Ferocity: the quality or state of being ferocious. That is what I hear each time I crank up Painkiller from Metal legends – Judas Priest. Painkiller was released on September 3, 1990, on Columbia Records. Yes, the 1990’s was ushered in with quite a Metal explosion with this album. Consider that it was 1990, twenty years ago when this amazing Metal album was first released. My Metal point is this: if Painkiller was to have been released today, there is more relevance in it’s Metal in 2010 than ever before, encapsulating everything that is fast, heavy and hard about Metal Music. Honestly, if Painkiller was released in 2010, it would be an enormous candidate for my #1 Heavy Metal album of the year. However, the reality is that Painkiller is an album from the Metal past, only it seems to still have more of an impact on me than I could ever imagine. This was the 12th studio album from Judas Priest, (if you are to consider the 1978 U.K. release of Killing Machine, basically the same album as Hell Bent For Leather, only it is minus The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown). I am not reluctant to state, that this Judas Priest album is arguably the heaviest and fastest album in their catalog. Despite my abhorring the Grammy’s, Judas Priest was nominated for best Metal Performance in 1991 due to Painkiller.

The two songs on Painkiller that standout for me, which are easily two songs I can listen to every day of my life, repeatedly, are: Painkiller and A Touch Of Evil. My inner Metal struggle as of late, is knowing that A Touch Of Evil is my single most favorite, Heavy Metal song of my entire Metalhead life. Why is that an inner Metal struggle for me, you ponder? Well, due to the fact that I simply cannot believe I actually know this is the song! Plus, it did not dawn on me until recently… maybe sometime before the holidays of 2009. I will tell you this though… it is a really cool Metal feeling when it hits you and the realization kicks in, that you finally know that this is THE song. Could A Touch Of Evil ever be replaced by another Metal song as my lifetime favorite? Maybe. I’ll know when it hits me. One thing is guaranteed though… it would NEVER be a Daughtry song.

The song Painkiller is for all Metal intents and purposes… Thrash Metal. I applaud the fact that Judas Priest showed the world that yes… Thrash Metal is in their forte. All ten songs on Painkiller are immense, there is no weak link to be found. The re-release of Painkiller has two bonus tracks: Living Bad Dreams and Leather Rebel (Live). Both of these songs are great for me, still, I don’t see how a “live” bonus track ever fits into a studio album to begin with.

With Painkiller being the last studio album with Rob Halford at the vocal helm, (until the 2005 Judas Priest release – Angel Of Retribution), it showed us die-hard Metalhead followers of Judas Priest that we shall never take anything for Metal granted. Tim “Ripper” Owens is a fine lead vocalist, (taking over lead vocals on 1997’s Jugulator and Demolition from 2001), still there is only one Metal God, one original lead vocalist for Judas Priest… Rob Halford. During Rob Halford’s departure from Judas Priest, Fight became his very own Metal creation… a band that I uphold highly and find extremely thrilling. I did blab and brag about Fight one time… you can check it out by clicking the header below:

Fight was one incredible Metal band!!

Recently, the 2009 release – The End Of Tomorrow from Ravage, paid tribute to this Painkiller album and Judas Priest by having in it’s track listing… the cover of Night Crawler. Ravage did a fabulous Metal job at covering Night Crawler too. In 1990’s retrospect, yes, I would without hesitation, point right at Painkiller as being a top ten Heavy Metal album of that decade. Those of you who do own Painkiller hopefully understand my excitement over it… those of you who do not own Painkiller just yet, well, you are missing out on one damn incredible Judas Priest album for sure, in my Metal opinion.

Judas Priest:

Rob Halford – vocals

Glenn Tipton – guitar

K.K. Downing – guitar

Ian Hill – bass guitar

Scott Travis – drums

Painkiller was produced by Judas Priest and Chris Tsangarides.

Track Listing For Judas Priest – Painkiller:


Hell Patrol

All Guns Blazing

Leather Rebel

Metal Meltdown

Night Crawler

Between The Hammer & The Anvil

A Touch Of Evil

Battle Hymn

One Shot At Glory

Re-release Bonus Tracks:

Living Bad Dreams

Leather Rebel (Live)


  1. I didn’t realize that Chris Tsangarides was the producer on this one. Everything that guy touches is usually pretty good. Painkiller is probably my favorite Judas Priest album.

