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What were Judas Priest’s “Best Years”?

I’m kind of in a bad way right now, and it’s exam season. Despite this, I’m going to try to keep the ball rolling. Here’s a short piece on the different eras of one of my favourite bands, Judas Priest.

I think Judas Priest’s biggest time in the spotlight (definitely their biggest time for sales) was from British Steel (1980) up to Turbo (1986), at which point they got too commercial and then crashed with Ram it Down in 1988 (An album I still really like.) After that we got Painkiller (1991), but Halford must have still been interested in spiralling outward, because shortly after he exited the band and started a solo career. (Not on purpose, there was an issue with the label, but he really wanted to do solo work)

Back in the beginning, Rocka Rolla (1974) to around Stained Class (1978), they were considered by some to be a band with an experimental style. The kind of early metal that still mixed with the blues and was still called rock (check Dreamer Deceiver). The pinnacle of this sound, I think most would agree, was Stained Class. Afterwards Hell Bent for Leather dropped; the transition into the British Steel era.

When Halford left after Painkiller, the band died. There was no Judas Priest from 1992-1995. It was during those exact years that Halford’s solo band Fight ran. Other ex-Priest members weren’t slouching either. Scott Travis actually joined Fight, and Tiptonn recorded material that would later become Baptizm of Fire (1997) and Edge of the World (2006). It was around then that the band decided to get back together. They had everyone except for a singer, (Halford would move on to 2wo in 1994 and then “Halford” in 1999) so they started auditioning. One day Scott Travis found someone who had a crazy vocal range, and even knew how to perform all the Priest classics.

And thus, in 1996, the so called “Ripper era” was born. With Halford gone, Glenn Tipton took the reins (I think) as the leader. A year later Jugulator came out, and it was a little intense, but it made sense after Painkiller. Demolition (2001) was probably the biggest black sheep of the Judas Priest discography, but I have a theory about that. K.K. Downing wrote a lot less of the songs on it (5/13), which meant that Glenn Tipton penned 60% of the album without him. And compare it to Batptizm of Fire! They sound very similar. With Tim Owens as the vocalist it’s true that Priest sounded different, but it wasn’t because of him. It was because the writing team of Halford, K.K., and Tipton, went from 3 to 2, and then almost to 1. (This may have been the beginning of the end for K.K.)

Since Halford returned in 2003, I feel like the band has looking back and trying to figure themselves out. Angel of Retribution (2004) was highly retrospective, referencing a lot of older songs and styles, while adding a new touch. Released in 2008, Nostradamus was an experimental step in an interesting direction. I think with a bit more editing and research it could have been great, but it comes off a little longwinded. Redeemer of Souls, like Retribution, feels like a look back, but also a look forward with songs like, “The Beginning of the End” and “Going Down in Flames”.

The new album, Firepower, looks highly energetic. It sounds like a fusion of Halford’s Resurrection, Jugulator, and Angel of Retribution. They aren’t messing around this time around. Although it’s hard to tell with a 15 second clip, I feel like they’re returning to a more natural direction.

For me, their best years are modern Priest. I like to see what they have been doing most recently, and I want to make the best of the newer albums while the band is still kicking. When Ian Hill was asked what his favourite was, he said, “Ask anybody that, I always say ‘the last album’.” Hill explains proudly, “Which at that moment in time it is the new album. Just because we’ve spent so much time on it, you know? But it is” (Macek). This sense of pride In the end, the “best era” for Judas Priest should be the one that matches your own tastes best. And don’t be afraid to check them all out from time to time as well.


Works Cited

Macek, J.C. “‘We’re All Fans’: An Interview with Judas Priest’s Ian Hill.” PopMatters, PopMatters, 1 June 2017, www.popmatters.com/193529-were-all-fans-an-interview-with-judas-priests-ian-hill-2495529544.html.

