JUDAS PRIEST — Killing Machine

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JUDAS PRIEST - Killing Machine cover
3.86 | 93 ratings | 10 reviews
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Album · 1978

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. Delivering The Goods (4:16)
2. Rock Forever (3:20)
3. Evening Star (4:05)
4. Hell Bent For Leather (2:39)
5. Take On The World (3:02)
6. Burnin' Up (4:00)
7. Killing Machine (3:02)
8. Running Wild (2:57)
9. Before The Dawn (3:22)
10. Evil Fantasies (4:14)

Total Time 34:57


- Rob Halford / vocals
- K.K. Downing / guitar
- Glenn Tipton / guitar
- Ian Hill / bass
- Les Binks / drums

About this release

Released by Columbia, October 9th, 1978.

Released in the U.S. under the title Hell Bent for Leather on March 1st, 1979. This version added the following track, with all others shunted along one place.

7. The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown) (Fleetwood Mac cover)

Reissued in 2001 with the following bonus tracks:

12. Fight For Your Life (recorded during the 1982 Screaming For Vengeance sessions) (4:06)
13. Riding On The Wind (live at the US Festival, Devore, 29 May 1983) (3:16)

The 2001 remaster uses the Hell Bent for Leather tracklist that includes The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown) even for Killing Machine branded issues.

Thanks to Pekka, metalbaswee, Raff, Lynx33, adg211288, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Deliverin' the Goods!

I don't think I've heard another metal album that simultaneously stomps, speeds, and swaggers as much as Judas Priest's Killing Machine. It's a perfect balance of funky blues metal that gets the body movin' like a Daft Punk house banger, and rapid biker anthems like the famous Hell Bent for Leather.

Opener Delivering the Goods, Burnin' Up, the title track, and closer Evil Fantasies all have the bluesy stomp and swagger with some serious fun attitude. The aforementioned Hell Bent for Leather and Running Wild are fast and powerful, bringing imagery of racing on the open roads. The album also shows the first of Judas Priest's fist throwing anthems, in Take on the World, the title says it all.

If it's a classic Judas Priest album, there's always fun to be had.
The second of Judas Priest's two full-length's from 1978 is Killing Machine, their fifth album overall and the first to feature exactly the same line-up as the previous album (Stained Class). In the USA Killing Machine was delayed until 1979 and when it was released it was re-titled as Hell Bent for Leather and given an extra track, a cover of The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown) by Fleetwood Mac. Later Killing Machine reissues also include the song though including the 2001 re-master which is the version I have.

While I don't find that Killing Machine is quite up to the level of Stained Class there are still quite a few songs here that I'd put on a hypothetical custom best of Judas Priest album. Those being Delivering the Goods, Rock Forever, Hell Bent for Leather and Running Wild. That last is definitely one of my favourite Judas Priest songs overall. The one song I don't like so much from this one is Take on the World. Sounds to me as if they wanted something for the crowd to sing along to in the live environment rather than getting down to business and doing as the opener says. That's the main reason why Killing Machine is ever so slightly lesser than Stained Class for me. It's still a high quality Judas Priest album though to close off their 70's work, though this is the start of a period of decline in the quality of their records in my opinion.

Attribution: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/judas-priest-killing-machine-t3803.html
I do prefer this to the previous album "Stained Glass" which most won't agree with. Yes this is the start of a more commercial sound but I really dig this record. "Delivering The Goods" is a killer opener. It's like the guitar is grinding away throughout then we get a ripping solo 2 minutes in. Great track ! "Rock Forever" also features those grinding gutar melodies throughout but it's more melancholic. I like it. "Evening Star" opens with some atmosphere as intricate guitar then reserved vocals join in. It picks up when the chorus arrives. Love the mournful guitar solo before 2 1/2 minutes as it all settles back once again. "Hell Bent For Leather" has been a long time favourite of mine. An uptempo rocker if there ever was one. It might be the shortest song on here but it rocks the hardest. "Take On The World" is okay. It has an anthem feel to it and isn't one of my favs that's for sure. "Burnin' Up" is better once it gets going. "The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)" was written by Peter Green. he also wrote "Black magic Woman" that SANTANA made famous. PRIEST kill this one and it's my favourite track on here. Head banging time ! "Killing Machine" seems stripped down but I like it. "Running Wild" sounds great to start with the aggressive guitar as Halford comes in. "Before The Dawn" is ballad-like while "Evil Fantasies" is a bit of a groaner for me. Testosterone levels are over-flowing here. Yes this is a great album overall and it paved the way for "British Steel".
Judas Priest’s fifth studio album was released in late 1978, quickly following up their classic Stained Class album from early in the same year. It saw the legendary British Heavy Metal band alter their sound slightly and alter their image and lyrical content quite a bit.

The album in question was released both under the name Killing Machine and Hell Bent For Leather depending on where you bought it, America or Europe.

