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More recent reissues sport different cover art. The track "Caviar and Meths" was originally a minute epic penned by Halford's predecessor, Al Atkins, but due to time constraints, only the intro was recorded for the album. A longer version of the song appears on original vocalist Al Atkins's album Victim of Changes; though not the full-length version, it is notably longer at seven minutes.
Many reissues of this album have another wrong splitting of the tracks "Winter", "Deep Freeze" and "Winter Retreat" starting and stopping at different places: 3. Winter 4. Deep Freeze 5. False advertising, but at least it was more the direction we all wanted Judas Priest to go for the purposes of the debut album. I'm sure that the members of the band also would have preferred to go that heavy metal route as heard on Victim of Changesbut were told by the powers that be to play it safe for their first record.
The album was also co-written by their original singer Al Atkins, who left the band to take care of his priority of being a father. He would later release an album two decades after the fact called Victim of Changes that had his own versions of "Winter", "Victim of Changes", "Never Satisfied" and an extended version of "Caviar and Meths" which still wasn't in its minute glory but instead cut down by half that time.
I can't really definitively say whether Atkin's time as a frontman had any impact on the band's overall sound especially considering he left the band ina year before this album's release. Ultimately, heavy metal was still in its infancy, so it's understandable when bands like Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy and Deep Purple released albums that were so characteristically non-metal that we go back to them scratching our heads thinking "this is how they took off?
This is the only album he ever recorded with Judas Priest and his input is lackluster and lazy, Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla was soon replaced by Alan Moore. I noticed he was formerly in a band called Hiroshima, but alas it's not the fantastic American jazz fusion band that put out their self-titled debut. His input is about as minimalist as it comes and we know this right away in album opener Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla for the Road".
The chorus has breaks in it, giving him an opportunity to inspire and move us with some drum fills but instead opts to hit the crash cymbal a single time, for me as a listener this is like the musical of something far more sinister than watered-down soda, this is more like carbonated water. I am in complete Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla total disgust as this has tricked my brain into thinking Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla was going to be some sweet flavor, thus firing off the smallest of amount of Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla possible when finding out Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla not Am I Ready - Elvis Presley - California Holiday you'd expected up until this point.
For that one split fraction of a second you thought something good might actually happen. The album's title track come on and here we get some semblance of the band we have all come to know and love from their more radio friendly releases such as "Living After Midnight" and "Breaking the Law", but it's just kind of off.
There's some odd guitar riffs utilized that are at least a bit unexpected but the song has a feel to it that has more in common with disco than the previously mentioned radio hits. It's too poppy for PDX To Seatac Dub - Necessary Intergalactic Cooperation - NIC In Dub liking but thankfully after the first two tracks, the album doesn't plod along with this cash-grab sellout mentality.
Instead it treads more progressive and psychedelic tendencies without much inspiration to it. Sure, the album is marginally better once the three conceptual songs come Στο Χωριό Μου Θα Γυρίσω - Various - Τα Ωραιότερα Δημοτικά Τραγούδια to form what's essentially a six minute song broken up into three pieces.
By the last third of this wave of tracks, there's a psychedelic guitar interlude called "Winter Retreat". The guitar sounds noticeably heavier and sharper here than anywhere else on the album. It's not very eventful; borderline pretentious, but at least it has the right kind of attitude as opposed to the first two tracks. The band go back and forth for the rest of the album, suffering from an identity crisis as Downing and Tipton stay on the same uninspired, boring blues rock riffs for far too long.
At least I can say that from a retrospective look. I mean, this was quite literally the last Judas Priest album I'd Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla listened to, so I unintentionally do them the injustice of comparing them to their later selves. It's hard not to do, but at the very least I can compare them to all the other proto-metal and hard rock acts of their time, and even then I still don't consider Rocka Rolla to be even a decent album on those grounds.
