It’s hard to believe that Judas Priest wasn’t a commercial metal force to be reckoned with until 1982, but it wasn’t until 34 years ago yesterday that Judas Priest released their eighth album, Screaming For Vengeance. Sure, many Priest fans, especially in the U.K., had been following them from the beginning, and 1980’s British Steel was their breakthrough for the majority of metal fans. However, it was this album that really broke them in North America, thanks to its lead single, “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin.'”
Ironically, “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” almost didn’t make the album. Judas Priest were happy with Screaming For Vengeance, and according to former guitarist K.K. Downing, was written and recorded during the mixing sessions for the album. Perhaps because MTV was really just starting to take off in America, the nascent channel’s steady rotation of the video for the song, directed by Julien Temple (Earth Girls Are Easy, Absolute Beginners) helped bring them to a lot of people that might not have been all that familiar with the band. The record made it all the way to #17 on Billboard’s top 200.
Even without the album’s biggest hit, which holds up well, Screaming For Vengeance is a solid and cohesive album. It’s opening one-two combo of “The Hellion” and “Electric Eye” might be one of the best album-openers in metal history, And as driving as the rest of the album is, “(Take These) Chains” is a melodic, catchy song that was eventually released to follow up it’s first single. It was also right as the core five-member lineup of Priest was hitting their stride, with Downing, Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton Dave Holland and Ian Hill in their third year as a lineup that would last for another seven. The album quickly went gold, reaching that status only three months after it’s release, and it was certified platinum, selling one million copies in April of 1983. While many look at British Steel as the band’s finest moment, and others embrace the heaviness of 1990’s Painkiller, this album might be their finest 38:42.