Top 10 Best Judas Priest Albums

The Top Ten
1 Screaming for Vengeance

When I first heard this album at the age of 14, I was blown away. The songs were so fast and hard. I had never heard anything like it up until that point. Screaming for Vengeance, followed by You've Got Another Thing Coming, really got me into metal. Although this album is ranked number 2, for me, it is their best album. It set the tone for all their other albums to follow.

It's hard to believe they put this out the year after Point of Entry (which is underrated, by the way). To me, this album cemented their legacy, though they've continued to put out great music. From start to finish, this is the best Priest album, in my opinion.

2 Painkiller

Yeah, right, this must be the top album. I always thought Judas Priest sucked as I only ever heard songs from British Steel and the like, which could as well be done by softies like KISS! I actually came to this page to see if there is any album nearly as good as Painkiller, and I would ignore any top ten list making British Steel #1. Came to the right place, it seems.

I had heard a couple of Priest albums despite my young age (6 years), but when I heard this, I was completely blown away by the hard and fast-paced sound, not to mention the darker themes. The production sounds as good today as it did back then.

A must-have for any metal fan.

3 Sad Wings of Destiny

This was a pivotal moment in the history of heavy metal. After the initial rush of bands that emerged in 1970 out of Great Britain, this was the next most crucial development in the genre, spearheaded by one band.

Judas Priest established themselves in a unique position, setting a bar impossibly high with complex songwriting, intricate musicianship, and a vocalist that sounded unlike any other up until that point in time. The album opener, "Victim of Changes," would effectively set up the band's career and remains arguably the best song they ever wrote.

Without this album, the NWOBHM would not have been possible, and subsequently, the thrash, speed, power, and later, death metal genres. This is a monumental piece of work and the beginning of the band's golden age in the 1970s, an era that has yet to be equaled in quality.

4 Defenders of the Faith

By far the best Priest album. Too many bandwagon Priest fans believe that Painkiller is their best album. It is a very good album, don't get me wrong. Every song on Defenders is a classic with absolutely no filler from beginning to end. Painkiller's filler includes: Shot at Glory, Leather Rebel, and Living Bad Dreams. The first number of songs on Painkiller are amazing, to say the least, but by the end of the album, it all goes downhill.

Though many fans (and most metalheads) would disagree, this is their best album in my opinion. There is not a single song on here which I consider to be filler! (Some of my favorites on the album include The Sentinel, Freewheel Burning, Love Bites, Eat Me Alive, and especially Jawbreaker, which is actually my favorite Judas Priest song).

5 British Steel

This album, kind of like Maiden's Number of the Beast, gets called overrated just because it's their most popular. But there are too many great songs on this album to not appreciate it. There are the obvious ones like Metal Gods, Breaking the Law, and Living After Midnight, but also look out for the unappreciated gems. The Rage, for instance... I've never heard anything like it before, and it's one of the most emotional vocal performances Halford ever gave, but no one ever talks about it.

This album defines Judas Priest's best work. Plus, Breaking the Law and Living After Midnight are two of the most famous songs Priest has, and Metal Gods is terrific as well. Why the heck is this album #5?! It makes no sense. It has to be their number 1.

6 Stained Class

Perfect album: varied, idiosyncratic, dense...

Priest is my easiest "top 3" ever: Sad Wings, Stained Class, and Painkiller stand head-and-shoulders above any other Priest album, which I find full of fillers and commercially-focused hits. Although I respect their whole 70s phase.

And I've listened to their whole discography without any preconceptions: previously, I just knew like 2 80s hits (that I didn't like).

I just bought this album at a used record store and I must say I really enjoy listening to it. I grew up listening to Priest in the 80s, and for me, Screaming For Vengeance was it, period. However, after giving this album a full listen, I think it is fantastic. You can really tell they were defining their signature twin guitar sound with Halford's bombastic voice. An overlooked album that deserves to be ranked higher than it is.

7 Killing Machine / Hell Bent for Leather

I just got this album recently and was very impressed. The first song is a basic blues chord progression, but the speed and the volume are turned way up for maximum effect. Just full of energy, and then on the softer side, there is a song called "Before the Dawn". Slow and somewhat sad, the emotion pours from Rob, and the guitar solo is brilliant - slow but very metallic. I am really kind of new to JP and am looking for more albums from them that rock hard like this one does.

I have this one. Actually, it is called Killing Machine (the one I have on vinyl), and I really like this record. It has very nice songs like: Before the Dawn, Running Wild, Hell Bent for Leather, Burnin' Up. Good songs and very good vocals! It was my first record of Judas Priest, and it is still awesome! I can listen to it all day. Judas Priest is still rocking, of course!

8 Sin After Sin

Solid record. Simon Phillips' drumming makes a huge difference. Sin After Sin and Sad Wings were amazing albums. You'll either like the stuff before Hell Bent or after. If you like Black Sabbath, UFO, Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Rainbow, then you will like the earlier stuff. If you like Metallica, Ratt, and Motley Crue, you will like the later.

Why is this album 10th?! It's simply the best Priest album.
Song ratings:
Sinner: 10/10 best of the album.
Diamonds and Rust: 10/10 awesome cover song.
Starbreaker: 10/10 catchy chorus.
Last Rose of Summer: 9/10 nice slow one.
Let Us Prey/Call for the Priest: 9/10 weakest song on the album but good.
Raw Deal: 9.5/10 great song.
Here Come the Tears: 10/10 love this song.
Dissident Aggressor: 10/10 amazing track to finish the album off.