We get to hear Rob Halford's lower register on this album, and it is jarringly weak. He at least had his higher end shrieks developed this early on, but his voice makes "Dying to Meet You" particularly horrible with mournful and awkward baritone. I'm sure looking back on this dud of a record, Rob in particular probably tries to forget about this one, and would probably prefer fans to forget about it as well. Good news is that Rock Rolla certainly has been forgotten, as it's just not a memorable album to begin with.
As with many early heavy metal acts, Judas Priest began with a blues-based form of heavy metal. While they would still have hints of this sound on the following few albums, this debut remains a pretty unique album in their discography.
Many of the songs from this album were actually co-written by Al Atkins, who was Judas Priest's frontman and vocalist preceding Rob Halford. However, once he had a family to take care of, he left the band in May Al Atkins later made his versions of some early Judas Priest songs on his "Victim of Changes" solo album, which includes a longer version of 'Caviar and Meths' which was originally a minute long song to be released on "Rocka Rolla" Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla sadly shortened down to only the 2-minute long Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla as the final song featured on the album.
It's a shame, because listening to the longer Al Atkins version, it sounds like it would have been a fantastic epic. The whole history of the album and the early years of Priest are actually quite fascinating, so Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla that sounds interesting I would highly recommend reading about it.
Now that I've finished mentioning some of the history, on to the music. The opening two tracks, 'One for the Road' and the title track, are examples of the blues-y hard rock sound, the latter in particular being a nice catchy tune.
After the 'Winter' suite, one of my favorite songs 'Cheater' comes. There's a nice galloping drum beat, blues-y harmonica, and Halford's vocals are killer. There's also the epic 'Run of the Mill', which has some nice dark diminished chords reminiscent of Sabbath. There is also some fantastic soloing shortly following, and in typical epic fashion it certainly has a climatic ending with some great screams from Halford.
My favorite on the album has to be 'Dying to Meet You', which opens up with a killer blues-y bassline before getting dark guitar work. Halford's vocals sound pretty different at the beginning, being much more lower-pitched then what he's known for. His low bluesy tone shown here sounds really nice, but he wouldn't really ever sing like this again. However, the song eventually picks up in speed with Halford's classic higher vocals and more great galloping guitar.
Overall, while not my ultimate favorite Judas Priest album, it's still among my favorites and an amazing album especially for a debut. It's interesting to listen to Back to Beijing - 루카스 - Train Ride Thoughts more blues-y form of the Priest, and I think it's essential listening to hear what this legendary band sounded in the beginning.
Judas Priest with the biggest and possibly the only heavy metal producer at the time Rodger Bain! The boys in Priest thought the producer of the first 3 Black Sabbath albums could make them into one of the next biggest metal bands but they would unfortunately wait another two years for that happen because Rodger Bain had other plans in mind. Leaving later classics from the album such as The Ripper, Genocide, Tyrant and the epic Victim of Changes titled Whiskey Women at this time resulted in a very bluesy album different to the Metal Gods we all know and love today.
The album turns out to be a bluesy mess without a direction although amongst the mess are standout tracks such as the title track and Run To The Mill with Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla Tipton and K. Downing showing off their new found powers with their twin lead guitar although not to the extent of intro of Victim Of Changes for example. A few songs off this album were written suited more to former singer Al Atkins' bluesy like voice which did not show Rob's full abilities with his high pitched screams and growls that we all know today.
The music has more of a bluesy feel compared to the albums that were gonna Blues For J.B. - Melvin Sparks - Akilah! after this. The main problem that Priest fans find with this album is that it simply doesn't sound Deep Purple - Fireball 25th Anniversary Edition classic Priest.
All of their albums were different in a way but all retained a heavy metal feel to it but this one really doesn't. Maybe if Bain decided to add all of the classic songs that were cut off from this album, it would have resulted in a much better album. The future holds quite a lot for Priest though For a band as revolutionary in the heavy metal genre as Judas Priest, it may come as a surprise that their debut album, far from being a groundbreaking explosion, is a rather conservative album.
