Judas Priest have truly been there and done that since forming in 1969. Forged in the industrial landscape of England’s West Midlands – an area that also gave us Black Sabbath, Robert Plant and Slade, among others – the story of Priest is a heavy metal Lord of the Rings-style epic.

They started out as an also-ran heavy blues band, following a relatively fresh-cut template that demonstrated competence but not genius, before gradually rising through the ranks and finding their voice. The main element of the voice is singer Rob Halford, but equally important has been the metal riffs delivered by Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and, more recently, Richie Faulkner.

Priest moved from hard rock to heavy metal, then found their pace with a radio-friendly form of metal, tied in with the studs-and-leather image that so many others copied. They were often at their best with the raw metal that helped inspire the thrash movement; then, as that style stamped it own authority in the heavy world, the progenitors lost their way somewhat, as did others like them.

Halford’s departure left them in a wilderness that didn’t defeat them, but his return after a two-album absence proved their midlife crisis was over, and a new confidence made its way into their studio sessions.

At the heart of their success is a commitment to their distinct attitude – taking their writing, their recording and their performance seriously, while acknowledging there’s a lighthearted, sharing-the-joke element to everything they do. That attitude persists through even their lowest recorded moments, meaning that there’s always at least one song, and usually more, worth hearing on each of their 18 albums.