From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Defenders of the Faith
Defenders of the Faith.jpg
Cover art by Doug Johnson
Studio album by
Released13 January 1984 (1984-01-13) [1]
RecordedSeptember–November 1983
StudioIbiza Sound Studios, Ibiza
Genre Heavy metal [2] [3]
Label Columbia
Producer Tom Allom
Judas Priest chronology
Screaming for Vengeance
Defenders of the Faith
Singles from Defenders of the Faith
  1. " Freewheel Burning"
    Released: January 1984 [4]
  2. " Some Heads Are Gonna Roll"
    Released: March 1984 [5]
  3. "Love Bites"
    Released: April 1984 (US) [6]
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic [7]
Blabbermouth.net10/10 (30th Ann.) [8]
Blogcritics(favourable) (30th Ann.) [9]
PopMatters7/10(30th Ann.) [10]
Martin Popoff8/10 [11]
Record Collector (30th Ann.) [12]
Rolling Stone [13]
Sputnikmusic4.0/5 [14]

Defenders of the Faith is the ninth studio album by English heavy metal band Judas Priest, released on 13 January 1984 by Columbia Records. The album was certified platinum by the RIAA, [15] and spawned the singles " Freewheel Burning", " Some Heads Are Gonna Roll", and "Love Bites".

Recording and release

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 featured a similar formula of short, up-tempo metal anthems with stadium shout-along choruses, although progressive elements returned on some tracks such as "The Sentinel". The track "Rock Hard Ride Free" is actually a re-working of a track entitled "Fight for Your Life", recorded during the 1982 Screaming For Vengeance sessions but not included on that album.

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 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. [16] PMRC co-founder Tipper Gore stated the song was about oral sex at gunpoint. [17] 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. [18]

— 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

All tracks are 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" ( Bob Halligan, Jr.)4:05
8."Night Comes Down"3:59
9."Heavy Duty"2:25
10."Defenders of the Faith"1:30
2001 CD edition bonus tracks
11."Turn On Your Light" (Recorded during the 1985 Turbo sessions)5:23
12."Heavy Duty/Defenders of the Faith" (Live at Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, California; 5 May 1984)5:26

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
  • Produced by Tom Allom
  • Engineered by Mark Dodson, assisted by Christian Eser, Bruce Hensal, David Roeder, Ben King, and Buddy Thornton
  • Cover design by Doug Johnson, based on a concept by Judas Priest


Chart (1984-1985) Peak
Canada Top Albums/CDs ( RPM) [19] 17
Dutch Albums ( Album Top 100) [20] 27
Finnish Albums ( The Official Finnish Charts) [21] 10
German Albums ( Offizielle Top 100) [22] 21
Japanese Albums ( Oricon) [23] 18
Norwegian Albums ( VG-lista) [24] 17
Swedish Albums ( Sverigetopplistan) [25] 2
Swiss Albums ( Schweizer Hitparade) [26] 12
UK Albums ( OCC) [27] 19
US Billboard 200 [28] 18
Chart (2014-2015) Peak
Austrian Albums ( Ö3 Austria) [29] 51
Belgian Albums ( Ultratop Flanders) [30] 138
Belgian Albums ( Ultratop Wallonia) [31] 85
Finnish Albums ( Suomen virallinen lista) [32] 46
Italian Albums ( FIMI) [33] 90
Spanish Albums ( PROMUSICAE) [34] 66


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada ( Music Canada) [35] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Japan ( RIAJ) [36] Gold 100,000^
United States ( RIAA) [37] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "RIAA certifications".
  2. ^ Wiederhorn, Jon (4 January 2021). "37 Years Ago: Judas Priest Release 'Defenders of the Faith'". Loudwire. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  3. ^ Travers, Paul. "The 10 Best Judas Priest Albums - ranked". Kerrang!. Wasted Talent. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  4. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (1995). The Great Rock Discography. p. 447. ISBN  9780862415419.
  5. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (1995). The Great Rock Discography. p. 447. ISBN  9780862415419.
  6. ^ "Judas Priest singles".
  7. ^ "Defenders of the Faith review". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2 September 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Stagno, Mike (14 December 2006). "Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith". Sputnikmusic. Archived from the original on 11 November 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  15. ^ "RIAA Searchable Database: search for Judas Priest". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on 31 March 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Clifford-Napoleone, Amber R. (2015). Queerness in Heavy Metal Music: Metal Bent. New York City: Routledge. p. 132. ISBN  978-0-415-72831-7. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  18. ^ Downing, K. K. (20 September 2018). Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest. Constable. ISBN  978-1-4721-2867-6.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 4456a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  20. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  21. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. ISBN  978-951-1-21053-5.
  22. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  23. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN  4-87131-077-9.
  24. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  25. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  26. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  27. ^ "Judas Priest | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  28. ^ "Judas Priest Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  29. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  30. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  31. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  32. ^ " Judas Priest: Defenders of the Faith" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  33. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  34. ^ " – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  35. ^ "Bonhams:Judas Priest/K.K. Downing: A Sony/BMG Canadian 'Platinum' award for the albums Killing Machine, Unleashed In The East, British Steel and Defenders Of The Faith". 7 March 2023.
  36. ^ "Eastern Defense" (PDF). Billboard. 13 October 1984. p. 9. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  37. ^ "American album certifications – Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith". Recording Industry Association of America.