Judas Priest has been one of my favourite bands since around August of 2014 when Redeemer of Souls came out to . I listened to them pretty seriously until around early 2017. I still listen to them here and there, but my main band at the moment is Falling Up.

Daniel Triumph.

P. S.

I do have another story in mind, but it’s going to take a bit of work. Hopefully I get it out later this week.

Bare Handed

Jason Arson walked through the streets, sliding leather gloves onto his fingers as he went. The reason Jason wore gloves was so that he could distance himself from any actions he made while wearing them. It was a single degree of separation, but for him it was enough.

He was twenty minutes behind his schedule, and it made him agitated. He was still ten minutes ahead, his schedules were very early, but it still put him out of his element. He had less time to hand anything unexpected or unwanted. He had considered breaking into a run or light jog, but either of these would make him stand out. Right now, he needed to blend.

Jason had grown his hair and beard specifically so that no one would recognise him. So far it was working because the townspeople didn’t, especially since he no longer wore the uniform of a guard. Those that knew him best and might see through the disguise were in the castle. He knew he should feel safe about remaining anonymous in the crowd, but he felt as if he had forgotten something.

He turned a corner and saw it at the end of the street. The building with the item he was looking for. He looked at the sundial in the centre of the intersection. He was still behind, but he still had some time. He would sneak into the front door of the building just as the back door was being locked, and then hide as the owner locked up the front and left. Then he would find the paper bag, and unlock one of the doors, and leave. When Jason left, he would have to leave the building unlocked, since he had no key. That wouldn’t be an issue depending on how valuable the item inside the bag was.

Jason walked down the street towards the building and then he noticed someone. He recognized one of the faces. Why, was it a castle guard he knew? But they should all be on duty right now. He looked at the person’s face. It was a younger woman. No, he knew her for a different reason. This was one of the construction workers who had helped renovate the castle when had worked there.

He imagined what she would say if she recognized him. She would ask him what happened, she would ask him why he left. She would say that she was going to tell everyone that he was still in town. That he had just grown a beard, and to look out for him on the streets. To say hi, or something. Jason shook his head. She would ruin everything. He swiftly turned around before anyone noticed him, and took a detour. This was why he liked to be early.

When he finally got  to the building, he figured that he had no more than a few minutes. Could couldn’t seen anyone inside, but the door was still open. He figured that they must have gone to lock up the back, so he rushed inside and looked around. Where was the paper bag? He looked around the cabinets of syrups. He was confused, syrups used to be considered medicine, until people found out that they weren’t very healthy, that they just made a person feel good. Sort of. Syrups were now just used for intoxication. Jason sighed, and then saw the paper bag on a side counter. He walked over and grabbed it, then immediately realized his mistake.

He had messed up the order and grabbed the bag before the owner had left.

A man rounded the corner of the shop, just as Jason guessed would happen. Jason didn’t freeze, his instincts knew that that would look more suspicious. Instead, he continued picking up the paper bag, and then looked at the man, as if he belonged here, as if this was normal behaviour. And, thanks to ingrained social cues, the man believed it.

“That’s a new drink. I haven’t made a place for it on the shelves yet.”

On the shelves? Jason looked inside the paper bag. It was a bottle of syrups. He assumed that he had grabbed the wrong bag. This couldn’t be what he had been sent to take. He looked around for another bag, but there were none. This was what he had been sent to steal? Of all things, a bottle of syrups?

“Yep, it’s not a very expensive one, but it is our newest product. You can buy it if you like.”

Jason considered putting the bag down, and saying no, then exiting and coming back later to take it. That wouldn’t work, he would immediately be assumed to be the thief! And what then, if the guard was looking for his description? They would know both his trimmed and full grown faces! He couldn’t grow more beard. Jason thought for a moment, and then he knew what to do.

He put the bottle and the bag on the table.

“How much?” He asked.

The owner said, “twelve Solune.”

