World Cup of Maidenfans final: Black Sabbath versus Judas Priest

What is the second best band in the world?

  • Black Sabbath

    Votes: 12 46.2%
  • Judas Priest

    Votes: 14 53.8%

  • Total voters
    26

Natalie

Insect of Terror
Staff member
Both are iconic in their own ways, both have greatly influenced the genre...this is a tough one. But I haveto with Judas Priest because of (a) Halford beats Ozzy any day of the week and is neck on neck with Dio and (b) I just simply prefer what I've heard from them style-wise (perhaps a little harder than Sab). Let the arguments commence!
 

Crimson Idol

Caveman
Priest for me.

Both have some lower points in their catalogue, and both have some absolutely mind blowing points... but Priest simply have more imo.
Dio was one of the few vocalists of the same calibre (or perhaps better) than Halford, but he is only present for a few albums and with Sabbaths revolving door of members it makes them rather hard to pin down as a single band.

It's the likes of Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules, I, War Pigs etc... vs Painkiller, Sentinel, Electric Eye, Screaming, YGATC ..... I love Sabbaths best material very much but Priest are just... Priest. They're one of the bands that drew me into metal (with an iron fist!)
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
I will vote for Black Sabbath. While I do like many of Priest's songs, I can't say I thoroughly enjoy a single Priest album start to finish.

By comparison, I am a supremely happy person any time that Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, or Mob Rules hits the turntable. I am in a state of almost incomparable bliss when that album is Heaven & Hell. Indeed, I would rank Heaven & Hell as one of my three favourite albums of all time - it tussles regularly with Brave New World for the title, while Nightfall Over Middle-Earth sits back and wishes it could get into the fight.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Black Sabbath
I do enjoy most albums with Tony Martin very much. But I am less over the moon by a few albums with Ozzy (Never Say Die & Technical Ecstasy), Glenn Hughes (Seventh Star), Ian Gillan (Born Again), Dio (Dehumanizer), and one with Martin (Forbidden). If we count the album by the group Heaven and Hell I'd put it in this same category. These 6/7 albums have some great tracks, but looking at the complete pictures, they are simply not that great.

That leaves 12 strong Sabbath albums:
Black Sabbath
Paranoid
Master of Reality
Vol. 4
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Sabotage
Heaven and Hell
Mob Rules
The Eternal Idol
Headless Cross
Tyr
Cross Purposes


Judas Priest
Priest made 7 albums which are not of the same sublime quality as their others:
Point of Entry, Turbo, Ram it Down, Jugulator, Demolition, Angel of Retribution, Nostradamus. Again some of the songs on the albums are amazing, but every album has several less good (even shitty) tracks as well.

This leaves 9 albums I enjoy very much:
Rocka Rolla
Sad Wings of Destiny
Sin After Sin
Stained Class
Killing Machine
British Steel
Screaming For Vengeance
Defenders of the Faith
Painkiller

This was the quantity aspect. There's more:
Defenders of the Faith's A-side is the best side from all albums ever made (including any Maiden album). Painkiller might be the best metal album ever made, yes it could even beat the best Maiden album.
Unleashed in the East totally blows away all live releases by Sabbath. Not even a contest. And Priest...Live! is very good as well.

Halford is the best singer in this contest. Halford is better than Dio and better than Martin (anf of course better than Ozzy). Priest is a band that fits better to my taste. Guitar harmonies, and great guitar solos.

Judas Priest it will be.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Strong contender indeed (but not better than the Priest one, for me)! Off-topic question: Which side is your favourite?
A:
  1. Tom Sawyer
  2. Red Barchetta
  3. YYZ
  4. Limelight
B:
  1. The Camera Eye
  2. Witch Hunt
  3. Vital Signs
 

Taker

Cannon Fodder
Strong contender indeed (but not better than the Priest one, for me)! Off-topic question: Which side is your favourite?
A:
  1. Tom Sawyer
  2. Red Barchetta
  3. YYZ
  4. Limelight
B:

  1. The Camera Eye
  2. Witch Hunt
  3. Vital Signs
Side A gets the nod, but Witch Hunt is one of my favourite Rush tunes...
 

Perun

Περούν Παντοκράτωρ
Staff member
I have to get into this. Black Sabbath, beyond a shade of doubt.