For Judas Priest it goes without saying that the standard of musicianship is high and that there are lots of memorable vocal hooks and impressive guitar solos spread through the forty-five minute duration to keep the listener entertained. The styles and sounds on this record in particular are diverse and represent the band transitioning from their slightly complex and progressive 1970s work and their more radio friendly early 80s work, fitting as it would be the bands last release of the seventies. Indeed at times you can pick up a part or two that has an almost Rush or Queen feel only to contrast with moments that are much more akin to the NWOBHM sound.

Some of the material for example is fast and hard, classic heavy metal such as the tracks ‘Hell Bent For Leather’ ‘Running Wild’ and ‘Delivering The Goods.’ Elsewhere ‘Before The Dawn’ is more of a melodic ballad, the other tracks are mid paced rock with fun riffs and then the curve-ball ‘Take On The World’ has that anthemic sing along angle that the band would occasionally try (such as on their later tracks ‘Defenders Of The Faith’ and ’United’) and arguably always fail.

Depending on your own tastes, the diversity of the material can either be seen as an abundance of ideas by a creative band or as a lack of cohesion by a band unsure of what do. Some fans love the record and some see it as inferior to what came before but don’t let the lack of consensus put you off; in any case this is certainly an album worth at least trying.

In my own opinion Killing Machine is a good album and gives a sort of “best of both worlds” between British Steel’s sleek simplistic perfection and the older material’s darker tone and prog influenced classic sound, both of which I love. This is a good album that is well produced, interesting and fairly consistent in quality if not musical style. I’ll concede that perhaps this isn’t the first Judas Priest album that you should buy, but it is definitely welcome in the collection once you like the band.

**** If you get the version with bonus tracks, you are treated to a demo version of the Defenders Of The Faith era track ‘Rock Hard Ride Free’ that is entitled ‘Fight For Your Life.’ Additionally there is a live version of era song ‘Riding On The Wind’ recorded live in 1983. The songs may not slot in perfectly with the album stylistically but are welcome extras nonetheless. ****
Killing Machine might have had a hardcore title (in those territories where it wasn't retitled Hell Bent for Leather), but the album itself saw Judas Priest adjusting their sound to make it more accessible, accommodating, and commercial. In some cases this works just fine; the first four tracks on the album are all catchy as hell, with Les Binks' drumming gelling better with this new style, Halford equally happy to sing raunchy songs about sex and partying as he is to sing depressing songs about death and violence, and Tipton and Downing soloing much as ever.

However, a couple of songs here are just stinkers. Take On the World is a moronic and monotonous football chant, Priest's answer to Queen's We Are the Champions, and Before the Dawn is only saved from being atrociously sappy by an awesome guitar solo. But still, I can't be too harsh on an album which includes fine cuts like The Green Manalishi (on some editions), Killing Machine, or the infectiously groovy Burnin' Up. Killing Machine is a solid Priest album which suffers a little in comparison to the very similar British Steel, which in many was it was a dry run for; it doesn't attain the heights of either its immediate predecessors or successors, but it is still a consistently entertaining piece of early metal.
The fifth album from Judas Priest is heavy metal excellence. The Priest have "delivered the goods" with this release. Highlights are Delivering the Goods, Hell Bent for Leather, and Running Wild. Also included is a cool cover of Fleetwood Mac's Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown). This was their final album of the 70's and it is somewhat amazing to think that back in the day, you could count on your favorite bands to release a new album on an almost annual basis. I say that with the realization, that it would still be a couple of years before I became a fan. This is another essential album for the Judas Priest fan and a worthy 4-star excellent addition to any metal fans collection.
Time Signature
Delivering the goods...

Genre: heavy metal

"Killing Machine", or "Hell Bent for Leather" as many Americans call this album, was Judas Priest's last album of the 1970s, and what a way to turn the key on that decade!

This album is an all out heavy metal attack, starting with the solid metal tracks "Delivering the Goods" and "Rock Forever" both of which lyrically describe this album and its legacy very well. "Evening Star" is a more uplifting, melodic and, perhaps, commercial track, but it is catchy as hell, and with that chorus it has earned a special place in my heart as my favorite Judas Priest track from the 1970s (well, that and "The Ripper" from "Sad Wings of Destiny"). "Hell Bent for Leather" is another headbanging classic, and along with "The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)", "Running Wild", "Killing Machine", "Evil Fantasies" and "Burning Up", it constitutes the solid heavy metal backbone of the album, which makes the overly anthemic "Take On The World" and the ballad "Before the Dawn" seem more forgivable (well, actually, "Before the Dawn" is a quite nice ballad).

This album is a must in any metal collection, as is its successor.
Phonebook Eater
Extremely underrated. This JP album is one of their mid era albums, which I think was their greatest period,full of masterpieces, true hymns to the real metal.Including this one. I really don't understand why it's so underrated here in MMA.It has everything that a typical JP album has: great melodies, killer solos, unbelievable vocal performances by the metal god Rob Halford, my favorite metal singer. The album starts with "Delivering the Goods", very interesting and really different from the bands style, with a pretty good riff. Not the best song though.

"Rock Foverer" is a metal masterpiece, with a killer riff, and Halford's vocals are amazing. Nothing else about this one.

