Defenders of the Faith

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Defenders of the Faith
Defenders of the Faith.jpg
Studio album by
Released4 January 1984
RecordedSeptember–November 1983
StudioIbiza Sound Studios, Ibiza, Spain
GenreHeavy metal, speed metal
ProducerTom Allom
Judas Priest chronology
Screaming for Vengeance
Defenders of the Faith
Singles from Defenders of the Faith
  1. "Freewheel Burning"
    Released: December 1983
  2. "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll"
    Released: 1984
  3. "Love Bites"
    Released: 1984
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Blabbermouth.net10/10 (30th Ann.)[2]
Blogcriticsfavourable (30th Ann.)[3]
PopMatters7/10 stars (30th Ann.)[4]
Martin Popoff8/10 stars[5]
Record Collector3/5 stars (30th Ann.)[6]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[7]

Defenders of the Faith is the ninth studio album by British heavy metal band Judas Priest. Three tracks were released as singles: "Freewheel Burning", "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll" and "Love Bites". The album was certified Platinum by the RIAA.[9]

Recording and release[edit]

Defenders of the Faith was recorded at Ibiza Sound Studios, Ibiza, Spain, and mixed from September to November 1983 at DB Recording Studios and Bayshore Recording Studios in Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida. The LP and cassette tape were released on 4 January 1984, and the album appeared on CD in July. A remastered CD was released in May 2001. Simultaneously with the album's release, the band kicked off their tour in Europe, with the bulk of concerts taking place in North America during the spring and summer.

Stylistically, Defenders of the Faith did not greatly depart from its predecessor and contained the same mix of short, up-tempo metal anthems with stadium shoutalong choruses, although progressive elements returned on some tracks such as "The Sentinel" and the album also introduced some hints of speed metal into their sound.

The album was an immediate success, only going one spot below Screaming for Vengeance on the US Billboard 100 Albums Chart. Some critics nonetheless objected to the lack of a standout single comparable to "Breaking the Law" or "You've Got Another Thing Comin', and the album's general similarity to Screaming for Vengeance.

The 30th-anniversary release of the album (released in March 2015) came with a double CD of a live show recorded on 5 May 1984 at the Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, California on their Defenders of the Faith Tour and was originally recorded for a radio broadcast.


The cover art by Doug Johnson (who also designed the Hellion in Screaming for Vengeance) depicts the Metallian, a ram-horned, tiger-like land assault creature with Gatling guns and tank tracks conceptualized by the band. The back cover contains a message:

Rising from darkness where Hell hath no mercy and the screams for vengeance echo on forever. Only those who keep the faith shall escape the wrath of the Metallian ... Master of all metal.


"Eat Me Alive" was listed at number 3 on the Parents Music Resource Center's "Filthy Fifteen", a list of 15 songs the organization found most objectionable.[10] PMRC co-founder Tipper Gore stated the song was about oral sex at gunpoint.[11] In response to the allegations, Priest recorded the song "Parental Guidance" on the follow-up album Turbo.

In a uniquely British way, Rob's S&M lyrics were intended to be tongue in cheek—and certainly not "corrupting", as Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) took them to be. They certainly didn't warrant being included on the PMRC's "Filthy 15" list a few months after the album was released. For us, the song was a bit of fun—but I won’t deny that we included it with full knowledge that it would get media attention. Little did we know at that time that its inclusion on the "Filthy 15" would be the precursor to a far more disturbing predicament for us.[12]

— K.K. Downing (guitarist)


In December 1983, the band released the "Freewheel Burning" single and performed the song in a short UK/Germany tour in the same month. In January 1984, the band embarked on the Metal Conqueror Tour across Europe, North America and Japan. On this tour, the band played every song from the album live, with the exception of "Eat Me Alive". During the band's 2008 tour in support of Nostradamus, they played many songs which had never been played live before, one of them being "Eat Me Alive". To date, this made Defenders of the Faith the second Judas Priest album from which every song had been played live (the first being Rocka Rolla), followed by British Steel during the 2009, British Steel 30th anniversary tour.


Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford and K. K. Downing, except where noted.

