Judas Priest vs Iron Maiden: Choose Your Side

This is part two of my blog series on metal appreciation. You can also Check out part 1 – Metal Appreciation 101: The Beginning.

Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. Most old-school metal fans prefer one or the other. Occasionally people will claim to like both equally, but just between you and me, they’re lying.

Up front disclosure: I fall on the Judas Priest side of the argument. I mean, the classic image of 80’s Iron Maiden that I always think of has Bruce Dickinson running around in bright patterned spandex pants and huge white sneakers:

Bruce Dickinson's ridiculous pants

Contrast that fashion disaster to Judas Priest front man Rob Halford:

Rob Halford

Sure, he’s gay. But he’s also tough. And cool. (And spiky). And that always appealed to me far more than Bruce’s sneakers, personally. I was first introduced to Priest through my best mate Gossy, who was in turn influenced by her older brother, who was somewhat of an early metal fan.

It cannot be denied that both bands have contributed an enormous amount to the history of metal. Going back to our big-arse genre diagram, Sam Dunn (remember him? check the first installment if you don’t) has grouped Iron Maiden into the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” (1979-1983) group (affectionately known as NWOBHM by historians – and I’m serious) whereas Judas Priest have been put into “Power Metal” (1976-present). I’m a bit surprised by that – I usually think of Priest as being very much British New Wave – and although they are mentioned on both the NWOBHM Wikipedia entry and in the NWOBHM Encyclopedia (yes, of course there is one) they do not have a dedicated entry themselves, so I guess I stand corrected.

Anyhoo… while both bands have had on-again off-again careers, Judas Priest have been around the longest, so we’ll start with them. Judas Priest start to get interesting, in my opinion, with Killing Machine (released as Hell Bent For Leather in the US). This is when they got properly heavy and started the leather and studs thing. I had this on tape when I was younger and listened to it in my walkman (remember them?) constantly. Here’s Hell Bent For Leather, live, complete with onstage motorbike:

[YouTube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=KPajyfDm9J4]
YouTube – Judas Priest – Hell Bent For Leather

That album was followed up by British Steel in 1980, which is often considered their best work. Here’s Breaking The Law, which has a rather hilarious film clip:

[YouTube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=OYn5hxeFt10]
YouTube – Judas Priest Breaking The Law

I wouldn’t recommend holding up a bank using only guitars, even if you do have KK Downing and/or Glen Tipton with you.

From Screaming For Vengeance, Priest’s 8th studio album released in 1982, check out You Got Another Thing Coming:

[YouTube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=sr-rBAAfjjo]
YouTube – Judas Priest – You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’

Looking through YouTube, there’s so much I’d like to link to here, but I will try and limit myself. To wrap up the Judas Priest segment, I will include Turbo Lover from 1986’s Turbo, which is one of Gossy’s fave songs. There are some people who consider Turbo to be low point in Priest’s career, as it features synthesizers and is much more mainstream than their previous work. I dunno though – it’s Priest, isn’t it? You decide for yourself:

[YouTube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=Vm4KHx1Ymw0]
YouTube – Judas Priest

If you’re interested in Judas Priest, there’s two other episodes in the band’s history that you may want to read up about. Firstly there was the “subliminal messages” trial, where the parents of two boys who committed suicide sued Judas Priest in 1990, claiming the album Stained Class contained the subliminal message “do it”. The law suit was eventually dismissed, although not before causing a considerable financial burden to the band. As Rob Halford pointed out during the trial, commanding fans to commit suicide would be counter-productive; if such a thing were possible, bands would be more likely to instruct listeners to “buy more records”.

Secondly, the era involving Tim “Ripper” Owens, who joined the band in 1996 after Halford left, is quite interesting. Owens was the singer in a Judas Priest tribute band called British Steel – and his transition to the “real thing” was the inspiration for the film Rock Star, although the details differed quite a bit in the final version of the movie. It’s not a bad flick, either.

