We are all familiar with Judas Priest greatest hits, but what about those songs that we never really listened to? In eighteen studio albums there is a lot of material and only a selected and committed group of fans know all the songs produced by the band through more than 50 years of career! So here we have a selection of songs that, perhaps, some fans are not familiar with. Some songs that deserve to be mentioned due to unusual circumstances and show us a large amount of exploration present on all JP works. We prioritise on this list songs not that well-known or pieces that are hardly ever mentioned in any other JP top chart. These are the Priest Hidden Gems:
This song works as an introduction for the next track on the album: Exiled. But if we listen to it in an isolated manner, we find an inspiring ambient song with a beautiful piano and a very nice keyboard sound design. But if you show the song to one a bandmate and claim ‘This is a Judas Priest song!’ your credibility will drop.
4) BLOOD RED SKIES
The song starts very softly with one of Rob’s highest-pitched performances. After some silence, an outrageous industrial background takes the lead. Screams, heroic guitar lines, dramatic solos, passionate vocals, tempo changes and epic synthesizers rotate in the foreground. Almost 8 minutes of satisfying heavy metal journey! It was played briefly by the band in 2011 and 2012 gigs(1) but remained as an unknown track among most fans all these time.
3) FIRE BURNS BELOW
The drum samples, the new age synths, the heavy keyboards programming, the clean guitar sounds, everything here sounds so modern, but it was recorded in 1988! An unusual song, that did not fit the style of Ram it Down and was released as a bonus track of the re-editions of Stained Class. It features amazing solos by Glenn and a great duo with KK.
2) WINTER/DEEP FREEZE/WINTER RETREAT/CHEATER
The first album was never as big as later ones. At the moment sold only a couple hundred copies. The songs were performed regularly during the band early years but in the periods of commercial success, not a single one of them was played on live performances. When you listen to these four tracks for the first time you can hardly say when one finishes and the next one starts (a fact even more magical on vinyl or cassettes recordings). Winter is almost all guitar noises but then a slow heavy metal section appears in a violent manner. A bold drum solo leads into Deep Freeze, a song with heavy riffs and a short vocal part. Winter Retreat works as a connector track with even more noises, entering into a psychedelic experimentation atmosphere that culminates into a clean and smooth section with soft vocals. Cheater kicks in immediately and endorses one of the few Halford’s harmonica performances. The sound was hardly influenced by the 70s heavy bands like Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath.
1) NEW BEGINNINGS
Acoustic guitars and new-age synthesizers make you wonder if the playlist just jumped magically to Pink Floyd, but then Rob’s voice kicks in and you realise Judas Priest search exceeds all boundaries. The guitars sound so expressive -even the simplest line on the song is played as it was the last one! and just a few bars solo may turn into an epic duelling battle between two passionate guitar-wizards struggling to emerge. Piano by Don Aurey adds even more colour with an embellished performance featuring some Michal Kamen’s style brushes. So far, it happens enough to be considered one of Priest’s most unusual songs, but, there is something on the background that sounds like… a didjeridoo? Ladies & Gentlemen, we have a winner: NEW BEGINNINGS is the weirdest (and thereafter one of the bests) song ever by JP.