    • Not only was Chris Tsangarides the producer, but he wrote the music for “Touch of Evil”. That song is nothing short of Genius. Recently on the Eddie Trunk show, Chris was asked his favorite album of the ones he’s produced. He replied “Painkiller” and suggested that He & Priest should collaborate in the future. Eddie mentioned it to Halford in a later interview… here’s hoping. \m/

    • metalodyssey Says:

      I can understand why it is your favorite… Painkiller just resonates with my Metal senses. I, I, can’t control it! And I’m not going to try!

  2. …as for “Painkiller”. I got into Priest on the “Screaming for Vengeance” album. My mom bought it for me from TG&Y when I was 12 years old. She was the coolest. No other Priest album touched “Screaming”, before or after, until “Painkiller”. The 1st version of the video World Premiered, on HeadBangers Ball, a few days before its release. The band, in Black & White, playing at a Furious speed and Halford singing better than ever. You could (and still can) feel the rage they must have felt, being put on trial, equating to nothing less than a modern day witch-hunt. I watched that video over & over, being angry with them & for them. I picked up the album from Coconuts Music later that week. Thank Goodness for the compact disc. I wore some of the grooves on that album near white playing certain songs over & over. Later, I saw Priest on the PAINKILLER tour w/ Megadeth (Rust in Peace) & Testament (Souls of Black). We had the fortune to meet Mr. Halford, behind the venue, before the show. He signed some autographs and was asked by someone in our crowd “Where are the rest of the guys?” Halford replied “They’ll be along, we hangout at different clubs”. In retrospect, that is really funny. Long Live the METAL GOD!!! \m/

    • metalodyssey Says:

      Cool Metal memory you shared. Heavy Metal will forever be revisited by bozo’s on a “witch-hunt”… but just like a backyard bug lamp attracting pesky flying insects, these same bozo’s always get zapped when they get too close and try to mess with our beloved Heavy Metal world.

    • Oh yeah – “Screaming for Vengeance” was their best for me too.

      Well, that’s partially because that was the age I was at.
      “Point of Entry” was OK – but that album was a bit too “polished” for me. Songs were great but just so-so production.

      + I knew little about “British Steel” (which was way better than P.O.E.) as I was in grade school & was listening to hard rock and classic rock – no REAL metal yet…

      So, moving into Jr. High School -“Screaming” put the HEAVY in Metal for me. Esp. the Hellion intro – classic! When you heard that for the first time it was just mega exciting, you just knew were about to rock!

      **And the even better thing was when they played these songs live with the extra jolt of energy and speed! There s an old DVD available of that tour BTW.

      “Defenders” was decent but did not quite match up to the prev. “Turbo” – no comment.

      I thought Dave Holland was getting too old to beat the skins and Priest needed an injection of energy anyway, so they replaced him with the much-younger (and double-bass wizard) Scott Travis (Ex-RACER X & later FIGHT). This is what made “Painkiller” to me. Being a drummer myself, I cannot help notice the difference he made with their sound.

      The rest is history.

      Not one to being a rumor-spreader or shit-talker, I cannot help but post my findings on the one Dave Holland, peep it here:


      I was shocked to say the least…

      PRIEST are approaching the Senior Citizen status and the fact that they are still around and jamming just slays me!

      **Speaking of “slay”, read all of the old interviews when SLAYER talk about their influences and it’s 100% JUDAS PRIEST. As a matter of fact, there are certain riffs that are almost of carbon copy but sped up and slightly more heavier.

      So no PRIEST = No SLAYER friends (and of course too many others to name).

      Curt King
      DEMOLISH Mag.

      “All things rock/metal from the late 80’s”

      • metalodyssey Says:

        Sccccrrrrrreeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmiiiiiinnnnnnnggggg, Screaming for vengeance! The double bass prowess of Scott Travis is a huge Metal factor on Painkiller… you are absolutely right on.

        The Priest was/is influential to so many bands… absolutely.

        Sccccccccccccccrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaammmmmiinnnngg, Screaming for vengeance!

  3. I’m in the metal minority when I say that I detest Painkiller. I’ve never liked it. I prefer the early Priest stuff from the 70s the most. If they would have broken up after Point Of Entry, I would have been happy.

    I catch flack all the time about hating Painkiller. Rob’s terrible screeching that started on screaming for vengeance and the boring sterile drumming of Scott Travis (who is an old acquaitance of mine) really killed it. Not to mention the 3rd grade lyrics.


    • metalodyssey Says:

      Painkiller just “pumps me up”, man… I can’t help it. It just hits me the right way, I can’t explain it away.

