‘Defenders of the Faith’
30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
(Columbia/Legacy Records)

Judas Priest has done it once again and “delivered the goods” in their pursuit of 30th anniversary reissues.

This issue brings the original album remastered along with a newly mastered radio show from 1984 at Long Beach Arena (same legendary arena that Iron Maiden recorded ‘Live After Death’ at).

I’m not going to waste time in reviewing this track by track. You should already know what these songs sound like after all these years. The original album has been remastered very well and sonically sounds fantastic. The 2 live discs from the Long Beach show are heavy in every sense of the word. Brutal, crushing live sound from Priest here. There have been bootlegs of this show running around for years, but they have never sounded this good.

The packaging is cool as well, beginning with a sleeve that you pull the digipack case out of. Oddly though, it’s printed upside down (and therefore backwards). If you face the “front” of the digipack towards yourself (with the “opening side to the right as many do), the cover is upside down! Opening it reveals all three discs as well as the inside printing to be upside down also. I suppose if you are left handed this won’t bother you. Me? I am a tad O.C.D. and it is driving me BATTY! The slip case has a cut out that part of the digipack cover art shows through when inserted back into the case which might explain the thought process behind the printing layout, but they could have done this a little differently.

There’s a nice CD booklet inside a slip case built into the digipack with some write ups and some really great pictures taken on the “Defenders of the Faith Tour” in 1984 as well.
My only other complaint would be a lack of vinyl availability for this release as the mix of the album and live show would, I’d venture to say, sound great on my turn table.

This is a great introduction for anyone looking to experience Judas Priest for the first time, and a must have (despite the odd printing setup) for “die hard” fans.

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