Judas Priest have continued to release good albums since the “classic period” that I’ve outlined here – for example, 1990’s Painkiller was particularly well received. A new Priest album is set for release in 2008: titled Nostradamus, it is apparently a concept album based around the prophet of the same name

Onto Iron Maiden. Their early history is confusing – they went through a number of singers and guitarists (I think) before settling on a mostly stable lineup (I think). You’re free to try to untangle the Wikipedia entry yourselves.

1982’s Number of the Beast, their third album and first international success, was the first to feature current vocalist Bruce Dickinson. From that release, here’s the title track:

[YouTube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=icAzyx8EsKU]
YouTube – Iron Maiden – Number of the beast

Another classic is Run to the Hills. I dunno about the video clip for this one:

[YouTube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=u5Snehl2bAk]
YouTube – Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills

Here’s a live clip for Flight of Icarus, from their next release, Piece of Mind from 1983:

[YouTube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=AkyAfXVpVrM]
YouTube – 4 – Iron Maiden – Flight Of Icarus

Their later albums – which were plentiful – get a bit weird, and to be honest I don’t know many fans who don’t prefer early 80’s Maiden to later Maiden. So I’ll leave you with one last clip, Aces High, from Powerslave:

[YouTube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=v69yX3qZUZQ]
YouTube – Iron Maiden – Aces High

So… Priest… Maiden… it’s up to you. As I mentioned at the beginning, you can claim to like both. But deep down you know you have a favourite: so let’s hear it in the comments. When MTV’s Headbanger’s Blog asked Who Rocks Harder?: Judas Priest or Iron Maiden? it was definitely Priest that got more comments. I know that’s who I picked.

I can’t finish without some more Priest, so how about this: Parental Guidance, the anthem of the 80’s. Sing it with me kids:

We don’t need no
no no no
parental guidance here

[YouTube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=AC8GnRStV-4]
YouTube – Judas Priest – Parental Guidance

~ by goatlady on January 19, 2008.

116 Responses to “Judas Priest vs Iron Maiden: Choose Your Side”

  1. Thanks Kay 😀
    I can’t choose… but that’s just cos I need to hear more, I think :p
    Must say, wasn’t *that* into either really… definitely still like Black Sabbath more, and think there’s going to be more further along that I’ll like more (slightly heavier stuff I think). But that’s ok, I can’t like everything, heh.

    • Aah. Metal. My first love as a teenage boy growing up not to far from
      Phildelphia PA and Lancaster PA. The music of these two groups preety much
      gave me the tools in life to keep on rocking. With Judas Priest I had albums
      that were innovative, provoctive and phenomenal music. Metal captured my imagination
      Iron Maiden, man I loved them. Though Eddie is probably too violent for
      my nephews, their songs “Run to the Hills” “Die With Your Boots On”
      “Number of the Beast.” are actually damn good songs. When I first saw their
      video for “Run to The Hills” it blew my mind. I was hooked. Same with
      “Living After Midnight”. Tipton and KK Downing became the two guitarist
      that I felt were my ‘go to’ leads. EVH too. A friend turned me on to Van Halen.
      No regrets. Great groups. Later Dio, Sabbath, Ozzy, I was pumped.

      Today’s metal landscape is fascinating and wide open with different groups.
      Yeah if I had to pick one. I’ll choose both for different reasons. Dave Murray my first
      favorite true ‘lead guitarist’ who can shred, bluesy, hard rock, long tasteful metals
      and to me long can be good.

      Being a guitarist Tipton, Downing, Murray captured my imagination.

      Metal head since 16.

      BJW

  2. Old Maiden vs New… actually I think there’s a new category: fans who like the old stuff and the really new stuff. Skipping some in the middle 🙂 Of course the more grizzled old school fans probably wouldn’t admit it since it’s far cooler to insist the old stuff was better (for any band, ever). But since I have no metal cred whatsoever* to worry about I’m free to admit I really like Brave New World 😉

    * Evidenced by ipod having only a little bit of metal and that’s all filed generically as “Metal”. It was filed under “\m/ Metal \m/” for a while but a rogue sync messed that up…

  3. Carn Ben, Judas Priest > old Maiden > new Maiden!

  4. Even though I like both of them, as the author says, deep down you know that your fav is one of them. For me, its the IRONS!!!!!

