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Rocka Rolla

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Album Review

A sketchy and underfocused debut, Rocka Rolla nonetheless begins to delineate the musical territory Judas Priest would explore over the remainder of the decade: frighteningly dark in its effect, tight in its grooves, and capable of expanding to epic song lengths. On the other hand, Rocka Rolla is also murkier, less precise and powerful in its riff attack, and more blues-based; the stylistic debts to Black Sabbath and Deep Purple are obvious at this juncture, although they would become much less apparent on subsequent releases. The compositions alternate between short songs and extended suites; some are decent, but overall they don't establish a real direction and tend to plod aimlessly in many of the longer pieces. Mostly a curiosity for hardcore fans, Rocka Rolla definitely hints at Judas Priest's potential and originality, but doesn't always suggest the quantum leap in vision that would occur with their very next record. [Koch's 2000 CD reissue appends the version of "Diamonds and Rust" previously found on the compilation Hero, Hero.]

Customer Reviews

Rough edges - but lasting qualities

I very much agree with the 'official' review but would put a more positive assessment forward for RR. Relatively recently I found myself thinking about my past JP material (lost in various house and technology moves) and I found it was the RR material that stood out as different. No doubt later material (for me, Sad Wings...., is a much tighter and consistent work) demostrated professional and musical maturity and cohesion - but by then numerous other bands were coming in to the mix and echoing somewhat the energy and style of Priest - so JPs contribution was becoming diluted. For this reason some of their later work, for me, gets lost amid other bands, but RR continues to have a few truly insightful and original pieces - and it is that originality that ultimately stands the test of time. Looking across the whole of the JP catalogue, if I was forced to take one track, it would be Run of the Mill - I can't think of another band that ever delivered this unique combination of melody, melancholy, vocal range and energy and solid band support.

A good first album

I bought the record version back in 1977 and recently downloaded it again. Its a very good first album which clearly showed where the band were likely to go. Although not as stong as Sad Wings of Destiny its worth listening to. Whats with the stupid cover though? The original one is a bottle top in the style of a famous soft drink...perhaps they threatened to take legal action???

Not the Priest we know

Rocka Rolla doesnt sound anything like the Priest we all know and love (i.e '80s onwards) but it's an enjoyable album none the less. Its not exactly metal but songs like 'Run Of The Mill' and 'Never Satisfied' are great.


Formed: 1969 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Judas Priest was one of the most influential heavy metal bands of the '70s, spearheading the New Wave of British Heavy Metal late in the decade. Decked out in leather and chains, the band fused the gothic doom of Black Sabbath with the riffs and speed of Led Zeppelin, as well as adding a vicious two-lead guitar attack; in doing so, they set the pace for much popular heavy metal from 1975 until 1985, as well as laying the groundwork for the speed and death metal of the '80s. Formed in Birmingham,...
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