Judas Priest. The very name is synonymous with metal. Regardless of whether or not audiences are familiar with the work of Judas Priest, they know the band’s name and its reputation among rock’s elite acts. The band has been making music together for almost half a century as of this year. To be more specific, the band has been making music for roughly forty-six years. Though its first full length album wasn’t actually released until 1974. Since that time, Judas Priest has churned out a surprising seventeen full-length studio albums. Those albums have sold millions of copies the world over including its most recent release Redeemer of Souls (2014). Considering that, it speaks volumes of the band’s longevity and its popularity. Now as the band comes another year closer to its fiftieth anniversary–this year marks the band’s forty-sixth year–it celebrates yet another important anniversary that just recently passed with the 30th Anniversary Edition of its 1984 album Defenders of the Faith. 2015 actually marks thirty-one years since Judas Priest originally released Defenders of the Faith. So why Columbia and Legacy would wait until this year to release the album’s 30th Anniversary Edition is anyone’s guess. It would have made more sense to have released it last year. That aside, Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is still a must have for metal purists and Priest fans alike. The central reason that it is a must have for audiences is the very fact that it presents Defenders of the Faith in its entirety exactly as it was presented way back in 1984. All ten tracks are here and they sound just as they did in the album’s original release. The addition of a two-disc, twenty-one song performance from the band’s 1984 tour in support of DOTF makes this re-issue all the more valuable for metal purists and Priest fans alike. And while it may seem like a minimal element to some, the album’s packaging is just as important to the presentation as the original album and its newly included concert. By itself, the re-issue’s packaging plays its own important part in the album’s enjoyment and success. Together with the album’s extensive bonus live recording and its full presentation of the original album, all three elements together prove why every metal purist and Priest fan should have Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition.
Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Edition is, as already noted, a must have for any metal purist and Judas Priest fan out there that does not already own his or her own copy of the album whether on CD or vinyl. The presentation of the original album in its entirety is just one reason for this. Thirty-one years have now passed since DOTF was first released to the metal masses around the world. Since that time, it has gone on to earn platinum status, selling over a million copies worldwide. Even selling so many copies, there are still those that do not own the album whether on vinyl or on CD. Now those same audiences and a whole new generation can finally enjoy this album including its hugely controversial track ‘Eat Me Alive.’ For those that don’t know, ‘Eat Me Alive’ became a point of contention for Tipper Gore and the then PMRC because of Mrs. Gore’s interpretation of said song. The band’s musical response to that song was pretty interesting in its own right. That’s a story for another time. But the fact that that song is present along with each of the album’s others, and that they still sound so clear to this day makes for plenty of reason for audiences to add this album to their music libraries.
The presentation of DOTF as it was originally presented thirty-one years ago in its new re-issue is within itself plenty of reason for metal purists and Judas Priest fans alike to add this re-issue to their music libraries. This applies to both the generation that might already own the album whether it be on vinyl or CD and to the current generation of metal legions around the world. The addition of the bonus concert recording to the package makes even more reason for metal legions and Priest fans alike to pick up this re-issue. The concert’s set list totals twenty-one tracks and comes in at just under two hours. More specifically, it clocks in at an hour and forty-three minutes. Thanks to the concert’s set list and the band’s stage presence, that near two-hour run time feels to be far longer. And that is meant in the best possible way. Simply put, the concert’s set list and the band’s stage persona leaves audiences not even realizing that so much time has passed. At the same time, it doesn’t leave audiences feeling short-changed in the end, either. Full discretion, there are some points throughout the concert in which the audio mix is a bit dicey. Simply put, at some points, it seems as if the dual attack of Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing overpowers front man Rob Halford’s vocals. It’s not terrible. But it is noticeable. And luckily this doesn’t happen throughout the performance. It only happens at points. So considering this, one can forgive whomever was originally at the audio boards. Even more Richard Kayvan and Tom Allom are to be commended for their efforts in remastering both the concert’s audio and the audio from the original album’s songs. The total of that work on both sides still makes Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition well worth adding to every metal purist and Judas Priest fan’s music collection.
The presentation of DOTF in its full, original entirety in its new 30th Anniversary Edition makes for reason within itself for metal purists and Judas Priest fans alike to add this re-issue to their music libraries. The addition of a never-before-released two-hour concert to the package makes for even more reason for those same audiences to add this re-issue to their music libraries. While both elements together do plenty to make this re-issue enjoyable, they still are not all worth noting that makes it a success. Believe it or not the re-issue’s packaging actually plays a part. So may record labels, when handling multi-disc sets, tend to use the case for a single album and add a plastic insert on which one or even two discs are placed, depending on the number of discs. This does help save space on CD racks. but it is also very problematic. The problem with this form of packaging is that the plastic insert in question can very easily be broken either at the hinge or on the insert itself when it is flipped out and pressure is placed on the insert to either remove or replace the CD(s). Columbia Legacy didn’t take that path with Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. Instead they presented the album’s re-issue in a gatefold package. This places each of the re-issue’s three discs into their own trays. This practice protects not only the discs but the trays, too. This actually preserves the album and its companion concert discs for far longer than the standard plastic insert formula. While it may be slightly more bulky, it is also much smarter. Not only that but it also creates a certain sense of nostalgia especially among those that might have owned the original album on vinyl thirty-one years ago before the advent of CDs. People generally take for granted the packaging of CDs. But hopefully in reading this, audiences will see that packaging sometimes can indeed help make or break an album. And this is an instance in which the packaging has greatly helped the album in its re-issue. It is one more way that Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition proves itself a must have for any metal purist and Judas Priest fan around the world. Together with the bonus full-length concert and the re-mastered original album, all three elements are more than enough reason for every member of the Metal Nation worldwide to add this re-issue to their music libraries regardless of whether or not they already own the original album.
Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition boasts plenty of reasons for audiences to add this re-issue to their libraries. The original album is presented in its entirety. And thanks to the work of those charged with re-mastering it, it sounds as good as ever if not better. The addition of a full-length concert that comes in at nearly two hours makes this re-issue eve better even with the occasional audio imbalances between Rob Halford’s vocals and the guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton. The packaging is just as important to the whole of the re-issue. Despite being slightly bulky, the packaging protects the discs and their trays and even creates a sense of nostalgia among some audiences. The combination of all three elements together makes clear why every metal purist and Judas Priest fan should add this re-issue to their music libraries. It is available now in stores and online. More information on DOTF: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is available online along with all of the latest news from Judas Priest at:
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