Jason nodded. He took his gloves off, put them in his jacket pocket, and took his coin pouch out of it. With his bare hands, he paid the man and took the bag with the bottle of syrups and walked out of the shop. He headed back to where he started. As he walked, he considered having a smug conversation with the leader about how he ended up getting the bag, what was actually in it in the first place.

Writing this one was actually a real struggle. I haven’t written anything outside of essays in the last ten days (I technically wrote four last week, although two were shorter philosophy essays for an exam). Sunchaser was written on the 23rd, and it’s the 3rd now, so it’s really been a while. (You should check Sunchaser out, it’s cool).

Anyway, my mind was blank. I thought about writing another chapter of the Solune Prince, but I’m really still not sure what to do about that series. So, I looked through the music on my computer for inspiration. I looked at a Calvin Harris album that I haven’t listened to in over a year, (his lyrics are kind of shallow), and found Slow Acid. It reminded me of the one preview I wrote with Jason Arson way back, and so here we are. (And Jason’s back story has been expanded upon since that one piece. Although the surround project has since been mostly abandoned.)

Anyway, hope you enjoyed it,

Daniel Triumph.

You can follow me:
For updates: Facebook, and Twitter
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Pataphysics!

I’ve been really bogged down by university with essays this week.

Forward

This essay revolves around the informal, joke-like theory of the “pataphysical,” a realm beyond physics, and beyond metaphysics. Applied to language, what that means is looking at a word and seeing its physical aspects, then using that as a vehicle for poetry. Example:

Significance
Sign if I can ce
Sign if I can see

My essay argues that that can make for great puns, and then goes over some examples of people (Paul Dutton and bpNichol) who have actually applied “pataphysics” to their poetry.

If that interests you, or if you’re unsure, read on. If not, well, don’t worry, I’ll post something more interesting in the future.

Multiple Meanings in Pataphysics

Poetry is different than prose because it is more playful with language. Epics and sonnets are defined by certain structural elements such as length, meter, or rhyme. Some poems deviate or actively avoid structure. But a general statement could be made about most poetry, which is that it focuses on words, sentences, maybe verses. bpNichol took interest in a realm beyond, or perhaps below that, the place below the level of the word. He was interested in creating poetry by examining letters and the sounds that they can create. Nichol named this Pataphysics, the realm beyond physics and metaphysics that both does and does not exist. This led to poetry that focused on creating multiple meanings for a single word, and poetry that drew words out of other words. This essay will be focusing on the former, using the pataphysical to create multiple meanings within one word.  bpNichol and Paul Dutton have used pataphysics to create words with multiple meanings within a poem. Continue reading “Pataphysics!”

Sunchaser

We live on a boat that sails across the sea. The ship is called the Sunchaser. I consider this to be a lazy name, because it’s simply a description of what the ship does. We follow the sun around the world. I used to wonder how we could follow the sun all the time, so I asked one of the captains.

He told me, “the ship is powered by wind blowing in the sails.” When I asked where the wind came from, he said, ” the air moves from cold places to warm places. So, when we see the sun, the ship moves slower, and our ship starts falling behind. Then, when it’s dark, we get caught in the winds that blow from behind us, where it’s cold, back towards the sun. This gives us a burst of speed, and we eventually catch back up to the sun and to the slower moving wind. This is how night and day work on the ship.”

We have been following the sun for many years. There are families, plants, and animals here too. In fact, I was born on this ship. Occasionally, we encounter other boats who sail alongside us. We meet new people. Sometimes, I wonder about the islands and lands that we pass. I decided to ask the other captain what’s on the land.

She told me, “on the land are other people. Many years ago, the other captain and I decided that we wanted to ride on a ship that would chase the sun. We wanted to take control of our abilities and use them in a productive way. So we learned how to sail, and found others who had the abilities and wanted to come along. Living on the sea is a lot more work than living on the land, but the reward is the sun.”

I asked her why we don’t ever stop on the land.