    Up the Irons!! Keep rockin’

  5. Although both bands rock. I think that Maiden is a little better. They have more great albums and preform better live. Judas Priest can get a little corny at times, listion to hell bent for leather. However Priest has more variety. But im still gonna stick with maiden.

  6. […] from all over the world rocking out in a massive rockin’ mosh pit. We all know where the goatlady stands with Maiden, but I will admit, even with the stupid clothes, even with the pants of Bruce […]

  7. Yea, I gotta side with Maiden here. No band has since replicated their unique dual guitars along with their galloping rhythm. And stage presence? Iron Maiden brought some insane energy to the table, with Harris and Dickinson competing for the stage constantly. It’s too bad many current musicians don’t understand that just standing on stage and playing your music doesn’t constitute a ‘show’. And if you wanna get technical, Maiden was around from 1980 and sold 100 mil plus records – with virtually no radio play. Priest sold something like… 35 mil with another 6 years (i may be worng on that #, it’s something around there) and WAY more studio releases under their belt (more throw away songs if you ask me).
    Arguing vox is though though, as Halford has an absolutely amazing range, and Dickinson just has that cutting tone….

    • You should check out Thin Lizzy if you aren’t already familiar with them. and i don’t just mean the big hits.
      Any maiden fan should hear the Thin Lizzy song “Massacre” which Maiden went on to cover, Lizzy were on of their biggest influences and pioneered the dual lead guitar technique, and you can kind of hear that “galloping” rhythm in some of their songs, (you can also hear it in some old Irish tunes, which in turn influenced Lizzy)

      • Yeah, love Thin Lizzy – and there’s so much more to them than ‘the boys are back in town’!

        I was surprised to see the remaining band members are playing Wacken this year as a tribute to Phil Lynott. Should be interesting to see!

  8. MAIDEN ALL THE WAY. I just saw them last wed. They were amazing and you should never doubt them. Bruce has awesome pants by the way. At the concert he had chopped pieces of hanging leather strung together it looked so cool. Rob Halford is actually gay just in case you didn’t know (I am not putting him down or anything). Somebody may have already posted that but i didn’t read all the posts. I didn’t even read initial post. I was just looking up pictures, I don’t even know of this goatlady you speak of.

    Maiden has so many great songs as well as Judas Priest they are both of my favorites but Maiden is the greatest.

    I just wanted to put in my two cents for my favorite band.

  9. UP THE IRONS! I LUV BRUCE!

  10. I think Maiden is soooo much better than priest, but each to their own! PS.I LUV BRUCE!

  11. im goin with the metal gods
    judas ftw

  12. […] not surprised. Iron Maiden couldn’t fill Burswood Dome in Perth, even with Bruce Dickinson’s hilarious pants and a promise of playing nothing that didn’t come out in the 80’s, so who would have […]

  13. Priest Priest Priest Priest Priest!!!!! are gods

  14. @Hizer and @pizzapie555 – finally, some intelligent commenters 🙂

  15. it’s very close, i love both bands but ima have to go with Iron Maiden!!! i love bruce’s pants!!! and they have great songs!!! but judas preist still kicks ass!!!

  16. MAIDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Up To Irons From Croatia!!!!!!!

  17. Well, MTV is an American tv channel, and so they have the most viewers there. That is basically why Priest won that contest – they’re bigger in America than Maiden are. In Europe Maiden is biggest. Myself, I love Maiden and Priest ain’t nearly as good as them, in my opinion. However, Priest rock som serious butt as well.

