Unleashed In the East (Legacy)
by Martin Popoff
The second wave of four Judas Priest reissues sticks a big sword in the band’s best albums. If the band were formative through the first two, it is on Sin After Sin, Stained Class, Hell Bent for Leather, and Unleashed In the East where the silver gleamed, the riffs rifled, and Halford was at his high-flying’ best. But too bad it went over everyone’s heads, the band writing too smart for a fledgling genre, absolutely vanquishing the competition with early speed, pre-thrash, intellectual doom, arcane religious thoughts, and sylvan production values. The deal here is that all are remastered (makes no difference), each (except the live corker) offers lyrics (some seem wrong or if not, newly embarrassing!), rare photos, compact though efficient remarks from the band, and most importantly, bonus tracks. Like the first wave, these rarities pretty much blow, save for all those Unleashed… beauties that were offered on the Japanese version. The ancient Gun cover is kinda nice, but “Fight for Your Life” is merely a chop-blocky early version of “Rock Hard, Ride Free” and “Fire Burns Below” is seven minutes of turgid boredom. But each studio album has a live nugget as well (again, two of them out of temporal context), and the original albums are pristine, lip-smacking metal perfection. Four more to come, after which you can line them all up with their special jigsaw puzzle spines in a collector’s box. Yummy.