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Judas Priest are one of metal's true survivors - still going strong after forming Birmingham in 1969. They took their name from the Bob Dylan song The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest and soon started to develop their hard rocking sound influenced by Hendrix and The Who.
They were one of the first bands to modernise the twin guitar sound with the help of K.K Dowling and Glen Tipton and had one of the most distinctive sounding (and looking) frontmen in the form of Rob Halford. In the hallowed halls of metal, they are seen as one of the genre's leading lights.
I first got into Priest when I bought British Steel a few years back. To the uninitiated metal can be hard to assimilate - especially if you are only into pop music and is often denigrated for sounding like 'a row'. However, metal is one of the few genres of music that is still going strong today when others have since died out and faded away. (see 'The Metal' by Tenacious D)
Priest have made several forays into the commercial arena and tried to make their metal sound a little more palatable for the general public. This was their first attempt to make a more commercial record and break into the American market.
Heading Out to the Highway is a great opener and a great driving rock song. I'm quite surprised it isn't as well known outside of the metal world as say Breaking the Law is as its a much more commercial sounding song. In fact, the whole album is very much like the title track - accessible and commercial sounding.
I'm sure this angered a lot of die-hard Priest fans back in 1981, but now in hindsight the album sounds really fresh and relevant without being too dirgy, which is certainly evident on quite a number of other albums from this era. Priest seemed to be moving into the mainstream with this album while still trying to connect with their original fans.
I've read that Halford is a massive Queen fan and you can hear a lot of their influence on this album. A Queen song like the filthy 'Get Down Make Love' from New of the World is what reminded me of most of this album.
Songs like 'Don't Go' and 'Hot Rockin' are excellent examples of the style of blues rock that I really enjoy. They are no-nonsense blues rock songs that work really well at live shows, ones that you know the entire crowd are likely to know and sing along to.
I think my favourite song is the relatively mellow 'Turning Circles'. I love the distinctive riff and rhythmic pattern that carries on throughout the entire song. Its not a ballad by any means, but it is slower than the rest of the album - classic Priest.
I suppose the album doesn't have the real raw edge that the band's previous album 'British Steel' had. There isn't a 'Rapid Fire' or 'Grinder' on the album, but its a much more international arena rock sound than the dusty British rock sound of that previous album.
I really enjoyed listening to Point of Entry, especially blasting it out around the Isle of Wight's relatively peaceful country roads - God knows what the old bids that heard it must have thought - probably that the end of the world was coming!
Point of Entry is available now from amazon.co.uk for the excellent price of £4.99.
1. "Heading Out to the Highway" 3:47
2. "Don't Go" 3:18
3. "Hot Rockin'" 3:17
4. "Turning Circles" 3:42
5. "Desert Plains" 4:36
6. "Solar Angels" 4:04
7. "You Say Yes" 3:29
8. "All the Way" 3:42
9. "Troubleshooter" 4:00
10. "On the Run" 3:47
A disappointment after the popular 'British Steel,' 'Point of Entry' jumps across the ocean to imitate a distinctly American version of the heavy metal that Judas Priest helped to create in the first place. With recurring themes of highways, deserts, firearms and other distinctly non-British things, this mostly weak album would be the perfect example of a band compromising its sound to attract a mainstream audience and alienating their existing fan base, if only the later abomination 'Turbo' didn't achieve this so much better.
The main difference between this album and its predecessor is that 'Point of Entry' is a more mellow and relaxed affair on the whole. Even the slightly faster or heavier songs collapse into lighter choruses, and while this change of direction isn't necessarily a bad thing, it does make the later tracks in particular seem lacking in character. 'Heading Out to the Highway' is an enjoyable enough opener, but one that can't avoid comparison to the superior likes of 'Breaking the Law' and 'Hell Bent for Leather,' and it's only really the central section of the album with the atmospheric 'Desert Plains' and grand 'Solar Angels' that the album really impresses. Needless to say, these songs would find their way onto later compilations, meaning the need to buy this album is minimal.
1. Heading Out to the Highway
2. Don't Go
3. Hot Rockin'
4. Turning Circles
5. Desert Plains
6. Solar Angels
7. You Say Yes
8. All the Way
10. On the Run
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Heading Out To The Highway
2 Don't Go
3 Hot Rockin'
4 Turning Circles
5 Desert Plains
6 Solar Angels
7 You Say Yes
8 All The Way
10 On The Run
11 Thunder Road
12 Desert Plains