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Judas Priest

Posted by purplemary54 on September 4, 2012

So I’ve got a little money for itunes right now (my credit card earns me itunes rewards–spend enough money, they send me a $25 gift card), so I’ve been thinking about getting a few songs I’ve been wanting for a while now.  One of the bands I’ve been doing a minor reassessment of is Judas Priest.  Not being a huge metal fan, I’ve only ever been familiar with a couple of their songs.  I picked out a nice compilation to sample (I love that itunes lets you preview stuff before you buy it, almost as good as a listening station in a record store. . . almost).  It’s been a little eye-opening.

The music is pretty much what I expected.  Judas Priest is a British metal band, so they follow that musical sub-genre pretty closely.  It’s pretty heavy stuff–solid drums and bass rumbling underneath screaming guitars and vocals.  British metal is more workman-like, befitting its working class roots; there is very little showing off, not too many musical pyrotechnics getting in the way of the songs.  Thematically, there’s some “oh, I’m such a lonely young man, I wish I could live in a mystical world and slay dragons” and some “oh, nobody understands me, I’ll never fit in, so fuck you.”  British metal always had more emphasis on emotional and mental challenges than going out and getting wasted (which was American metal’s main theme, along with chicks and cars).  Of course, they always dressed more like an American metal band, what with all the leather and hairspray.  But there’s always been something about Judas Priest that set them apart.

Thing is, Judas Priest’s music doesn’t make a lot of sense without Rob Halford’s coming out. (Before anybody gets all lathered up, I don’t mean the songs aren’t coherent and understandable by anyone, because they are; I just mean the puzzle doesn’t quite fit together right until Halford’s admission).  Listening to some of these songs, I can hear a lot of anxiety about sex and relationships, more than the usual level of wondering if they’re gonna get some tonight.  There’s clearly something going on beneath the surface.  I like the emotional complexity, the ambiguity of it.  There’s something going on here.

Of course, they’re also rock pretty hard, too.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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