Release Date: May 11, 2004
Reviewed by Jeff Brinn
With Rob Halford back on vocals Judas Priest seem to be building up quit a stir in the metal world. Not only do they have the co/headlining slot on this years metal extravaganza the Ozzfest, Judas Priest as well have released a huge box set sure to break necks across the land. 65 blistering tracks on 4 CD’s are compiled covering 3 decades of pure metal supremacy proving Priest are the true fathers of heavy metal.
Metalogy was thankfully assembled with the full participation of the band members themselves making this a much more interesting box set the past efforts from so many less worthy artists. Disk #1 is an extreme education on the metal power riff with such heavy weight classics as Deceiver, Dissident Aggressor, Exciter, The Green Manalishi, and Stained Glass. Proving how ahead of themselves Priest actually were in the mid-seventies, these early tracks seem so essential in building the stepping stones of what heavy metal has become all these years later. At times it seems almost hard to believe that some of these songs were recorded over 25 years ago with no concern of becoming the next big trend setting band that plagues modern music so much today.
Capturing Judas Priest in their early prime, CD 2 easily stands out as the pinnacle of their ground- breaking careers. Rob Hanford’s voice is so viciously precise in this era of Priest that such timeless classics as Delivering The Goods, Evil Fantasies, Living After Midnight, Metal Gods and Heading Out To The Highway prove beyond a doubt that he’s one of the finest vocalists around. With The Hellion/Electric Eye, and Screaming For Vengeance wrapping up the 2nd CD it becomes hard to believe that so much quality music came from Judas Priest well before the invasion of the disgustingly saturated hair metal of the eighties.
CD #3 moves further into the mid-late eighties with more blistering tracks from the album Screaming For Vengeance including Riding On The Wind, You’ve Got Another Thing Coming, and Devil’s Child. If your neck hasn’t already been put thru enough brutal head banging Metalogy continues with a slew of cuts from releases such as Defenders Of The Faith and Turbo Lover. This in my opinion was when Judas Priest began falling prey to following the trends of the times by introducing keyboards, sparkly leather stage clothes and welcoming a much cleaner production. With such songs as Turbo Lover and Love Bites, all was not lost, fans just had to except a more slick image and by the sales of these to efforts Priest was still a strong arm in the metal world. Ending CD #3 is sadly one of the only few added extras, an unreleased demo softly titled Heart Of The Lion.
Ending Metalogy on CD #4 are the most recent released tracks from Priests huge catalog of fist pumping metal. Ram It Down starts things off moving Priest into a much more modern metal sound keeping up with all the young metal merchants. Picking up the tempo to mesh with the sign of the times we find Judas Priest bashing out a more thrash-influenced edge with such cuts as Pain Killer, Metal Meltdown, and Machine Man. These last tracks are noticeably quite different not only with the loss of Rob Halford on vocals but also with the whole Priest vibe in general. Ripper Owens does quite well on vocals but Judas Priest seemed to be a bit lost in the shuffle by their last few releases becoming more watered down sounding less like themselves.
Metalogy is an awesome box set to say the least. With over 60 songs spanning the careers of one of rocks easily most influential artists what more could a Priest fan want? With an added DVD of the long out of print Screaming For Vengeance classic Memphis concert as well as a full color book containing many unseen photos this is a masterpiece that should be added to any true metal fan. Packaged in a leather wrapped spiked box Judas Priest has easily out done themselves with Metalogy, lets hope this years Ozzfest appearance is as jaw-dropping.