She told me, “we have stopped, when you were much younger than you are now. Some of the eldest of our group were unable to keep up with the tasks of sailing. We had to wait a very long time for the sun to return and bring us wind again. When you stay at harbour for too long, people get out of practice, and lose the important routines needed at sea. Some of our people gave up during the wait and decided to stay on the land instead. It’s easier to live on the land than here at sea. The ground isn’t made of ever-shifting waters. There were people living on the land, however, who were interested in taking the place of those who left. We were grateful that they would come help us follow the sun.”

I asked the captain why the sun was so important if we could never truly reach it.

She replied, “keeping up with the sun is a very difficult task, but the reward is that we have more frequent exposure to its light than those who don’t. We are able to see it by applying our own efforts. Instead of waiting on the land for the sun to come to us, we go to the sun.”

The other captain overheard us, and as we spoke, it came time for the two to trade duties. He told me that he could take a short break with me, and that I could ask him questions. So, I asked him if the people on the land were different.

He told me, “as you know, some people can’t sail, so they have to stay on the land. Some have decided that they would rather not take the effort to learn, so they remain on the land. Others realize that the effort needs to be maintained even after learning, while sailing, so they stay too. Others still never hear of life on the water until later in their lives, and they decide to train then, and join a ship.

“There are also those who were sailing that tire of the life following the sun, and decide that the rewards aren’t worth the effort any more. Others are pessimistic, and choose to believe that it wasn’t worth the effort in the first place. On the other end of the scale, some people were lucky enough to be born sailing, and learn the ropes as they grow up. Some people sail all the way until they die.”

The captain gave me a chance to think through what he had said.

“But, to answer your question directly, the people on the land are different, but not in the way you might think. As an example, you might find someone just like yourself living on the land. Outside of those who are simply unable, anyone can train and become a sailor. Anyone can learn, and practice the skills.”

He scratched his chin thoughtfully, then said, “as my partner said to me, the real difference between the people on the land and the people chasing the sun is the level of discipline and the kinds of habits they maintain.”

I asked if habits really was the only difference.

He told me, “yes, and the discipline to maintain those habits! Now, with that in mind, I think we both have duties we should be tending to, is that right?”

I hopped up and nodded. I headed to the area of the ship that I was responsible for. While I was working I thought back to what I had believed about the ship’s name. Was it a lazy name?

Inspired by the words, “ever receding horizon.”

I’m struggling to create narratives with underlying meaning. I know that this piece might be a little overt about the whole process, but it’s a first step, and I’m really happy about it. Once I get a solid grip on all this, then I can play with subtlety.

Daniel Triumph.

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Sword Training (The Solune Prince ActIII, Si)

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Chloe and Lillith sat at the breakfast table, eating in silence. They eyed each other, each wondering what the other was thinking.

Lillith wondered if Chloe would show up to the gymnasium for practice as she had promised, or if she would forget and wander into the city like she had the day before.

Chloe wondered if Lillith was doubting her, if Lillith believed her word, her promise at all. They had both come to the agreement that she was to train from morning until early afternoon.

And so they sat in anticipation. Chloe’s eyes darted to Lillith’s plate. She tried to pace herself so that Lillith finished first. Lillith didn’t notice at first, but eventually it was clear that Chloe was eating at an extremely leisured pace. And then Col re-entered the room. Having finished serving the meal, he sat down between them and, oblivious, began to speak.

“No, no, I told him, I don’t own the building, I just live here, and work here! I told him. And he looked at me suspiciously! I can’t tell if he was stopping me because I don’t look like the kind of person who would live here, or if it was my missing teeth, or what. How would he have seen my teeth from where he was? I wasn’t talking, my mouth was closed. So I guess wasn’t the teeth, huh. I just don’t understand. I tell you, the officers around here are getting more and more paranoid. It’s like they’re looking for something. Or maybe they’re just looking to pick a fight? I don’t know, I don’t know.” Col shook his head and then began to eat.

