Judas Priest Keep The Faith
As unlikely as it sounds, Defenders Of The Faith wasn’t always regarded as a knockout.
Musical history isn’t always how we remember it. In January 1984, Judas Priest unveiled their ninth album, Defenders Of The Faith; long since acknowledged as a genre classic, but – amazing to consider – at the time, adjudged a relative failure. No, really.
Two years earlier, its predecessor, Screaming For Vengeance, had transformed the Brummie quintet into superstars, especially across the Atlantic where US audiences couldn’t get enough of their marauding, twin guitar-embellished anthems, voiced by the banshee-like Metal God, Rob Halford, and a macho leather, studs, whips and chains image that, just like their music, would be copied and copied until, we can only presume, the end of time itself. And then imitated some more...
But where do you go once you’ve crafted one the finest heavy metal albums of all time? Although 15 years of hard graft had finally elevated Priest to platinum-selling status, behind the scenes, a chunk of its proceeds had been ploughed back into underwriting an elaborate, arena-friendly stage show. Musicians are only human after all and, despite the band’s bravado, a shred of self-doubt was festering.
As Defenders... was unveiled, Rob Halford joked, “We’re confident that we’ve got another big album on our hands... it’ll probably sell about three copies now, ha ha!”