Contact Us

35 Years Ago: Judas Priest Release Their Fifth Album – With Two Different Names

Columbia Records

Judas Priest released their fifth album in October 1978. But what it was called depends on where you live.

In the U.S., the LP was titled ‘Hell Bent for Leather,’ a fitting choice given the band’s newly acquired leather-and-studs image. But almost everywhere else the album was known by its original title: ‘Killing Machine.’ In a curious move, the States chose sex over violence — a rarity in the U.S. marketplace.

But the music on Priest’s fifth release was the same, and it firmly announced to fans that the British metal champions were finding new ways to both streamline and modernize their sound by dispensing with most of the lumbering tempos, protracted song lengths and unnecessary complexities typical of the proto-metal and prog rock found on their earlier records.

Songs like ‘Delivering the Goods,’ ‘Rock Forever,’ ‘Hell Bent for Leather’ and ‘Running Wild’ are short, fiery and to the point. Perhaps inspired, in part at least, by punk’s relative simplicity, the tracks retain the undiluted metallic power and sheer sonic weight of the group’s earlier cuts, but bolster the overall pace, energy, and melody — ultimately expanding their commercial appeal.

Once Priest perfected their new musical and visual direction, initially on tour (documented on 1979’s ‘Unleashed in the East’) and then on the 1980 follow-up album ‘British Steel,’ heavy metal was ready to be embraced by mainstream radio, paving the way for its rise toward global domination throughout the ’80s.

And some of that progression (not to mention the steep spike in leather jacket sales) can be traced back to the confusingly twin-titled album Judas Priest released in 1978. No matter what you call it, ‘Killing Machine’ / ‘Hell Bent for Leather’ was a pivotal record in the band’s career and, eventually, the history of metal.

Next: Top 10 Judas Priest Songs

Listen to Judas Priest’s ‘Hell Bent for Leather’ / ‘Killing Machine’

Recommended For You

Around the Web

Best of Ultimate Classic Rock

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Register on Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a member? Sign up here

Register on Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!