Classic Albums – Judas Priest – Painkiller

Judas Priest Painkiller


This month’s Classic Albums Column focuses on Judas Priest‘s Painkiller. Mars Attacks Podcast episode 54 features comments from Doro Pesch, Glen Drover, Gene Hoglan, Jon Schaffer, Alan Tecchio, Dave Reffett, author Martin Popoff, Mitch Lafon from Bravewords, Mark Strigl from Talking Metal, Anirudd “Andrew” Bansal from Metal Assault, and John from Iron City Rocks. As we established with the previous podcast we also discuss why this album was selected. You will find the podcast at the bottom of this post.



Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal – I’m a long-time fan of Priest, going back to Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings, they were cool, bluesy, but also melodic and composed, harmonies everywhere, such a great band. From there they got heavier and more intense with each album. They really ripped your head off at moments with Painkiller.

Greg PratoPainkiller: Although not my all-time fav Priest album (a two-way tie between British Steel and Screaming for Vengeance), it was a great to see the Priest return full-on with Painkiller, after a few missteps during the late 1980s. Rob Halford’s vocal performance throughout the album showed once and for all that he is unquestionably one of metal’s greatest singers (I’d say he and Ronnie James Dio are at the top of my list).

Dave Starr – I love JP, but this is not one of my favorite CDs from them. I do love several tracks though: “Hammer and the Anvil”, “A Touch of Evil”, and “Hell Patrol”.

Dan Lorenzo – When I was in high school my favorite bands were Kiss, Cheap Trick, AC/DC, and Aerosmith. By the end of high school, Kiss was getting cheesy and I discovered Judas Priest. I’ve seen Priest live more than any other band. I saw them as recently as two weeks ago. I even saw them twice with Ripper. Right before Painkiller came out I was “over” Priest. The song “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin” kinda ruined the whole vibe for me. It’s not even a bad song and I LOVE the rest of that cd. But moms now “liked” Judas Priest and I was getting more into Slayer etc. I’ll never forget the first time I heard the title track from Painkiller. I was working on writing the early NON-FICTION material and I thought I knew what was cool and what was not. Dave Holland’s weak drumming was gone and a monster named Scott Travis was now on the throne. Damn. Glenn/KK/Rob, Ian…you got me again. Painkiller is kick ass. I even love the more commercial “Touch of Evil.”. Priest were back on the right track and they have stayed that way. I’ll always cite “Hell Bent For Leather” as my favorite…but Painkiller was a very welcome surprise and a return to form.

Peter Ellis – My favorite Priest album and in my opinion the very best album they ever made. By the time Painkiller came out both KK and Glen Tipton had really matured as guitarists and had started introducing lots of different sounds and new elements to the band’s music and of course, this album features some of the very best performances in Rob Halford’s storied career too. Also, the addition of Scott Travis on the drums proved to be one of the best decisions the band’s ever made and personally I wish they’d done this a lot earlier as I think that Travis sounds like the natural successor to Les Binks and I’ve always believed that bringing Dave Holland in held the band back and put limitations to their style that wouldn’t be there with a more competent drummer.

Jon Leon – Judas Priest gave everyone what they wanted with this album. Scott Travis on drums along with the thrash movement inspired a new direction. It is classic priest but heavy as hell and at a million miles an hour. No “Parental Guidance” type songs here. Less catchy and more balls out. It was the exclamation point that rounded out and finalized the legacy of the great Judas Priest. I saw the tour as a little kid and they opened with “Hell Bent for Leather” -it was insane.

Metal Mike – I love this record. It set a blueprint for some many other bands to follow. Bands are still trying to rewrite Painkiller every year, but we all know that there is only one Metal God.

Erik Kluiber – Saw this tour with Megadeth and Testament. Unfortunately, my neighbors who gave me the ride hated Priest and forced me to leave once they took the stage.

Ricky Armellino – Always loved the Priest. Just never a reason not to listen to them, ever. Unless you need a break to listen to Dio but you could always just do what I did and play both simultaneously.