    • MTV is American and Judas Priest is popular, they did get radio play here with Turbo Lover and perhaps Breaking the Law but I would almost bet my life that despite near zero radio play that Iron Maiden is still more popular. Not American but Canadians get a good idea of what is popular there.
      I recognize both bands as legends but have always been a bigger Maiden fan. They have albums with very little filler. I could listen to entire albums with every song being good, to me. Killers, Number of the beast, Powerslave all great. The song structures were always more interesting with real catchy melodies and time changes. Phantom of the Opera has got to be their most under rated song, it is an epic masterpiece that really epitomizes the Maiden sound. Lyrically, Priest just isn’t on the same level. Iron Maiden can pull you into a story with lyric and sound like no other. As far as clothes, I really don’t give a shit. I have never been to a show either but from images I cannot imagine something more epic than Maiden.

  18. awnser me this who old stuff is better from the get go
    my fav song is stranger world by maiden first album but i think priest had that bitch in the bag

  19. Definitely it’s priest. Every album by them has a new concept. Being in a band, i think priest’s songs are harder to play. Tracks like Victim of changes, painkiller, cathedral spires, hellrider and prophecy are way beyond maiden’s capability. Although they sound great but it’s just the same in every album.

  20. they dont sound the in every album, first 2 albums have punk/heavy sound, then comes dickinson and number of the beast, piece of mind, and powerslave are pure heavy metal.Each of them are different. Somewhere in time and Seventh son of a Seventh Son are experimentations with sin but they still have that heavy sound. Then No prayer for the dying is return to the old rough sound. the X-Factor and Virtual XI has Blaze Bayley with his goth vocals.

  21. sorry that sin its guitar synthesizers.

  22. IRON MAIDEN RULES i don’t realy like Judas Priest because the singer Rob Halford not have a good voice!!!!
    IRON MAIDEN RULES
    !!!UP THE IRONS!!!

    • Are you sick?
      You don’t like rob’s voice?

      Iron maiden no where near Judas priest.

      I have played most of the songs by maiden And priest.

      Maiden – Most of the songs are easy to play and sounds the same.

      Priest – Tough to play, Different, Hell awesome.

      • Load of bullshit. I mean a LOAD of fucking bullshit.

        I’m tempted to lose all respect for Judas Priest just because of the fans who don’t like Iron Maiden and think they have easy songs. WHAT THE FUCK EVER!

        Iron Maiden can kill Judas Priest, and they don’t NEARLY sound the same in every song.

        Also, what the fuck is wrong with strange pants mixed with white sneakers? Non-traditionalists FTW!

    • By the way , What made you think Rob’s voice is bad?

      Can Bruce sings high notes better than rob?

    • How dare you say Rob Halford doesn’t have a good voice! Shame on you, stupid motherfucker!

  23. !!!UP THE IRONS!!! FROM SERBIA

  24. UP THE IRONS

  25. Well…this is pretty much a “why you should live priest over maiden.”

    Well. I love both priest and maiden…..both are the creme de la creme of metal. But im going to have to go with Maiden..but damn I love Priest also!

  26. I LOVE MAIDEN!!I LOVE YOUR 80`s pants too!!

  27. Love Maiden, but I have to go with Priest.

    Saw both multiple times – IM has cool stage with Eddy but Priest sounds better (compare Live after Death to Unleashed in the East there’s no contest especially Victims and Sinner)

    Best Albums –
    JP – Sad Wings of Destiny
    IM – Killers – PD kicks BD

    Both put out garbage – Living after Midnight and Run to the Hills – but both can rock heavy when they’re not worried about record sales.

  28. I think theres a couple things wrong with this article. mainly the enormous bias towards judas priest. not only does it have more than twice as much info about judas priest, the iron maiden section ends with a judas priest song. also aces high is from powerslave, not piece of mind. I think the writer probably doesnt listen to iron maiden very much and just looked up their wikipedia page in an effort to let people know he likes judas priest. Personally I like Maiden much better but JP still is excellent. P.S. iron maidens middle and later work are actually very good, if youve actually listend to them and not just read on wiki that they werent as popular during that time…

  29. Stained Class and Painkiller are the two best Judas Priest albums and you ignored them both. And you obviously know nothing about Iron Maiden.

