track; Rather think it as the second half of Dying to Meet You with an oddly long break before it starts. Again a doomy, dark song with Halford showing his capability on the lower registers.

The album ends with Caviar and Meths. This one was originally way longer, some of the earliest material the band had written. Cut short to two minutes. What remains is still a joy to the ear.

Even if Rocka Rolla did not turn out as a heavy album, it possesses atmosphere, neat little riffs, intriguing lyrics and challenging singing. There's a certain darkness and originality in Priest's seventies that I really appreciate.



*I have the double LP Hero, Hero and have played it quite often in the past.
Besides its awesome cover, you can find on it a nice mix of songs from the first two Priest albums. I really ought to recommend this set.

Perhaps I have learned to appreciate the debut album so much because I knew Hero, Hero first, before I had heard these 2 separate albums. And the mix with the "Sad Wings.." songs might have helped, who knows.



wiki information:
Hero, Hero is a compilation album by Judas Priest, released in between British Steel (1980) and Point of Entry (1981) by Gull Records. It consists of all ten tracks from the Rocka Rolla album, six tracks from the Sad Wings of Destiny album, and an alternate version of "Diamonds And Rust". The tracks from Rocka Rolla and "Diamonds And Rust" were remixed by Rodger Bain in 1981. The tracks from Sad Wings of Destiny were not remixed.

Hero, Hero was released under the Gull Records - the band's former record label - in an effort to "capitalize on Judas Priest's popularity." Judas Priest's management firmly states that people should not buy these compilations, because even though it would seem like a new album on the surface, it's just a re-issue of material already recorded.

The CD releases of the album have produced a few alternate versions. Some European CDs sequenced the tracks differently so that the tracks from sides 3 and 4 of the LP come before the tracks from sides 1 and 2. The US CDs released by Transluxe and Koch Records used the mixes from the original Rocka Rolla album rather than the remixed tracks from the original Hero, Hero LP.

Track listing:
Side 1
1."Prelude" (Glenn Tipton) - 2:02
Originally released on Sad Wings of Destiny, in 1976
2."Tyrant" (Rob Halford, Tipton) - 4:28
Originally released on Sad Wings of Destiny, in 1976
3."Rocka Rolla" (Halford, K.K. Downing, Tipton) - 3:05
Originally released on Rocka Rolla, in 1974
4."One for the Road" (Halford, Downing) - 4:40
Originally released on Rocka Rolla, in 1974

Side 2
1."Victim of Changes" (Al Atkins, Halford, Downing, Tipton) - 7:47
Originally released on Sad Wings of Destiny, in 1976
2."Dying to Meet You" (Halford, Downing) - 6:16
Originally released on Rocka Rolla, in 1974
3."Never Satisfied" (Atkins, Downing) - 4:50
Originally released on Rocka Rolla, in 1974

Side 3
1."Dreamer Deceiver" (Atkins, Halford, Downing, Tipton) - 5:51
Originally released on Sad Wings of Destiny, in 1976
2."Deceiver" (Halford, Downing, Tipton)- 2:40
Originally released on Sad Wings of Destiny, in 1976
3."Winter" (Atkins, Downing, Ian Hill) - 1:31
Originally released on Rocka Rolla, in 1974
4."Deep Freeze" (Downing) - 1:20
Originally released on Rocka Rolla, in 1974
5."Winter Retreat" (Halford, Downing) - 3:27
Originally released on Rocka Rolla, in 1974
6."Cheater" (Halford, Downing) - 2:57
Originally released on Rocka Rolla, in 1974

Side 4
1."Diamonds & Rust" (Joan Baez) - 3:26
Originally released on Sin After Sin, in 1977
2."Run of the Mill" (Halford, Downing, Tipton) - 8:33
Originally released on Rocka Rolla, in 1974
3."Genocide" (Halford, Downing, Tipton) - 5:51
Originally released on Sad Wings of Destiny, in 1976
4."Caviar and Meths" (Atkins, Downing, Hill) - 2:00
Originally released on Rocka Rolla, in 1974
 
Last edited:
Top