Forget everything that happened post-1985 and try and remember Judas Priest as what they were, the mainstream face of true heavy metal for a very long time. Featuring the incredible Rob Halford, Tyrant: The Original Masters is a collection of songs from their first few albums that stand out as their "classics." The band was never quite as good as their contemporaries, but instead they had a great twin-guitar attack that masked their lack of memorable hooks and a singer whose charisma alone carried them across some very rocky terrain. These songs showcase the development of the band from a fairly generic group of hard rockers (mostly the stuff from the hilariously titled Rocka Rolla) to a strong batch of heavy metal soldiers ready to carry on the good fight. Classic metal anthems like "Ripper" and "Diamonds & Rust" can be found here, as well as underrated tracks like the dramatic "Tyrant" and the Queen-esque ballad "Epitaph." The latter track is the most curious inclusion, as this is a side of the band they were rarely willing to show when their image was one of leather-clad bikers in the '80s. This makes a great primer for their classic British Steel/Point of Entry/Screaming for Vengeance period that was to follow, and anyone who owns those albums as well as this one probably has all the Judas Priest anyone could ever want. This is a highly recommended disc for any fan of classic metal, especially since it eliminates the need to buy at least three albums.
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AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano