JUDAS PRIEST — Defenders Of The Faith

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JUDAS PRIEST - Defenders Of The Faith cover
4.07 | 115 ratings | 9 reviews
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Album · 1984

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. Freewheel Burning (4:23)
2. Jawbreaker (3:27)
3. Rock Hard Ride Free (5:35)
4. The Sentinel (5:03)
5. Love Bites (4:47)
6. Eat Me Alive (3:35)
7. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll (4:07)
8. Night Comes Down (3:58)
9. Heavy Duty (2:25)
10. Defenders Of The Faith (1:27)

Total Time 38:50


- Rob Halford / vocals
- K.K. Downing / guitar
- Glenn Tipton / guitar
- Ian Hill / bass
- Dave Holland / drums

About this release

Released by Columbia, January 24th, 1984.

Reissued in 2001 with the following bonus tracks:

11. Turn On Your Light (recorded during the 1985 Turbo sessions) (5:23)
12. Heavy Duty / Defenders Of The Faith (live at Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, May 5, 1984) (5:26)

Thanks to Pekka, Lynx33, adg211288, Time Signature for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

I've stated before in my reviews for the previous Judas Priest albums, I think their 80's work is really quite patchy. For me this is a time when the band produced a couple of lesser records (Point of Entry and Turbo) accompanied by generally strong but overall unremarkable albums. Their ninth release Defenders of the Faith from 1984 is no exception, but in my opinion this one is the best of the 80's work.

Most fans seem to prefer the previous Screaming for Vengeance over Defenders of the Faith and I guess I can see why, as it does have a few songs that greatly eclipse anything present on Defenders of the Faith but by virtue of being more consistent I prefer this album. In my opinion Judas Priest were leaning into speed metal territory a bit with this one but it's mostly a heavy metal album with plenty of energy. The tracks Freewheel Burning (most Judas Priest records have hell of an opener) and Eat Me Alive are my personal favourites. To balance though I'm not so fond of the last two tracks Heavy Duty and the title track (though it is little more than an outro piece) but the first eight tracks are in my opinion the most consistent material Judas Priest did in the 80's.

Attribution: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/judas-priest-defenders-of-the-faith-t3828.html
Many PRIEST fans rate this one and the previous album "Screaming For Vengence" fairly evenly. They are in the same style, released two years apart. I prefer this one over "Screaming..." despite it not having that big hit("You've Got Another Thing Coming"). By the way I have this on a two on one compilation with "Sad Wings Of Destiny" that was released in 1999. "Freewheel Burning" is the perfect track to open with as it's uptempo and on fire throughout. "Jawbreaker" doesn't ease up on the gas pedal much as they rip through another great track. They slow it down with "Rock Hard Ride Free" which I really like. It sounds like the mid-eighties when I listen to this. "The Sentinel" might be the best track on here, in fact the first half of this record is incredible. "Love Bites" is catchy with an excellent instrumental section. "Eat Me Alive" is intense. "Some Heads Are Going To Roll" is a favourite of mine, again it just sounds like the mid-eighties when listening to this track. Great song ! "Night Comes Down" is laid back and a refreshing change at this point. The last two songs are my least favs but both are short. So for me this album is a step up from "Screaming For Vengence" and worthy of 4 stars.
My Judas Priest favorite from the 80s. The band had hit a commercial peak with "Screaming For Vengeance" and "Defenders" doesn't deviate much from the previous album. The main difference is the production, which is very thick, complete with overproduced 'gated' snare drums and bombastic production of vocals and guitars. An approach that could be coined as 'make everything sound bigger then everything else'.

The sound makes the album very dated and deprives it from Priest's usual attack and rocking power. But the quality of the songs more then makes up for that, even when things get almost unbearably cheesy, such as on the arena rock anthems "Rock Hard Ride Free" and "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll". Almost too silly to be true, but still Priest make even these songs work. They would be a lot less lucky with that sort of songs on the "Turbo" disaster.

This album couldn't possibly sound more 1984 then it does, but the dated sound is part of its charm. Priest's best from the 80s for me, though it must be said they started to sound like a bunch of old men compared to the more uncompromising 'young and violent' style of the upcoming thrashers of that time.
Defenders of the Faith starts off well, with Freewheel Burning and Jawbreaker providing balls-to-the-wall metal in the same vein as the best picks from Screaming for Vengeance. It's somewhat more radio-friendly than its immediate predecessor, which meant it ended up taking a bit longer for me to warm to it. As on Point of Entry, this largely translates to the performance sometimes lacking intensity; Halford sings about corpse-strewn battlefields without the passionate sincerity usually associated with his vocals, the moronic Love Bites is far too repetitive and lasts way too long, and the second half of the album can drag.
Judas Priest’s ninth studio album was released in 1984. Defenders Of The Faith is an album often celebrated by Priest fans but isn’t as famous as some of their other albums like Painkiller, British Steel or Screaming For Vengeance. The album doesn’t feature as regularly in top 100 album countdowns but don’t let that discourage you; this is a very good record indeed.

After the band’s previous album Screaming For Vengeance had taken the band to new heights of popularity, breaking the US market two years earlier, Priest had a tough job following it up.

Defenders Of The Faith does a good job of trying however. It largely follows the formula of its predecessor, only with a marginally heavier and darker edge. Tracks, such as ‘Eat Me Alive,’ and ‘Freewheel Burning,’ are the type of big and exciting Heavy Metal songs that you want from Judas Priest, and they mix neatly in with slower material like ‘Love Bites,’ or ‘Night Comes Down.’