Judas Priest are a great band, and when they hit the mark, it's really bulls eye material. I am talking Beyond the Realms of Death and Touch of Evil here. But just as often as they hit the mark, they miss it. For every Stained Class there is a Point of Entry, for every Painkiller there is a Ram it Down, for every Angel of Retribution, there is a Nostradamus. In short, for every diamond, there is a stinker. Also, I don't think any of their musicians are particularly exceptionable. Rob Halford is a good singer, but he's far from being the best ever. I'm not particularly fond of his shrieks, and while he has his stellar moments, he does bubble under sometimes. The guitarists are both again, good, but I don't really see them anywhere near the things Tony Iommi does. Only Scott Travis is a drummer that really does stick out to me. In short, I like Priest, I like getting my semi-regular dose of theirs, but they are far from being my favourite band.

With Black Sabbath, on the other hand, things are quite different. They did have a few failures in the late seventies, and I guess some of their nineties stuff is also not all that great, but the thing is, when they hit the mark, they completely destroy the target. What is there in the world of music that can compare to songs such as NIB, Children of the Grave, Heaven and Hell, Falling off the Edge of the World or When Death Calls? I've heard my share of heavy metal in my lifetime, and I have never, ever heard anything that comes close to it. Not even Iron Maiden can emulate the mood and spirit of the early Ozzy albums or the divinity of the first two Dio ones. I do prefer Maiden for other reasons when it comes down to it, but it's the closest call imaginable. I know it's cool to hate Ozzy, especially as a Maiden fan, and yes, he is quite far from being a technically brilliant singer. However, at least on the first couple of albums, it's not about that, but about the sinister, demonic mood he is transmitting. He sounds like a possessed devil of some sorts, and that's what the whole thing is supposed to be about. Not one single song by Judas Priest is so hauntingly memorable as the first five Sabbath albums. And that's just talking about Ozzy. Iommi is one of the greatest guitarists ever, perhaps the single most recognisable one in the world of heavy metal. Whether it's his riffs or his solos, you just always know who and what is behind it. And then, you have the Dio era. When Dio and Iommi come together, the chemistry and magic created is just beyond belief. Even on Dehumanizer, arguably one of the weakest post-Ozzy albums, you can feel it. The Tony Martin albums are great as well, even if they go a bit heavy on the aura thing and the qualities that made the early Ozzy and the Dio albums so special are lost a bit - but I still think that the worst Martin album is on the same level as the best Priest album.

I'm sorry, I like Priest, and they are better than quite a lot of bands out there, but against Black Sabbath, they don't have a hint of a chance.
 

mckindog

Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
Great post Perun.
Now for the counter point.

Sabbath with Ozzy was groundbreaking, Sabbath with Dio sublime.
But it's not as if they were constantly reinventing themselves and trying new things. There are times in their career they were largely going through the motions.
Priest was constantly pushing and if they had their share of misses it wasn't for lack of trying.

The only two albums in their catalogue that you could categorize as sounding alike are Defenders and Vengeance and the quality of material on those two albums forgives all sins.
No band has Priest's ability to master every metal style. You want thrash? Exciter, Painkiller, Freewheel Burning. Power chord metal crunch? Metal Gods, Manalishi, Another Thing Coming'. Epics? Alone, Blood Red Skies, Beyond the Realms. Anthems? Heading Out to the Highway, Living After Midnight. Softer stuff? Angel, Diamonds and Rust.
And I haven't touched on the definitive frenetic pure metal they do better than anyone: Electric Eye, Tyrant, Rapid Fire, Nightcrawler, The Sentinel...I could go on and on.

Halford is the metal vocalist - don't believe me? Look at the clones he inspired. The shrieks, the staccato tongue twisters, the Ballads, the anthems, and just the pure singing. He can do it all. Tipton and Downing may not have invented the twin guitar attack, but they defined it. They could play with speed and with feel. Individually and in harmony their solos are among the genres most memorable.

Live Sabbath could not hold a candle to the energy Priest inspired.

And it is fallacy to suggest they lacked highs - their highs were higher than Sabbath's, their best albums better than Sabbath's and overall they have more great songs

Sabbath invented metal. Priest is metal.
That's why they get my vote.
 

mckindog

Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
And with my vote we have a tie.
Next vote wins and ends the tournament.
 
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