In the fall of 1983, after Screaming for Vengeance going platinum and a successful tour in support of the album, Judas Priest journeyed to Ibiza, Spain to start working on their follow-up album Defenders of the Faith.
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Upon its release of January 4th, 1984 Judas Priest was able to replicate their success with Defenders of the Faith because they managed to utilize the same tools that made Screaming for Vengeance a hit. Both albums highlighted their strong points, which included their twin guitar riffs, heavy-pounding drums, and Rob Halford‘s signature falsetto vocals. Fans took notice how “Electric Eye” sounded similar to “Firewheel Burning,” as did “Some Heads are Gonna Roll” to “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin,” and “The Sentinel” resembeled “Screaming for Vengeance.”
What made their production of 10 powerful anthems in a manner of months remarkable was the fact that Ibiza, Spain was filled with plenty of distractions like sunny beaches, entertainment, and indulgences that would have acted as a pleasurable buffet for the band.
The album wasn’t without its controversy after some of the lyrics from “Eat Me Alive” raised a few red flags with the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), securing them a spot on the “filthy fifteen.” The lyrics in question were “Gut-wrenching frenzy that deranges every joint/I’m gonna force you at gun point… to eat me alive.” Susan Baker, wife of former Secretary of Treasury James Baker labelled the song as “the one about forced oral sex at gunpoint.”
Today Halford is able to laugh about how their song was able to ruffle a few feathers. But at the time when it happened, attitudes were much different. Halford believes that the lyrics of the songs were massively misinterpreted, and were taken completely out of context.
In the end, things proved to lean in Judas Priest’s benefit thanks to the amount of public support they had received.
Despite the outrage they received, the songs of Defenders of the Faith contained messages of self-empowerment, freedom, and revenge, as well as plenty of mayhem that matched the mechanical beast on the album’s cover.