It could be argued that Defender’s Of The Faith is a sort of perfect center of Judas Priest’s 1980s output. Not flashy or innovative, not a big departure or a new chapter but an absolutely refined and well crafted album of the sort of music you want from the band.

If you like Judas Priest, don’t overlook Defenders Of The Faith. The songs are good, the performances are good and the album has all the wailing vocals and guitar solos that the band stands for. I highly recommend it.
This album just grabs you by the throat with the first notes of Freewill Burning and Eats You Alive to the final multiply repeated chorus of Defenders of the Faith. What an awesome, awesome album. All tracks are highlights on this one. The year was 1984 and my Detroit Tigers went wire to wire to win the World Series, therefore making it a very memorable year for me. On top of that we had this fine Judas Priest album, of which, I wore out the cassette tape from playing it so much. Judas Priest ascended to the Metal Gods throne with their past releases and definitely defended their kingdom with this release. The sands of time have eroded my rating a bit to 4 1/2 stars, but really this is another album that was as good as it got in my traditional metal opinion. I suppose that in order for this album to be successful today it would require the Mikael Akerfeldt growl to get acrossed the message that "Some Heads are Gonna Roll", but thankfully to my ears, back in the day it just required Rob Halford's golden scream.

Time Signature
Defenders of the faith...

Genre: heavy metal

"Defenders of the Faith" follows up on the legendary "Screaming for Vengeance", and it does so in style. The opening track "Freewheel Burning", which is a fast and in-yer-face metal song (one of of the band's best songs, for my money, in part because of the vocals and the twin guitars) makes no fuss about it. The message is simple: the next 38 minutes are going to be an intense experience of heavy metal. "Jawbreaker", although heavier, carries on the torch with its classic metal riffage and insane guitar soloing. "Rock Hard Ride Free" is almost epic sounding track with its twin guitar leads in the beginning, yet infectious and uplifting with its catchy riffing and amazing chorus. I love that song. "Eat Me Alive" and "The Sentinel" are both solid and uptempo heavy metal tracks, while "Love Bites", "Night Comes Down", and "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll" are heavier and slightly darker, but perhaps not all that memorable. "Heavy Duty"/"Defenders of the Faith" constitute this album's metal anthem, but never quite surpass "United" from "British Steel".

"Defenders of the Faith" is a heavy metal classic, and while not all songs on it are superb, it is worth buying for tracks like "Freewheel Burning", "Rock Hard Ride Free" and "Jawbreaker". It's recommended to any fan of hard rock and 80s metal.

Members reviews

This is the album that I think about whenever anyone asks me about my favorite Judas Priest album from the '80s!

To be completely honest, none of the band's '80s albums were completely solid due to at least one or two filler tracks featured on each of those releases. At least the highlights clearly overshadow lesser material on "Defenders Of The Faith"! This was the final great record until "Painkiller" and they really gave it their best with the dual guitar action on "Freewheel Burning", the melodic up-tempo "Jawbreaker" and straightforward rockers like "Rock Hard Ride Free" and "The Sentinel". All these tracks are big favorites of mine.

The album slowly begins to drop in quality from "Love Bites" and on, but at least it won't lose complete momentum until it's two track conclusion with the completely ridiculous "Heavy Duty" and the equally unnecessary title track. I really enjoy the fact that the tracks follow this stagnating order since it allows me to push that eject button right before the filler comes on without feeling sad for missing any more highlights!

I suppose that overall quality-wise "Screaming For Vengeance" is slightly superior but that album doesn't feature as many highlights as "Defenders Of The Faith".

***** star songs: Freewheel Burning (4:23) Jawbreaker (3:27) Rock Hard Ride Free (5:35) The Sentinel (5:03)

**** star songs: Love Bites (4:47) Eat Me Alive (3:35) Some Heads Are Gonna Roll (4:07) Night Comes Down (3:58)

*** star songs: Defenders Of The Faith (1:27)

** star songs: Heavy Duty (2:25)
Heavy duty

Screaming For Vengeance constituted an improvement over the previous three albums, but that does not say very much since those albums were quite weak. With Defenders Of The Faith they once again improved things resulting in their best album since the 70’s. The album opens with the very good Freewheel Burning that features excellent guitar work from Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing and impassioned vocals from Rob Halford. Those trademark guitar duels have not sounded as inspired as this since the Stained Class album in 1978 (think Exciter). Jawbreaker follows with more of that amazing guitar pyrotechnics and another strong melody and characteristic Halford screams. The band feel inspired again and showcases an energy and passion that had been mostly absent on previous 80’s albums. My only criticism here is directed against the sterile drum sound.

Rock Hard Ride Free is more of an Arena rocker, but once again with strong guitar work. Next up is the excellent The Sentinel which for me is the album’s highlight. The guitarists are on fire here and the almost spoken word passage in the middle reminds me of the brilliant Sinner from the Sin After Sin album. The tracks in the middle of the album are a bit weaker but still very good and very much classic Priest. The Night Comes Down stands out as being a kind of semi-ballad that brings variety to the album. However, the album would have benefitted even more from the all-out ballad Turn On Your Light which is a bonus track on the re-mastered version of this album. So make sure you get that version (though I suppose some Metal fans wouldn’t like it as much as I do).

To sum up, Defenders Of The Faith is my favourite 80’s Judas Priest album and definitely recommended!

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