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When talking about metal music, it's pretty hard not to mention Judas Priest, a band from Birmingham that has been shaping the metal scene for years. And with more than 50 million records sold, there's no surprise. It's also pretty hard not to admit that their "British Steel" album was the impetus for the "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" genre, and what an album it was (and very much still is)! Vocalist and metal magician Rob Halford in particular embodies this genre.
Their songs "United", "Living After Midnight" and "Breaking The Law" brought life-long fans to the band from the metal scene and beyond. Unfortunately, though, in 1990 the boys from the UK stood on trial in the USA for producing "Satanic" content, but luckily the case was dismissed by the district court. Who knows? Maybe masterpieces like "Jugulator" or "Angel of Retribution" might never have existed otherwise. Without a shadow of doubt, the Judas Priest boys' recordings are legendary, but even more unforgettable are their merciless live performances.
Rob Halford - the Metal God
Vocalist Rob Halford has had as much of a turbulent life as Judas Priest itself. With his extravagant taste in fashion, this 70s and 80s metal music pioneer from Sutton Coldfield was the very first metal musician to publicly come out as gay.
He didn't always have an easy ride, and repeatedly stressed in interviews that he felt marginalised, isolated and lonely because of his sexuality. As a way to deal with his negative emotions, his frustration and fears, he turned his attention to music and lyrics. It was difficult for Rob to come out, especially in the heavy metal scene - which is heavily dominated by heterosexuals, but luckily he found great acceptance and support from fellow musicians and from his family, who reacted positively to him coming out.
Today, Rob is not only a Metal God... he's also a gay icon, using his popularity to encourage other people to be open about their sexuality and to advocate against inequality and discrimination.
Judas Priest fun facts
Judas Priest in figures: to date, the band has released 17 studio albums, 6 live albums, 6 compilations and 33 singles. And the sales figures are just as impressive - the Brits have sold more than 40 million albums.
Head to toe in leather and studs, not forgetting a healthy dose of S&M, that's the unmistakeable Judas Priest style that caused quite a stir in the 70s and 80s.
You may wonder what (or who) inspired the band to name one of their albums "British Steel", and the answer is startlingly simple: Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton worked for the company.
Judas Priest merchandise
If you enjoy Judas Priest's music as much as we do, why not check out the EMP Judas Priest Online Shop? Kit yourself out with Judas Priest shirts, records, CDs and much more. Check out the wide range of impressive Judas Priest t-shirts and hoodies that are just as original as Rob Halford's sensational outfits.