    • Well, I should re-phrase my post. I don’t LOVE “Painkiller” if it came off that way? It is a swift kick in the ass (drum-wise) to what came before it though.

      It is listenable and “energetic” yes, but it’s far from classic PRIEST.

      I guess it depends on what generation you grew up in and also your age possible as if they “broke up after Point of Entry”, then there would have been thousands of fans that never would have even heard them before -myself included.

      *When I start going too far back in the catalog (pre-British Steel) then I start to loose interest very fast. It’s good, but it just has that 70’s sound too it, which sounded stale to me and the dry production with the infamous cardboard drum sound just turns me off.
      And you want to talk about “boring and or sterile drumming”, just have a listen to most PRIEST from that era.

      BTW regarding that:

      IMO Mr. Travis was in fact probably HIRED to fill in and keep the drumming close to what everyone expected, but with some more youthful energy perhaps. You can (barely) hear some double-bass beats on “Screaming”LP but it’s so buried in the prodution it’s not a factor -let alone an energetic “boost”….

      …Yup, Scott is pretty basic stuff, but it’s is waaaay more energetic and varied VS the previous. Esp. the double bass, of course you and I are used to that but for the basic PRIEST fans, that was very cool for them to hear and experience that with PRIEST – esp. at that time.

      So back on my original – I think “Painkiller” the song is killer, but the album as a whole is above average but an important point at the PRIEST crossroads and a much-needed swift kick in the ass for them to continue on with a bit more fire + energy.

      “Screechy” vox = no comment (just like my Turbo Lover, no comment stance).

      I also want to add that I finally played Guitar Hero and or Rock band at one of my bestest “METAL” friends house recently. He has 2 sons and he is teaching them well, I played “Painkiller” on GTR and then on drums and it was a blast. So watch out for an explosion of kids into this sound when they grow up. These two youngsters are playing Priest, Maiden, Megadeth, Testament and Metallica everyday. That just cracks me up when you think about it. They always ask me, hey, how do you know these songs – like I have never heard those bands before!!!

      **Nice metal debate/discussion. Love to hear everyone’s opinions and take on Metal topics and albums.

      OK, I’m “Heading out to the Highway” as the cold-ass weather finally broke and it’s 50 damn degrees here in the Midwest right about now.

      Time for some “fake Spring fun”…

      Cheers Mates,

      Curt King
      Defender of Demolish

  4. Everyone is entitles to their opinion. But you state “Rob’s terrible screeching that started on screaming for vengeance…”, obviously you don’t dig it. Yet you only like the tracks “Electric Eye” & the Title track… which is full of said “screeching”. Also, “Turbo- Not bad in general”, really? Other than “Out in The Cold” I believe the songs to be a bit in the direction of commercial taste, and what robs that album of being a Heavy Metal Priest release is the over-use of the Guitar Synthesizer. Just my opinion. \m/

  5. You are correct, there are exceptions to every rule. I have a few of them myself. BTW, I read some of your other blogs. I like the “My Life with…” ones. Agree or Disagree, that is a cool way to put ones history with the music they grew-up with. Good Stuff. \m/

  6. I like this one a lot. Maybe 5th or 6th favorite Priest album. I was thrilled when I first heard it. Loved the energy and it came after the horrible Turbo and the average Ram it down. Saw them on this tour as well and they were incredible.

    • metalodyssey Says:

      Right on about “Turbo”… comparing “Painkiller” to “Turbo” and “Ram It Down” is like night and day. “Turbo” was trying to lure the “turtlenecks” into the world of Heavy Metal.

      • “turtle-necks” ha ha!

        good one, forgot about that.

        I had my long “METAL” hair for about 15 years and then cut it off (gradually) over like 6 hair cuts.
        When it was all said and done, I was the same person but everyone treated me like I was a “turtle-neck”, what a mind f**k.
        that went on for quite some time. My old Metal-head friends hated my “new look” and the preppies hated the fact that I was still a Metalhead “at heart” and did not dress like them.

        So when X-Mas time came around, my girlfriend at the time (or mom – can’t remember which) bought me a bunch of turtle-neck shirts!!!!!

        Stereotypes suck but they are VERY REAL.

        Curt King
        Demolish HQ

        • metalodyssey Says:

          Dude. Curt. Man, let’s hope those turtlenecks went to a good charity. I’m very sorry that turtleneck incident happened to you. I never donned long hair my entire life… being a Metalhead or just being loyal to Metal comes from within. Heck, over the years, uh, decades, look at how many Metal bands have members with short hair… or no hair at all.

          Good for you for staying so strong when you received those turtlenecks… it probably was semi-traumatic too. You were strong and led by Metal example. There are just “certain” things a Metalhead cannot wear. Look, if it is for a specific job/career, so be it. That is the ONLY pass I give for wearing them… even then I shudder to think of that.

          Where I grew up, Metalheads were never accepted as anything but. We were supposed to not have successful careers, a home, decent car, a family or a cat, (family/kids and cat is optional of course). We were supposedly destined for the police blotter on a weekly basis. Funny.

          As the great Ronnie James Dio has sung… “We’ll know for the first time, if we’re evil or divine, we’re the last in line”

          • yo – I never said I wore them. By new “look” I mean the hair cut not clothes.

            I played drums in various power metal/thrash bands, so I had long hair for the longest.

            Nice to see a mention of another Chicago band: Disturbed. I think they are good but I never listen to them.

            For me, the best Metal band from Chitown will always be TROUBLE.

            Word on the street is that the current Chicago Metal scene is one of the strongest anywhere these days.

            I am too busy holed up in my studio making noise with electronica music these days to go outside.

            One of the longest running Metal stores in the country (Metal Haven) is right down the street from my house. I took Mark an autographed KING DIAMOND poster last X-Mas. Even framed it for the store wall.

            Rock on!

            Curt King
            Demolish HQ

            • metalodyssey Says:

              It’s all good. I knew you didn’t wear those turtlenecks just by the way you wrote the comment… just receiving them as a gift is semi-traumatic… that’s what I meant.

              I wonder what King Diamond would say about turtlenecks?

              Thanks Curt for all of your cool insight recently… it’s appreciated… really.

              In Metal – Stone

  7. I have debated the merits of “Guitar Hero” & “Rock Band”. I think these games are best thing to happen to REAL music in a long time. I love my nieces & nephews asking me if I own any “Bad Company” or “Journey”. My nephew got into Judas Priest & Disturbed through those games. Yes, I dig Disturbed (all except the 1st album). I actually own both franchises (The Beatles Rock Band is Great!) for the XBOX 360. It is better than Karaoke. I don’t sing in a band anymore, so to get to sing Priest, Dream Theater, Journey, etc, through my home theater system, keeps my vocals in decent shape. \m/

    • metalodyssey Says:

      Um, I am “Down With The Sickness”… and each Disturbed album. So let it be Metal written, so let it be Metal done. Disturbed along with Slipknot gave the Metal world a jolt of some different sound, vibe if you will… Nu Metal or Metal… as Billy Joel once wrote and sang… “it’s still Rock ‘N” Roll to me.”

    • yes, I agree w/Price, it certainly is creating a future generation(s) of axe welding kids & when they get in their teen years to form their own bands.

      Most of these kids will just think of it as a game but just think if only like 1-5% of these kiddos decide to take it further….wow, that’s a lot of bands and Eddie Van Halen jr’s coming on day.

      *so I used to play drums (as prev. stated above), my friends two kids’ asked me to play drums, so I picked “Give it Away” from the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS and following those stupid colors on the screen was messing me up, so I just closed my eyes and banged it out!

      you want to talk about something funny – you should have seen those kids’ eyes when they saw me do that! I was like a video game “rock drummer GOD” to them because they could not equate playing REAL drums to being able to follow along with the color “graph” on the TV.

      that just killed me and put a lot of things into perspective.

      so then I played some IRON MAIDEN “2 Minutes to Midnight” and they really flipped. That one wore me out with all of those fills throughout, the entire (Plastic) drum set was walking away from me and I think I almost cracked them!

      *those kids are USED to loud music in the house as their father blasts KREATOR, MACHINE HEAD, OVERKILL, KILLSWITCH etc. concerts pretty much every other day. They used to fall asleep to that! crazzzzyy I know.

      Rock on!

      Curt King
      Demolish HQ

      • metalodyssey Says:

        Let’s just hope there are more future Dave Mustaine’s, Dimebag Darrell’s and Gary Holt’s in the future with these kids… than there will be Eddie Van Halens. The Metal world needs no more ego’s.

  8. Priest Live anyone?

  9. I love Painkiller too. and I also like singing it on rockband! \m/

    • metalodyssey Says:

      Very cool! That “Painkiller” album… Judas Priest just tears-it-up like there is no tomorrow with those songs! :)Now, we’ll have to say goodbye to them as they begin their final tour in 2011. 😦

      Thanks for the visit!

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