  30. Priest are the Metal Gods and Rob Halford rocks, so for me it’s Priest, all the way!!!

  31. Maiden is a kickass group but I’ve got to go with Priest. The “Dickenson vs Halford” battle is an old one but I’m gonna have to go with Halford here too. Not taking anything away from IM or Dickenson but Halford and Priest are just pure no-nonsense heavy metal, very little frills, leathers, spikes and bikes all the way. Both bands kick ass but I’ll go with Priest FTW in the end.

  32. Of course Judas Fucking Priest !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the way !!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Of course it´s IRON MAIDEN,

    Hey man, if you like priest it´s ok,

    But you have to know a lot more of Maiden to make the comparation

    In Mexico and everywhere in the world:

    Iron Maiden rules

    UP THE IRONS!!!

  34. Interesting comparisons, though a bit biased. That’s what blogs are for. Personally I go with Maiden. I certainly don’t have a problem with Priest, they just never hooked me like Maiden did.

    To the blogger, goatlady? Just a few factual errors. The Number of the Beast album was released in 1982, not ’81. “Aces High” appears on the Powerslave album, not Piece of Mind as mentioned above.

    Overall a good blog and interesting reading. Thanks!

    • lol, so glad I’m allowed to be biased – I did say I was, right at the very beginning 🙂

      Thanks for your factual corrections, shows I should have gone to wikipedia rather than trusting youtube – will update the post accordingly.

      Stay metal \m/

  35. Iron maiden suck! Steve Harris takes credit for writing riffs that other people wrote like well the intro to Iron Maiden… Read the Run to the HIlls biography. Steve is a god but he is not flawless, he merely copied what Judas Priest did. The entire Maiden sound of the early eighties was already done in the Judas Priest albums like Sad wings, Sin after sin and Stained class.. (the galloping and all). yeah, maiden put a twist on it and made it heavier but I prefer Rob’s studio voice over Bruce’s voice. Rob’s voice has feeling while Bruce’s voice just sounds like somebody told him what to do.. Wonder who??
    Hitler Harris??

    I used to be a big Maiden fan till I found Priest. Why go with the copy (maiden) when you can have the original (Priest)..

    Priest..rules… One clarification… My favorite albums are sad wings, sin after sin, stained class and painkiller.. and a other good songs here and there.

    But hands down Judas Priest rule and Iron Maiden suck!!!

    • Yay, I like it when people agree with me. Rob Halford has a Christmas album coming out that I just pre-ordered! Must post about that…

    • You’re an idiot fanboy.

      Ian Hill has nothing on Steve Harris.

    • Ok, I think it is absurd for anybody to love one of these two bands and think the other sucks. Listen to Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Where is the Judas Priest in that? Don’t be a hater, be grateful that these two bands have provided us with just absolutely amazing music.

    • You’re a fucking retard. I no longer have respect for Priest simply because of the retarded fans.

  36. Oh, Priest all the way. British Steele says it all. I love Maiden but the guitar sway in unison still give me the chills.

  37. I think it’s absolutely hilarious how everyone who takes Priest’s side never compares Ian Hill to Steve Harris.

  38. Both bands are the best fucking metal bands around. The only way to really break it down is who is the better live band….and of course that would be Maiden hands down (or hands up if your rockin’, which you should be, unless your fucking too drunk). Love em’ both though.

  39. Saying that Maiden is a “copy” of Priest is the most laughable thing I have ever came across on a metal board.

    I won’t deny that Stained Class contains some galloping bass rhythm that may be latter found in some Maiden’s material, but so does 2112 by Rush (opening tune). Does it mean that Priest copied Rush? No!

    Although I do like Priest to a certain degree, all in all, Maiden’s music is far more complex, both instrumentally, lyrically and song structure wise. I really don’t think that Priest, even in the early days, could come with something to oppose to the mighty Phantom of the Opera, not even with Victim of Changes.

    Last but not least, Maiden’s dual lead is also more intricate than Priest’s, which seems to carry on mainly in unison, rather than in thirds or fifths, like Maiden.

    • I’ve been a fan of both since about 1980, and playing guitar since 1985 and you are WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY off if you think Iron Maiden’s guitar work is more complex or innovative than Judas Priest’s.