Side one
1."Freewheel Burning"4:22
3."Rock Hard Ride Free"5:34
4."The Sentinel"5:04
Side two
5."Love Bites"4:47
6."Eat Me Alive"3:34
7."Some Heads Are Gonna Roll" (Robert Halligan, Jr.)4:05
8."Night Comes Down"3:58
9."Heavy Duty"2:25
10."Defenders of the Faith"1:30

30th Anniversary Edition - Bonus Live CDs

Disc one
1."Love Bites"5:16
4."Metal Gods"4:20
5."Breaking the Law"2:57
7."Desert Plains"5:04
8."Some Heads Are Gonna Roll" (Bob Halligan Jr.)4:30
9."The Sentinel"6:07
10."Rock Hard Ride Free"6:04
Disc two
1."Night Comes Down"4:28
2."The Hellion"0:39
3."Electric Eye"3:33
4."Heavy Duty"2:33
5."Defenders of the Faith"2:37
6."Freewheel Burning"4:39
7."Victim of Changes" (Al Atkins, Downing, Halford, Tipton)9:43
8."The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)" (Peter Green)5:46
9."Living After Midnight"4:50
10."Hell Bent For Leather" (Tipton)5:55
11."You've Got Another Thing Comin'"8:51


Judas Priest


Chart (1984–2015) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[14] 90
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[15] 51
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[16] 85
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[17] 138
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[18] 27
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[19] 46
French Albums (SNEP)[20] 142
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[21] 21
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[22] 17
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[23] 2
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[24] 12
UK Albums (OCC)[25] 19
US Billboard 200[26] 18


Country Organization Year Sales
USA RIAA 1988 Platinum (+ 1,000,000)[9]
Canada CRIA 1985 Platinum (+ 100,000)[27]


  1. ^ "Defenders of the Faith review". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2 September 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  2. ^ Van Horn jr., Ray. "Hudas Priest - "Defenders of the Faith Special 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition"". Archived from the original on 30 June 2015. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  3. ^ Doherty, Charlie (16 March 2015). "Music Review: Judas Priest – 'Defenders of the Faith' (Special 30th Anniversary Edition)". Blogcritics. Archived from the original on 1 July 2015. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  4. ^ Macek III, J. C. (15 April 2015). "Judas Priest - Defenders of the Faith: Special 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 30 June 2015. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  5. ^ Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5.
  6. ^ Patterson, Dayal (March 2015). "Judas Priest - Defenders Of The Faith: 30th Anniversary Edition". Record Collector (438). Archived from the original on 30 June 2015. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  7. ^ Connelly, Christopher (12 April 1984). "Album Reviews: Judas Priest - Defenders of the Faith". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 18 October 2007. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  8. ^ Stagno, Mike (14 December 2006). "Judas Priest - Defenders of the Faith". Sputnikmusic. Archived from the original on 11 November 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  9. ^ a b "RIAA Searchable Database: search for Judas Priest". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on 31 March 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  10. ^ Daniels, Neil (2010). The Story of Judas Priest: Defenders of the Faith. New York City, USA: Omnibus Press. pp. 107–108. ISBN 978-1-84772-707-7.
  11. ^ Clifford-Napoleone, Amber R. (2015). Queerness in Heavy Metal Music: Metal Bent. New York City: Routledge. p. 132. ISBN 978-0415728317. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  12. ^ Downing, K. K. Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest. Constable. ISBN 978-1-47212-867-6.
  13. ^ Scott Ian and Jon Weiderhorn (2014). I'm the Man: The Story of that Guy from Anthrax. Da Capo Press, p. 136
  14. ^ Ryan, Gavin (21 March 2015). "ARIA Albums: Kendrick Lamar Soars, Madonna Stiffs". Noise11. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  15. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  16. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  17. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  18. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Judas Priest: Defenders of the Faith" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  20. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith". Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  21. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  22. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith". Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  23. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith". Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  24. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith". Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  25. ^ "Judas Priest | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  26. ^ "Judas Priest Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  27. ^ "Gold Platinum Search for Whitesnake". Music Canada. Archived from the original on 17 May 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2015.