Judas Priest was one of the most influential heavy-metal bands of the '70s, spearheading the "new wave of British heavy metal" late in the decade. Decked out in leather and chains, the band fused the gothic doom of Black Sabbath with the riffs and speed of Led Zeppelin, as well as adding a vicious two-lead guitar attack; in doing so, they set the pace for much popular heavy metal from 1975 until 1985, as well as laying the groundwork for the speed- and death-metal of the '80s.
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At the beginning of the '80s, Judas Priest was a top concert attraction around the world, in addition to being a best-selling recording artist. Featuring the hit single "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," Screaming for Vengeance (1982) marked the height of their popularity, peaking at number 17 in America and selling over a million copies. Two years later, Defenders of the Faith nearly matched its predecessor's performance, yet metal tastes were beginning to change, as Metallica and other speed/thrash-metal groups started to grow in popularity. That shift was evident on 1986's Turbo, where Judas Priest seemed out of touch with current trends; nevertheless, the record sold over a million copies in America on the basis of name recognition alone. However, 1987's Priest...Live! was their first album since Stained Class not to go gold. Ram It Down (1988) was a return to raw metal and returned the group to gold status. Dave Holland left after this record and was replaced by Scott Travis for 1990's Painkiller. Like Ram It Down, Painkiller didn't make an impact outside the band's diehard fans, yet the group was still a popular concert act. In the early '90s, Rob Halford began his own thrash band, Fight, and soon left Judas Priest.
In 1996, following a solo album by Glenn Tipton, the band rebounded with a new young singer Tim "Ripper" Owens, formerly of Winter's Bane. They spent the next year recording Jugulator amongst much self-perpetuated hype concerning Priest's return to their roots. The album debuted at #82 on the Billboard album charts upon it's release in late 1997. Rob Halford had by then disbanded Fight following a decrease in interest and signed with Trent Reznor's Nothing label with a new project, tentatively titled Gimp.
After more than 12 years apart Judas Priest and original lead vocalist Rob Halford reunited for a global concert tour in 2004. The definitive Judas Priest lineup of Rob Halford, lead guitarist Glenn Tipton, lead guitarist K.K. Downing, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis are back. The original band members re-established their personal and professional relationships since 1999, sparking hundreds of reunion rumors along the way. The reunion tour also celebrated the band's 30th anniversary.
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