Judas Priest's 1984 release Defenders of the Faith is my third favorite 1980s Priest album behind Screaming for Vengeance and barely behind British Steel. Many of the tracks off Defender are better than British Steel but it is not quite as solid as the 1980 classic.
Defenders offers some of the best all-time Priest tracks: "The Sentinel," "Love Bites," and "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll." They have a unique guitar sound that is difficult to explain in words. The sound gives me images of a futuristic gladiator arena where metal gods do battle overlooked by the feared Sentinel. What would that sound like? Listen to this album. My favorite track, however, is the power ballad "Night Comes Down." It is beautiful with, as one would expect, amazing Rob Halford vocals.
The rest of the album is fairly solid. The single "Freewheel Burning" is fast and furious. Although it is not one of my favorite tracks, hearing Halford sing at breakneck speed is incredible! "Jawbreaker" is a Sentinel-style song with that unique guitar sound. "Rock Hard Ride Free" is a catchy rocker. "Eat Me Alive" got the PMRC leaders' pantyhose in a knot with the highly suggestive lyrics (probably giving some guys the creeps now that Halford has officially "come out") and the line "I'm gonna force you at gunpoint." It is not one of their better tracks. "Heavy Duty/Defenders of the Faith" starts out like "Eat Me Alive II" with some risqué lyrics but ends up being a salute to metal. The title track is just a 1:30 chanting of "We are defenders of the faith." I'm not a big fan of songs that celebrate the band, its fans, and what they do (Ram it Down has a lot of self congratulatory songs like "Heavy Metal" and "I'm a Rocker"). Though it ends on a low note, most of Defenders of the Faith is excellent and one of Priest's best.