"Evening Star" is a surprisingly beautiful ballad, despite it apparently might sound a little obvious and banal. But I love it.

"Hell Bent For Leather" is easily my favorite song on this album. I'm very affectionate to this piece, it was one of my first JP songs that I listened to. Very underrated.

"Take On The World" is another great song, sounding like a true hymn to freedom and music. Very similar to "United", from British Steel.

"Burning Up" has a great riff, too bad I never really listened in my early days, so I'm not so affectioned to it. Still a great song.

"The Green Manalishi" is another masterpiece, one of the best of the album. The riff has surely gone down to history, thanks to it's sensuality and rock and roll influence. Fantastic.

"Killing Machine" is a very underrated song. Yep, once again another masterpiece. It has an unbelievably catchy rhythm, and an amazing riff. Don't understand why it was never a huge song.

"Running Wild", another great hymn, highly acclaimed by metal fans, including me. Very catchy, with a great riff.

"Before The Dawn" is the second ballad of the album. Not as good as Evening Star, but still very touching and pretty sounding.

"Evil Fantasies" is the weakest song of the album, it actually kind of annoys me, don;t know why.

But to sum up, the album is a fantastic album, for every metal fan.

Members reviews

Released less than a year after the masterful "Stained Class", "Killing Machine" (aka "Hell Bent For Leather") was a clear drop in quality. Unlike the two preceding album openers, "Delivering The Goods" goes for a much groovier approach and even if the question of whether it works or not is debatable, it sets a tone for the rest of the material. Did the band think that it would have been too obvious to start the album off with the upbeat title track or was this a clear way of telling the fans that a change was in the making? Either way, I can't exactly say that I liked how it turned out.

The first four tracks are actually quite enjoyable, even if there aren't as many magnificent moments throughout these 14 minutes as the on previous releases. "Take On The World" is where the material gets a clear drop in quality for me. I see that Judas Priest were going for a real anthem here but the results come off very unfocused for my tastes. The final product really sounds like a stab at Queen and their success with their anthem based "News Of The World" album from the previous year.

I can't listen to "Burnin' Up" without being reminded of all the over the top rockers of the '80s like Europe - "Rock The Night", it's really hard for me to label it anything more than filler. "The Green Manalishi" works better due to some memorable riff, but I would be lying if I would consider this track to be more than filler material on any of the previous releases. The album's second title track is probably one of the weakest title tracks that rank, together with "Defenders Of The Faith", at the bottom of the scale.

Fortunately, Judas Priest come to their senses and deliver a memorable rocker with "Running Wild" followed by the beautiful, but somewhat out of place, balled "Before The Dawn". "Evil Fantasies" closes the album on a clear homage to Led Zeppelin which manages to work quite well after all the ups and downs that we've witnessed so far.

It's pretty clear that I've never been a huge fan of this release, but it's far from a terrible album. See it more as the worst of the best Judas Priest releases!

***** star songs: Hell Bent For Leather (2:41) Before The Dawn (3:23)

**** star songs: Delivering The Goods (4:16) Rock Forever (3:19) Evening Star (4:06) The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown) (3:23) Running Wild (2:58) Evil Fantasies (4:15)

*** star songs: Take On The World (3:00) Burnin' Up (4:07) Killing Machine (3:01)
"There's many who tried to prove that they're faster, But they didn’t last and they died as they tried!"

After a good debut and three excellent albums in Sad Wings Of Destiniy, Sin After Sin and Stained Class, Judas Priest made some really radical changes to their sound and approach with this album that was called Killing Machine in Europe and Hell Bent For Leather in America. The songs are shorter, more straightforward and often ’catchy’. Indeed, I even think that the band made some Top Of The Pops appearances with some of these songs! There were small hints of this development on the previous two albums, particularly in songs like Starbreaker and Invader, but here they really went headlong into this direction here. If it wasn’t for the very distinctive vocals of Rob Halford, you could almost think this is a different band! It was also around this time that Judas Priest began wearing biker outfits; black leather, chains, etc. thus pioneering one typical Metal look. This association with bikers is clear from the cover art and the lyrics to Hell Bent For Leather. Personally, I strongly prefer the old Judas Priest. In my opinion, this was the beginning of the band’s weakest era.

The album begins with two straightforward Rock ‘N’ Roll numbers; even the lyrics are generic and unimaginative here and far away from previous glories. Evening Star is a rather commercial song with a catchy chorus, but I kind of like it! Hell Bent For Leather is, however, one of the best songs of the album though it is shorter than three minutes! Take On The World is a typical Arena-anthem, clearly designed for the stage. The album continues with further gritty Rock ‘N’ Roll songs on rather predictable subjects. Like on the previous two albums, there is a cover song included. This time it is The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown) which, if I’m not mistaken, is a Fleetwood Mac song. It fits this album well, but that’s not really a compliment! One song that stands out is the acoustic ballad Before The Dawn which I think is quite lovely and actually one of the best songs from this album!

This album has some good moments but overall it is very disappointing

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