9 Firepower

OK, now it's out. These guys haven't let up a bit. Halford wails and screams, and it's spectacular. Too bad about Tipton not touring, but all the guitar work, bass, and drums are exactly what you would expect from Priest - first class, and then some. However, here is the thing that will make this album stand out: the songwriting is off the charts.

Can this band, that has been around for over 40 years, continue to lay down their best work in the very twilight of their careers? Give this masterpiece a listen, and you will agree with me, the answer is a resounding Hell yes! Try, I dare you, to find a song that isn't far above average anywhere on this album. I can name a few that stand out (Children of the Son, Never the Heroes, Traitor's Gate), but honestly, there is not a bad cut on this album, nothing even resembling it.

10 Redeemer of Souls

This album establishes Halford as the true metal god. The best work of his illustrious career. Simply awesome. Imagine if you will, three 60-something metal stars and a fairly new drummer and a brand new guitarist getting together and making their greatest work ever. Got it in your mind yet? Good, listen to this album and you'll hear it. Unbelievable!

Should be second only to Painkiller. This album has some great heavy tracks such as "Halls of Valhalla", "Battle Cry", "March of the Damned", and "Redeemer of Souls". Actually, all of the tracks are awesome, but these are the best. "Beginning of the End" is a really epic song too. It just fits perfectly in this album.

The Contenders
11 Ram It Down

Has always been badly underrated because it's sandwiched between the most hated (Turbo) and most loved (Painkiller) albums of Priest's discography.

Drum machine? No problem. Most energetic album along with Painkiller. True heavy metal sound and expression.

Non-stop metal. This album is never a bore, and it is a vast improvement over the Turbo era.

12 Turbo

Great glam metal from the Priest. Showing how dynamic this band can be. As with Painkiller four years later.

The glam days of Priest. People hate it because of the overload of cheese, but that's why I love it.

A very underrated album by Priest, it has great tracks like Turbo Lover, Locked In, and Parental Guidance.

13 Nostradamus

How is Nostradamus 13th?! God, listen to the songs and then vote, please. The songs are consistently good in this album, unlike Stained Glass or Hell Bent for Leather, which have only a few great songs. British Steel is the most overrated album. Breaking the Law isn't great, and neither is Living After Midnight. In Nostradamus, the eponymous song, Prophecy, Exiled, Alone, Visions, Conquest... The list is endless.

Also, vote for Angel of Retribution - a heavy metal masterpiece. The eponymous song, Judas Rising, Revolution. They characterize not just Judas Priest but the heavy metal genre which this band is a pioneer of.

14 Angel of Retribution

The best of their recent albums, in my opinion, it has great tracks like Judas Rising, Revolution, and Angel. It also marked the return of Rob Halford, who left the band shortly after Painkiller. It should be in the top ten of this list for sure.

Wow, currently #14 on the list, I guess a lot of people don't know this one because it's newer. Give it a few listens. You'll be glad you did.

This is one of the Priest's best albums, so underrated! It should be one of the top 3 on the list, in my opinion.

15 Rocka Rolla

Very nice chill hard-ish/prog rock. A bit slow sometimes, especially around Winter, but some very incisive tunes (the openers and Dying to Meet You) without needing violence, and the slow masterpiece Run of the Mill.

No love for Rocka Rolla? Classic '70s Priest with more interesting and creative songs than in the '80s (not saying those were bad).

Their most underrated album. Listen to Rocka Rolla, Never Satisfied, Run Of The Mill, and One For The Road.

16 Point of Entry

Some people think Stained Class is Priest's most underrated album. However, I think Point of Entry earns that merit. Sure, some of the songs don't have that Priest feel to them, but nonetheless, they are still good. Songs like Turning Circles, Solar Angels, Troubleshooter, and On The Run are very underrated gems. 8/10

While nowhere near my favorite Priest album, there are too many great ones to name, I simply could not stand to see this ranked below Jugulator.

It's not nearly as bad as this rating hints... everything's relative, people.

A fantastic album, it's simply against very stiff competition.

17 Invincible Shield
18 Demolition

This album has some killer tracks, but I'm not sure if they beat killer tracks from other albums. Regardless, this is probably Judas Priest's most solid album, only rivaled by Sad Wings of Destiny and Stained Class (to which Demolition beats both, courtesy of production). Owens is great, the guitars sound excellent, and the drums are varied and support the music well.

The album was great. The reason it is not on top of the list is that Ripper is the singer, not Halford.

I can't help thinking that Rob Halford and Layne Staley are singing duets on this album.

19 Jugulator

A very underrated album, often given a poor rating because it's the first album missing Rob Halford, and the style of the band's music was much heavier due in part to the long gap between this album and Painkiller. Tim Ripper Owens features on this album and delivers strong vocals. He's since gone on to front great bands such as Iced Earth, Beyond Fear, and Dio Disciples. Songs like Burn in Hell, Blood Stained, and the title track are all great examples.

Several aspects make the sound of this album - thrash, groove, speed, death, traditional, etc. Judas Priest blends it perfectly and creates their heaviest album, a metal monster they unleashed on the world when it was thought heavy metal was a dying genre. Well, albums like this proved the world wrong.

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