Killer Employee’s Pension (Tarantura TCDJUDAS-2)
Shinjuku Koseinenkin Hall Tokyo, Japan February 9, 1979
Disc 1 (53:42) Opening, SE / Start, Exciter, Running Wild, The Ripper, Diamonds and Rust, Rock Forever, Beyond the Realms Of Death, The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown), Delivering The Goods, White Heat Red Hot, Sinner, Evil Fantasies
Disc 2 (47:01) Victim Of Changes, Genocide, Starbreaker, Drum Solo, Starbreaker, Hell Bend For Leather, Take On The World, Tyrant, Announcement
By the late 1970’s Judas Priest had released four brilliant records that had the band honing their skills as a metal act and where starting to carve out what is considered the classic Priest image of Leather and studs, a look that would represent what most all other acts of the genre would adopt in one form or another. The record the band would release that was the first with this look is the brilliant Killing Machine, aka Hell Bent For Leather. The record was released in October 1978 and would be created by the lineup of Halford, Hill, Downing, Tipton, and Binks, for this reviewer the classic line up of the band.
The band played a four date tour of Japan in February 1979 from which was created the bands first live album, Unleashed in the East culled from recordings made at two shows, Feb 10 and 15. The official live record was a single record and omitted several songs from the bands live set, this new recording from Tarantura features the complete show from February 9 culled from the Mr. Peach Archives. The recording itself is very good and boarders excellent, if anything it is not a bright as his Rainbow recordings I am so used to hearing but is clear, well balanced and detailed recording of an excellent performance and sounds great when played loud.
The intro is kind of a futuristic sound like it was culled from a Sci Fi movie that leads into the opener of Exciter, the fast paced song has been a long time favorite punctuated by the line “Fall to your knees and repent if you please”. What I like about this line up is the superb drumming from Les Binks, his double bass drum set up set the standard for others who would occupy the drum stool. What else is interesting is that many people refer to the official live record as Unleashed in the Studio, a moniker that the band themselves would dispute saying very little touch up was done. I would agree with them as the band play an excellent and professional concert. Almost immediately they plow right into Running Wild from the Killing Machine record (I own the import version and not the American version so it is what I refer to), the song features some nice soloing by KK Downing who’s playing some Hendrix inspired notes.
The Ripper from the seminal Sad Wings Of Destiny record is next, Rob changes the lyrics to “Tokyo town streets”, the audience claps along with the band and the harmony styled guitars are in perfect sync. The recorder seems isolated and the crowd sounds like they are distanced away. There are a few shouters close to him but do not interfere but add an effect of craziness to the vibe, something you need at a priest show.
A standard Diamonds And Rust and Rock forever are next, the former is highlighted by Glen playing the leads perfectly and is a great version. “A very beautiful ballad” is next, the epic Beyond The Realms of Death from the Stained Class record is a highlight. I can remember hearing the song live for the first time when the band resurrected it for their Ram It Down tour, the spotlight on the mirrored ball added to the atmosphere of the song. Rob songs with great passion, his years in theatre would give him the ability to deliver the lyric in dramatic fashion and is a superb rendition of the song.
Green Manalishi is very slow and heavy and sounds like the band is in slow motion but is very dynamic when Tipton and Downing lock in the main riff. Killing Machine’s opener is next, Delivering The Goods is classic Priest, perfection between searing riffs, growling lyrics and masterful drumming from Binks, beat you into submission for sure. Another set highlight for me is the brilliant Sinner from the Sin After Sin record, psychedelic futuristic metal at its best, a song that features KK Downing doing his best Hendrix impersonation right from the start just gets you, brilliant song. Evil Fantasies closes the first disc, the slow lumbering nature of the song sounds reminiscent of something Black Sabbath was producing around the same time.
Rob is introducing the next some from the Sad Wings Of Destiny record and a girl in the audience shouts out Victim of Changes. Quintessential Priest, the song best defines the band as it has elements from the origins of the band while making a statement about the band and what path they intended to blaze musically. Co written by band founder Al Atkins and was called Whiskey woman in its earliest incarnation, the band transformed the song after Rob joined the band into a metal classic. The song goes through many movements that give it its character and incredible depth, Rob always puts a little extra something into this song and his high notes during it a earth shattering to say the least.
Genocide is transformed into the epic length of over tem minutes, the band augment the songs arraignments for an almost jam styled trip that was obviously trimmed down for the official live album. some people do not like the longer versions they played during this period, I myself love them as the band has a chance to do a little improvising and stray from the set list precise musical nature. Starbreaker finishes the main set, the song starts out with some spacey type leads from KK that leads to the driving riff of the song, again a favorite from the Sin After Sin record it has a slightly faster tempo, the audience obviously love the song, the sing and clap throughout, Les Binks gets a solo spot during it and shows off his hard hitting style.
Hell Bend for Leather starts the encores, fast and furious it is a statement of what the band would achieve in the 80’s. It is also interesting to hear the song without the Harley Davidson intro’s the band would soon adopt, this version is very close to the studio version. Take On The World is the bands early stab and an anthem type song that leads directly into, with some nice gongs from Les Binks, the grand finale of Tyrant.
As with Genocide it is much more effective live than the studio version, faster and heavier with some excellent drumming make them definitive versions of the songs. The tape ends as the audience quietly leave as an announcement comes over the PA, as with most of the Peach recordings the completeness of them is one of the enjoyable aspects of the recordings.
Gatefold style cover adorned with pictures of the band from the tour and some official shots of them ala Unleashed In The East and a scan of the ticket and master cassettes adorn the center. Oh yes the cds have pictures, Rob on cd 1 and Tipton and Downing on the second. Great recording, great concert, and great presentation make this release a winner, Tarantura continues to raise the standards offering these superb hard rock and heavy metal masters from the vast Peach Archive and it makes you wonder….what’s next ?If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)