Released on February 26th 1981, Point of Entry is the seventh studio album by British metal gods Judas Priest.
In the 36 years since its release, Point Of Entry has become somewhat of a forgotten gem in the Priest discography. Released just ten months after their worldwide breakthrough album British Steel and followed up by the band's biggest selling album Screaming For Vengeance less than a year and half later. Point of Entry often gets lost in the shadows of these iconic metal classics.
After the success of the previous years' British Steel, Judas Priest found themselves with a bigger budget to record its follow up and sonically came up with their best sounding album to date. The band also had very little time to come up with new material for their new record.. The majority of the songs were written in the studio, which was typically not the way the band had done their previous records. Generally, Halford and Co. had most of the material worked out prior to entering the studio, but with the success and touring for British Steel there was no time for a break.
British Steel had spawned a minor hit with the anthem-esque "Living After Midnight," so the band took a more commercial direction with the material on Point of Entry. Three singles and videos were released from the record, including "Heading Out To The Highway". That song opens the record and sets the tone for the the songs that follow: a crunchy opening guitar riff, harmony guitar solo and a big chorus. "Don't Go" is up next and is probably the most different sounding track on the record, with it's pop rock swagger. "Hot Rockin'" is classic Priest and sounds like it was lifted right off of British Steel. This song is textbook Priest. "Turning Circles" again ventures into a more pop rock realm but has enough crunch that it still sounds like Judas Priest. Side one closes with the atmospheric sounding "Desert Plains" and is a highlight of the record. "Desert Plains" became a staple of the Judas Priest live set list for years to come.
"Solar Angels" kicks off side two with a mid-tempo grind and soaring vocals from Rob Halford. This track would open every show of the 1981 World Wide Blitz tour and became a fan favorite from the record. The last four songs on the record all kind of follow the same format: short, rocking and melodic. Of these four songs, "Troubleshooter" would be the strongest; the others are good but a bit forgettable.
While the band has said there wasn't a conscious decision to go in a more pop oriented direction with Point Of Entry, that definitely seemed to be the case. The core songwriting team of lead vocalist Rob Halford and guitarists KK Downing and Glenn Tipton have stated that it just happened organically and that's just how the songs came out. The record was recorded in Spain and it has been said there were many outside distractions during the recording of the record, so that may have also contributed to the overall direction of the record.
Point Of Entry went gold and was considered a bit of a failure compared to the million selling British Steel.
I rank this record pretty high in the Priest catalog and I loved it immediately. I thought it sounded different at the time but it worked for me. Of course I tend to like when a band takes a left turn and does something a little different. Priest would return to their metal roots with 1982's Screaming For Vengeance. Point Of Entry was not the bands last flirtation with pop tho, they tried it again with 1986's Turbo but the result was mediocre at best.
Some say Point Of Entry was a misstep for the metal gods but I think time has been good to this record and it still sounds fresh and exciting.
During the 1981 World Wide Blitz tour Judas Priest was scheduled to play my hometown of Huntington, WV with Iron Maiden as their opening act. Sadly that show got cancelled due to "lack of interest, low ticket sales": I'm pretty sure that's exactly how it read in the local newspaper. I was crushed. Luckily though, they would return to Huntington a year later, again with Iron Maiden as their opening act. Screaming For Vengeance had become a worldwide million seller and Point Of Entry was a distant memory. Things were right with the world and the Metal Gods were riding high once again.
Scott Carr is a guitarist who plays in the Columbus, OH bands Radio Tramps andReturning April. Scott is also an avid collector of vinyl records and works at Lost Weekend Records. So...if you are looking for Scott....you'll either find him in a dimly lit bar playing his guitar or in a record store digging for the holy grail.