Mitts – Judas Priest meets double bass. The cornerstone heavy metal band added a much-needed dose of modern drumming to their sound. Great riffs, too. A punch in the face record, redemption for the band that made Turbo.

Chris Tsangarides – What can I say about a record that I made without sounding like a complete egomaniac! But this record is one that I am very proud of on many levels. I was in 7th heaven during this project. It is one of the most cohesive and focused Heavy Metal albums in my humble opinion of all time. We set out with the objective of making a great recording and that’s how it came out. It is so hard to get clarity in the sound when the tempos are so fast but because of the great arrangements between the instrumentation, we managed to achieve this. It also inspired a whole slew of bands to carry on in that tradition of Power/Speed Metal.

Raul Galvan – This album along with some of Manowar’s work is what I consider to be the top of the mountain for heavy metal.

JL – Another classic, from one of those bars that oozes smoke, alcohol, and metal. Tipton and Downings had their axes sharpened like knives, but nothing cut through more than Halford’s voice. From the album cover to the song titles, there is nothing more metal than this album, not even if the sky opened up and a downpour of knives ensued!

Gonzalo Leiva – A very powerful album, the opening track makes you say wow after the first listen. The rest of the album is also good, containing some very heavy and technical drumming from Scott Travis. Painkiller is a punishing track, but you also have tracks like “Nightcrawler”, “Between The Hammer And The Anvil”, “A Touch Of Evil”, and “Hell Patrol” (just to name a few). These tracks make this album a must-have for any rock or metal fans.

David Lozano – One of my all-time favorite albums, I think it is of utter importance that it finds its way into any metal fan’s album collection. I still think this album is ahead of its time, case in point, I still hear bands implementing things in their music that Priest did on this album.

Sean Bryant – I had seen quite a few Priest concerts growing up. One I remember most was during Turbo Lover Tour. A bunch of friends and I went to the Salt Palace in SLC. This was the first time I had heard a band blowing the power at a large venue. I always looked forward to him driving his motorcycle out onto the stage. With this album, in particular, the only thing that comes to mind is when drinking at the Anchored Inn and Shana from Bad Dream ran down the stairs while she was DJing. She insisted that we do shots throughout the song!! Needless to say, my pain was killed that night and many after that.

Will Carroll – A very important album. Not only for JP but also for Heavy Metal in general. It extended the lifeline of metal for a few more years until metal was nearly wiped away in the early/mid-nineties. A favorite JP album for many and I can totally see why. My favorite is Sin After Sin.

Steve Smyth – Oh HELL yeah! The mighty Priest delivered the goods after a disappointing few previous records. I loved it when Scott Travis joined them, and Glenn and KK got up some new chops, as Halford delivered the goods in songs like “All Guns Blazing”, “Nightcrawler”, “Hell Patrol”, “Leather Rebel”, and the title track! One of my favorites from the mighty Priest!

Jon Bodan – This was the album that got me into Priest, before that I had come upon some glam like Skid Row and from that got into bands like Metallica and Testament. So I heard these guys on a compilation CD and was like “where have I been”? Halcyon Way used to tease the song “Painkiller” at the end of our set but we could never be bothered to learn the whole thing, haha. But the best story with this is that one time I was with our old singer Sean at this Korean karaoke bar, and all these people were singing these Korean pop ballads….so I went over and signed him up to do “Painkiller”. It was hysterical, everyone there was like “What the hell????” Classic.

Domonic Rini – Rob Halford really shows his vocal prowess in this effort. Some of his greatest tones on any Priest albums are found in this one. I think with Painkiller, Judas Priest was really trying to see how metal they can be and it really shows.

Shawn Duncan – Awesome, Love Painkiller!

Wayne FindlayPainkiller…Wow, what a killer intro with Scott Travis at his best. I was blown away when I found out he got the drummer position for Priest. He was great in Racer-X and when he joined Priest, it took them in a whole new direction. This album just brought it to a whole new level for Priest.

Tim Ripper Owens – Great cd. Really brought the Priest back to form, and that was with a lot of help from Scott Travis. WOW, he was just amazing and gave them the spark they needed! But everyone was on their Game. Amazing guitar playing, Bass playing, and Singing!! P A I N!!!!!!