Distracted, Chloe had unconsciously finished her food. She gave a half frown, stood, said thank you, and then exited. She stopped in the hallway, looking left and right. She couldn’t remember where the gym was. She thought, maybe I should have stayed at the table and waited? That would have been polite too.

“Ah,” she exhaled. Too late now.

Chloe went to the ground floor to look for the room. She tried a few doors and eventually found the right one. She opened it and peered inside.

“Ah, so you found it,” Lillith rounded the corner, “well, don’t just stand there, go in, let’s get started.”

“Sure.”

They entered the gym, and Lillith headed to the left wall on which hung her sword collection. She took a couple of thin, edge-less swords off the wall.

“These are training swords. They have no edge, and weigh less so that cutting is safer. And they flex more and have this roundly folded tip, so that thrusting is safer. We’ll use them while you’re learning so that we don’t have to call for the Servant of Duels every time, but still don’t cause too much accidental injury.”

“Okay.”

“We’re going to start with some exercises, because I don’t think you’ve enough strength to wield a sword properly.”

“Well, I fought okay on my way here…” Chloe said.

“Was it a quick fight?” Lillith asked.

“Quick? I fought a whole horde of wild Riley people.”

Lillith tilted her head to the side, “consider how many cuts you actually threw.”

Chloe thought back and tried to form an estimate, “I guess around seven or eight.”

“Right, and you said they were wild, which I’m assuming means untrained. Should we have to retaliate against an army, or battalion, or whatever is thrown our way should the situation in the city turn dark, you’re going to need to be able to throw out more than seven or eight. And, since we’re expecting trained guards and officers, you’ll need the strength to pull your weapon back.”

“Pull it back?”

Lillith handed Chloe on of the training swords, and then stood beside her.

“Throw out a cut, and then pull it back. At the same time as me, ready?”

They both swung forward. Lillith’s sword cut down faster, but she waited for Chloe to finish cutting. Then, she returned to her starting position. The gap between the two women’s return was noticeably larger than the gap between their cuts.

“Hey,” Chloe said, “that’s not fair, you have more training than me.”

Lillith nodded, “You’re absolutely right, but that’s not the kind of argument you can make against an enemy. And, I didn’t show you this to compete. I’m showing you that you need to build a kind of strength that most people haven’t.”

“What’s that?”

“Strength in your forearms. A lot of hand movements are controlled by the wrists.”

“And the wrists is controlled by tendons attached to muscles in the forearm. And swords are heavier than everyday objects, so those muscles need to have more strength, right?”

Lillith nodded, “Err, right. Yes. So, what you need to do is exercise those muscles. For today, that’s all we’ll work on. Then I’ll start adding more in training.”

So, under Lillith’s instruction, Chloe spent a few hours throwing her weapon out and pulling it back in. Lillith made her focus on the speed of her pull back.

“You want to have your sword in a position to defend or cut again as soon as possible. It’s easier to attack, both through your thought process and by how muscles work, so for today we won’t focus on that.”

As she made cuts with the weapon, Lillith added diagonal cuts, and made her alternate. The work seemed to be easy at first, but eventually it began to wear on Chloe. She began to sweat, and her arm started aching. Lillith allowed for some breaks, and gave her water, but they kept going until Chloe started to feel pain.

“Al right, we’ll pick up tomorrow.”

“I think I can keep going through the pain.” Chloe panted.

“That’s admirable of you, but if you damage yourself, then we have to wait for you to heal. You still need to come back tomorrow.”

“Right.”

“Well, we stopped early today, but that’s fine. I’ll get Col to prepare lunch. We can eat when it’s ready. And don’t forget, you’re going to feel this in the morning.”

“Ah…”

Daniel Triumph.
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First draft disclaimer: This narrative is a first draft, and is therefore subject to grammar errors, repetitiveness, lack of clarity, repetitiveness, weak character voice and other issues. Later drafts will smooth such things over, but for now they remain.

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