Review: Judas Priest “Rocka Rolla” [Gull]

Review: Judas Priest “Rocka Rolla” [Gull]

- in Reviews
Score 80%
More Than What You Would Expect From a Debut
80 %
User Rating : 4.1 (1 votes)

Judas Priest‘s debut not only represents the beginning of their career, but also a reinvention in metal music, a response to the heavy metal style created by Black Sabbath, though it maintains certain components from the latter. While Black Sabbath made the Earth shake with their doomish sound, Judas Priest bet for a more dynamic proposal, which is still however, staying on the Led Zeppelin‘s progressive lands at this point. Furthermore, influences from Zep are highly noticeable throughout the album, as much as it is possible to spot out certain ideas from Deep Purple and others from Wishbone Ash in a minor proportion.

Because of the album’s bluesy sound and the fact that it is not heavy enough when compared to subsequent works, Priest’s debut is not so appreciated, and much less, it is in the favorites of a relevant portion of the band’s fan base. Nonetheless, what the Britons project throughout the album is rather interesting for the standards of the mid-70s: an era in which you were supposed to sound like an acid proggy band. The three-song combo “Winter/Deep Freeze/Winter Retreat” and “Run of the Mill” reflect an interesting Zep-meets-Sabbath attack and a Floyd-inspired proggy style at certain passages. A separate mention should be awarded, on the other hand, for “Never Satisfied”, which is the album highlight and is a prototypical number with components that would be featured afterwards. Throughout its almost 5 minutes, this number provides pretty much an idea on how the riff base of Judas Priest would be in the at least the following 2 or 3 releases, and on the type of guitar solos that would be expected from the legendary trademark twin-guitar duo.

The rest of the album moves pretty much towards that proggy style with three exceptions: the opening number, the title track and “Cheater”. All of them are faster paced numbers built in hippie-hard rock blueprint which guided the sound of the scene back in the late 60s. Nothing killer if compared with the songs mentioned above, though they are still acceptable. In general, the album presents good arguments, and it is at least better than some others released afterwards, but too limited when compared with other juggernauts from the band’s catalog, starting with the next album which is highly improved in terms of songwriting.

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