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Review of the Albums Hell Bent for Leather & Killing Machine by British Band Judas Priest

Updated on October 5, 2019
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is looking to always explore his writing opportunities.

The Back of the Album Cover for Hell Bent for Leather


About the Albums Hell Bent for Leather & Killing Machine

Hell Bent For Leather is the 1979 studio album by the legendary band Judas Priest. The album’s title in the UK and Europe was known as Killing Machine and it came out in 1978. Note: as of October 2019, this review will cover both Hell Bent for Leather and Killing Machine. The album was released in the US as Hell Bent for Leather because the US branch of the record label Columbia/CBS did not like the title Killing Machine because the title implied the crime of murder. I personally like the title Hell Bent for Leather much more than the European title. In the world that we live in it is better for bands to be a little more cautious about what they decide to name an album. Musically, Hell Bent for Leather may be one of those Judas Priest albums that may be largely forgotten because it was released 39 years ago and the fact that it is not the really heavy Judas Priest that fans are accustomed to hearing nowadays.

The only major difference between these two albums is that Killing Machine does not have the song “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Pronged Crown)” which is a Fleetwood Mac song that Judas Priest covers and does their own version of it.

The Songs Delivering the Goods and Rock Forever

The album begins with the very high energy song called Delivering the Goods. If you want to have pleasure in life, please do so responsibly. Rock Forever lyrically is on a similar theme. It is said that if you are dealing with the blues, switch into the lifeline which is known as good old rock music. Heavy beats might as well be referring to heavy metal. Note: if you are feeling a mild case of the blues, music might just help your mood but this strategy is not meant to replace any sort of medical advice. Most of us have our life challenges but music has a way of putting things in perspective. It is no wonder why so many people get creative and try to do something in the arts and entertainment.

The Songs Evening Star and Hell Bent for Leather

Evening Star is a song about a man that goes out to a distant shore because a voice had called him to do so. It is almost like when our intuition tells us and guides us to take action on something. He can now see the light that is now guiding him in the right direction. He had been struggling when he was younger and he did not know how to get out of what he describes as a haze. Let the evening stars shine on those people that have figured out how to get through those hazy situations and be headed towards a life of prosperity and abundance! The song is one that is a description of what happens when someone finds their life’s purpose. Hell Bent for Leather has guitar sound that is similar to the band’s previous album Stained Class which I have tried to point out is the band’s best album of the 1970’s.

"Hell Bent for Leather"

The Songs Take on the World, Burnin' Up, and Killing Machine

Take on the World is a song that encourages people to take on the world to make the world a better place to live. Our voices must eventually be heard so that we can make that positive difference. Burnin’ Up is a song about making love on the same night because the couple seem to be burnin’ up inside and they are ready to let those passionate feelings flow through them. The song called Killing Machine is about a force that has a contract on a person, kind of like a mercenary that does the world’s dirty deeds.

Running Wild and Before the Dawn

Running Wild is a song about late night partying similar lyrically to the song Living After Midnight which would come to fruition in the early 1980’s.But then comes the great ballad song called Before the Dawn which is the best song in this album and one of the best songs in the history of Judas Priest. It is described as a depressing ballad. It can make the listener emotional but it is also a song about really feeling the feeling of love for your significant other if you have one.

Thank You Judas Priest for the Song Before the Dawn!

It is time to thank Judas Priest for writing such a terrific song and for all their years of work in the entertainment industry. They were one of the best bands all the way from 1978 through 2001. Even 1984’s Defenders of the Faith deserves praise.

"Before the Dawn"

Final Thoughts About the Two Albums We Covered

The bottom line is that Hell Bent for Leather/Killing Machine is an album by Judas Priest that has high energy rock songs with uplifting messages that people can relate to. Rob Halford’s voice on Before the Dawn is passionate even for him although he has been known more for his high pitched voice. The best songs on this album are many including Delivering the Goods, Evening Star, and Before the Dawn. The album may be good to listen to even before dawn comes!

© 2018 Ara Vahanian


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