Jason Bittner – Priest’s best album hands down- the guitar work got amazingly better from Ram it Down to PK!! Obviously, the BIGGEST improvement was adding the mighty Scott Travis to the band! I got PK on tape for Xmas in 1991, and refused to leave my basement that day for family affairs until I had that intro learned and down!! And I succeeded too!! Many many years later Scott and I are friends and I actually bought his old kick drum road case off him back in 2004- he still asks me about it, and yes I still have it- gonna be sad to see this band actually say “farewell”. Priest rules!!

Anthony Esposito – Monster cd, hello Scott Travis……from the opening sound making his arrival noted. He is a monster drummer. We played a show with them in Los Angeles right after this (album) was released. At soundcheck, while Priest was up onstage George quietly turned to me and said “Ant, we are gettin blown away tonight.” The title cut and “A Touch Of Evil” are my favorites (on the album). Rob’s voice is amazing as usual.

Kirk Windstein – It was a welcomed surprise after the disappointing Ram It Down record. Painkiller is an over-the-top, pure metal masterpiece! Great riffs, solos, and of course, vocals. Halford earns a 10 out of 10 for his work! Actually, all the members do, and the addition of Scott Travis was the icing on the cake. In my opinion, it should have been the follow-up to Defenders Of The Faith…Judas Priest (The Best Heavy Metal Band Ever), were at their finest on this classic! Thanks for the Metal, Gentlemen!!!

Jose Izquierdo – I discovered Judas Priest with this album. I mean I had heard songs, but I really didn’t know people that were in tune with the band, and could hook me up with a tape of their songs. There wasn’t really a radio station in Albacete (Spain) that played Judas Priest either. Someone gave me a copy of the album, and of course, after that I started really looking into their music.

David G. Alvarez – I remember seeing Painkiller, Jugulator, and a video compilation, I believe it was called Metalworks, I don’t exactly remember. But and then saw images in Rockarolla, and thought to myself, I think I bought the wrong tape. I saw those hats, and everything else they were wearing and thought it was something else. My favorite track off of the album is “Metal Meltdown”, it’s obvious they made serious changes to their sound, especially with the guitars. They changed from very melodic playing to sweep picking, and they returned with their own proper sound. Scott Travis also gave a big push to the band, a lot of energy.

Jorge Salan – I really like this album, but I have to say that Stained Class is my favorite album by the band. A track like “Exciter” is one of those that really inspired me, it’s a classic. I think the redone version from Hero Hero, I don’t remember if it was a compilation, or if it was all new tracks, but it had “Victim of Changes”, which I think is just ridiculously good. I really like Painkiller, but I’ll stick with those two I mentioned.

Militia – A great album through and through! Killer songs loaded with all the best elements of Priest:

Halford’s vocal performance is enthralling- an uncanny balance of raw aggression and operatic precision. Lyrics that are borderline Shakespearian. Artwork, imagery, and storytelling of creatures and monsters that create its own heavy metal mythological world. Guitar tones and riffs that singe your fuckin ears. Drums that relentlessly beat your brain into a bloody pulp. And that signature Priest groove that keeps it all together is so addictive…

Some of my favorite Priest songs are on here: “Hell Patrol”, “Nightcrawler”, “Metal Meltdown”, “Between The Hammer And The Anvil” and the ultimate metal anthem as well as one of my favorite songs to sing- the PAAAAINKILLAAAAH!

Chris Howorth – This is such an incredible album, and it’s arguably the heaviest priest album of all time! The title track pretty much sums the whole thing up, starting with Scott Travis ripping drum intro and nonstop double bass, and Tipton and Downing turned the gain knob to ten and shredded their asses off from start to finish, I always loved Judas Priest but this album got brownie points for being extra heavy right at the time when grunge and all that crap was getting popular. This album is a lesson in real metal, pay attention all you trend following scene metal bands!

Check out Judas Priest's 1990 Classic Painkiller here:

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