Not just by the standards of our modern era where anything softer than Gorgoroth or Suffocation could be deemed "not heavy enough", but conservative for it's own time as well. Released inwhen Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple had been pumping out release after release of heavy blues rock sinceJudas Priest were late comers as far as record releases are concerned, and had yet to develop both the Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla musical and visual style that so many metal fans associate with Priest look for a video of Judas Priest performing "Rocka Rolla on British television at the time and you will see exactly what I mean.
There are two elements on this album that distinguish Priest from the other bands around this time, the first being the vocals of Rob Halford. Even early on, his range is fantastic and its clear that his voice has been the most consistent part of Judas Priest's sound minus the time he wasn't in the band.
His voice is better suited to the rockers than to the ballads on this album; his voice still sounds great on the soft parts of "Run of the Mill", but its when the guitars grow loud that he lets his voice loose. The guitar work of K. K Downing and Glen Tipton is the second distinguishing factor, though to a lesser degree.
In the riffs for the title track, "One for the Road" and the heavy sections of the other songs, they show traces of the guitar work they would be most remembered for. For the most part, there isn't much of the "twin guitar solo attack", and their style remains firmly rooted in the hard and progressive rock tendencies of the age. The occasional use of a blues harmonica and Pink Floyd-esque sound on "Winter Retreat" and "Run of the Mill" are reminders of the time the album was released, with the closest indicators of the classic Judas Priest sound lurking in "Cheater, the later half of "Dying to Meet You", and the title track.
Though I'm not much of a production freak, I couldn't help but feel that the sound of the electric Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla was a little too tame for what Judas Priest appeared to be going for on this album-especially when the producer is Roger Bain, who produced the first three Black Sabbath albums. If you are a huge Judas Priest fan but have not yet heard this album, I recommend that you do so to see the roots of one of heavy metal's greatest bands; whether you will actually enjoy the album will depend on whether you like early 70s Victor Manuelle - Te Propongo rock with a few progressive Shotgun Serenade - Various - Music With Attitude - Volume 81. There is nothing Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla "Rocka Rolla" that is abysmal, and I rather enjoy the title track, but compared to what they would soon be releasing, "Rocka Rolla" seems too mundane and doesn't seem that much different from any other band at the time.
Guitarist Glenn Tipton had just joined when recording Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla Rocka Rolla began and did not contribute any songwriting except on the title track and "Run of the Mill". He did come up with the songs "Tyrant", "Epitaph", and "Ripper", but Bain considered them not commercial enough and rejected them. Bain also rejected the concert staple "Whiskey Woman" which later, with contributions from Tipton, morphed into "Victim of Changes".
These songs were eventually all included on their next album, Sad Wings of Destiny. In addition, "Winter", "Deep Freeze" and "Winter Retreat" form a Župsko Kolo - Various - Pesme I Igre Naroda Jugoslavije (Narodne Pesme I Igre Iz Srbije, Bosne, Kosm, but are listed as separate tracks and divided as such on the CD release.
It may be possible that the record company insisted on there being ten tracks on the album and would not allow for one more. Alternatively, this unlisted song may simply be the second half of "Dying Rocka Rolla - Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla Meet You", as this is how the lyrics were printed on their Best of Several of the songs on the album feature contributions from the band's previous frontman Al Atkins and had been regular parts of their live performances in Manchesterwhere the band had achieved a cult following during the previous few years.
The track "Caviar and Meths" was originally a minute effort penned by Atkins, Downing, and Hill but due to time constraints, only the intro was recorded for the album. A longer version of the song appears on Atkins's album Victim of Changes. Though not the full-length version, it is notably longer at seven minutes. That album also contains covers of "Winter" and "Never Satisfied". At this point of the band's career, they had not yet developed their signature look of leather and studs.
This makes the album's style virtually unrecognizable when Runner On Hastings Beach - Doctor Rockit - The Music Of Sound with later Priest albums, although "Rocka Rolla" does feature dual guitars and "Run of the Mill" is the first song that was explicitly designed for Halford's, rather than Atkins', vocal range.
Drummer John Hinch would be dismissed in before the next record was recorded. Tipton would later refer to him as being "musically inadequate" for the band's future plans.
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