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JUDAS PRIEST Single Cuts Sony/BMG (2011)

Judas Priest

What else is there to say about the mighty Priest? The band define twin guitar duelling, they define true heavy metal, for they were the first band to discard rock's blues, prog and psych influences. Quite simply, Judas Priest ARE Heavy Metal.

After a number of compilations over the years, this is the first to encompass every CBS/Columbia single, with all the b-sides intact. And it is very welcome for the fan and collector and is far from a fleece, because it is aimed at the collector and offers so much. On top of 51 tracks, there's the replica single sleeves and a massive booklet too.

While the first two Judas Priest albums featured some great music (and singles too) - the band appear to disown them on account of the label's (Gull) subsequent treatment of them. And this box does exactly what it says on the tin - UK CBS/Columbia singles 1977 - 1992.

Opening with 'Diamonds And Rust' (the Joan Baez cover that works surprisingly well) we get taken through 'Better By You', 'Evening Star' and then on to the likes of 'Take On All The World' and 'Living After Midnight'. And all the B-sides. Do we need two different versions of 'Starbreaker' Live? Well, on a best of, no. But here, yes. The band could to 3 minute catchy metal, cover version or ballad and there is a Midas touch to pretty much every single Priest ever released. And is 'Breaking The Law' one of the best heavy metal singles ever released? There's a very strong case, even by Priest's own standards.

'Don't Go' and 'Hot Rockin'' are superb and oft overlooked tracks, and into the 80s the strength continues. And with 'You've Got Another Thing Coming' they proved they could still cut a brilliant catchy track in a pure metal albeit more commercial vein.

Whether the commercial 'Turbo' or the more extreme 'Painkiller' (a clinical extreme track that puts most thrash bands to shame) the band were superb, consistent, blistering, amazing. Guitarists Tipton and Downing shine throughout, bassist Hill is solid and singer Rob Halford at a metal singer's peak. Only drummers came and went, but the music is thankfully superb.

Right - gripe time. I know these are minor but as a fan and collector of nearly 30 years and general completist and discog nut, it's my job to pick up on these things.

First off, there is a remix of Turbo missing, and second there is the debate on the inclusion of the 3 track live single given free with early pressings of Unleashed In The East.

That said, it's 51 tracks of fantastic music and well packaged too. Superb.


Review by Joe Geesin

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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