Many heavy metal fans have wondered why albums in their preferred genre have not been given the audiophile treatment on a regular basis. I myself remember a time when heavy metal and hard rock on compact disc was feared because it was assumed the volume and clarity obtainable on a disc would damage stereo equipment. It shows how little we knew about CD technology back then, and of course how much we’ve progressed since the cold ages of digital.
Audio Fidelity will be releasing a brand new, 24k gold CD pressing of Judas Priest‘s classic 1978 album, Hell Bent For Leather. Known outside of the U.S. as Killing Machine, this new remaster was done by Steve Hoffman. To avoid confusion between the US and UK pressings, Hoffman used the American track listing for this, so it will feature their version of Fleetwood Mac‘s “The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)”. The Audio Fidelity disc will be released on January 19th.
In addition to the audiophile CD, vinyl junkies will be pleased to know that Back On Black will be releasing most of Judas Priest’s Columbia output that featured Rob Halford as the lead vocalist, including 2005’s Angel Of Retribution (Halford left the band after the Painkiller tour in 1991). The albums that are not a part of this vinyl reissue program are oddly enough, their two live albums, Unleashed In The East and Priest: Live!.
Since track listings on the Back To Black website also show the inclusion of bonus tracks featured on the remastered CD’s done by Jon Astley, fans are wondering if these LP’s are simply using Astley’s remasters. A number of Judas Priest fans have commented on various music boards that they did not like what Astley did to the albums, with a few hoping that they would use the original master tapes and have them worked on by someone who might do a better job. Nonetheless, the albums will be reissued throughout 2010, with Stained Glass and Sin After Sin making it out first on February 22nd.