Hell Bent for Leather album cover
Hell Bent for Leather

Judas Priest


Judas Priest’s fifth album was a transitional effort; they stripped the songs down, opting for a hard-charging style closer to punk than their previous, somewhat progressive work. This was also the record on which they adopted the black-leather-and-studs image that became not only their own trademark, but something to be regarded as essentially metal. There were still plenty of surprises, though, like the almost Lynyrd Skynyrd-esque guitar solo on “Rock Forever,” their somewhat silly attempt to write their own Queen-style stomp-and-shout anthem, “Take On The World,” and the funk-metal “Burnin’ Up” with its eerie synth intro and disco drum flourishes. But the title track is a speeding-down-the-highway anthem, and on the tour for this record, frontman Rob Halford began riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle onstage for the encore.

Phil Freeman

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