"HELL BENT! HELL BENT FOR LEATHER!" Such is the common refrain of metal heads around the world who worship at the alter of one of the greatest metal bands of all time, none other than Judas Priest. It's tough to find anyone into metal who doesn't know the words to most of the title track, and quite frankly, it's something that has transcended even genre as those who don't even listen to heavy metal could just as easily scream the refrain from memory!
Now, nearly 30 years, after it's release, I take a look back at this album.
The album opens up "Delivering the Goods", a track that introduces the Judas Priest sound of pounding drums in sync with the hard-hitting drumming that Binks has been delivering since Stained Class. You have the anthem tracks like "Take on the World", and arena-rock track that pounds and pounds and can inspire anyone to achieve victory!
"Burning Up" is yet another track that stands out on this disc. As Rob and K.K. Downing and Tipton start the build, the song finally explodes with Rob singing, "We've got to make love/ We've got to make love tonight!" "Running Wild" may have influenced a few aspiring guitarists with the pounding opening riff, giving way to the smooth-flowing guitar harmonies that flow in and out of the song!
But of course, the highights are many! "The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Prong Crown)" stands as a classic, despite actually being a... shudder... Fleetwood Mac cover! Damn it, who knew the Mac were so damn metal? And the title track, "Hell Bent for Leather"... the track could rip you to shreds and make you demand seconds!
Without a doubt, Hellbent for Leather stands as a definite classic of not just Judas Priest, but heavy metal in general. Honestly, I was shocked to find myself enjoying this, largely because of the fact that, at least for me growing up, the early material of this material was dubbed by many as not that good. The album stands the test of time, and has gotten a bit better with age as now it stands heads and shoulders above many.
Yes, this album does rock hard!
This album gets a 8 out of 10!