      I’ve mulled this topic over for years and while I’ve always been a bit more of a Prest fan, there were some areas where I thought Maiden had a clear edge. But it really comes down to this Iron Maiden is a bit more consistent, and that can be a strength–but over the course of a few decades it can translate into “predictable.” Priet may have unloaded a few clunkers on us over the years (Parental Guidance, Monsters of Rock, I’m lookin’ at you) but they have also served up unique brilliance–Raw Deal, Painkiller, Hellrider, Turbo Lover, and more than a few others, which in addition to being awesome don’t have other sound-alike clones in the catalog–and let’s face it Iron Maiden would never even attempt anything like the counter melody/harmony section from Hellrider–Smith and Murray (and occasionally Gers) are fairly tasty, but they are pretty much fast pentatonic/blues scale guys

      Harris definitely gets more notice than Ian HIll, but that probably has as much to do with what KK and Glenn want him to do as it does with his abilities. Nicko McBrain though is clearly superior to Dave Holland–but Scott Travis evens the odds in this category. Scott Travis may be the best purely heavy metal drummer who is widely exposed, but if I were hiring a guy for my band I’d go with the more nuanced and subtle playing of Nicko McBrain–he is just super tasty and I love his tom rolls and hi hat work.

  40. i genuinely cant deside one second i think judas priest because theyve been longer but then i think iron maiden because of their intensity but then i think priest because their intense then i think maiden because of the hits
    its not i dont have a favorite its i cant decide my favorite
    AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! (head explodes)

  41. Maiden were my first metal band and my first gig so although I did eventually come to love Priest I’ll have to say … UP THE IRONS!
    Also, I prefer Bruce’s voice. Rob can sing, bloody hell, but Bruce has the smoothness in his that Rob seems to lack.

    • Go and listen to Sands of time, Beyond the realms of death. Fact is Bruce can’t sing high notes as good as Rob.

      There is no comparison between JP and IM.

      Glenn Tipton owns all guitarists of maiden. Well but only those will understand this, who know about guitar, arpeggios and all.
      Most of the noobs think that all those pentatonic solos by Maiden guitarists are unmatchable hehehehehehee [:D]

  42. Judas Priest sold 15 milions albums nort america and 45 millions worldwide ( non single, video, maxi single, rare, compilation

  43. All hail \Judas Priest./

  44. You should listen ALL Judas Priest songs, and than you’ll understand….. JUDAS PREIST—– METAL GODS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Fans from Serbia

  45. Fuck off…up the fucking irons!!!!!!!!

  46. Let’s start over. Judas Priest were the first to join the Thematic violent Black Sabbath and the speed and perfection as playing Led Zeppelin, so everyone knows, even on Wikipedia. Priest then goes his way, when there is a great band Iron Maiden, that grows and stands along with Judas Priest and Saxon, the masters of NWOBHM. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest owes much to both the inspiration to create songs, both because of the Maiden Priest call to open their shows, a fact that helped a lot of Iron Maiden. Judas Priest also must thank the Maiden, by recruiting the most heavy metal fans with their good music, and most of these come after the likes of Judas Priest. I was one of those initially listened to Iron Maiden, but when I had Judas Priest’s first passion was listening. The two bands have unique characteristics that citariamos for days here, and I love them, but my favorite is Judas Priest for the content and variety. Tipton and Downing are a great duet of guitars.

  47. Let’s start over. Judas Priest were the first to join the Thematic violent Black Sabbath and the speed and perfection as playing Led Zeppelin, so everyone knows, even on Wikipedia. Priest then goes his way, when there is a great band Iron Maiden, that grows and stands along with Judas Priest and Saxon, the masters of NWOBHM. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest owes much to both the inspiration to create songs, both because of the Maiden Priest call to open their shows, a fact that helped a lot of Iron Maiden. Judas Priest also must thank the Maiden, by recruiting the most heavy metal fans with their good music, and most of these come after the likes of Judas Priest. I was one of those initially listened to Iron Maiden, but when I had Judas Priest’s first passion was listening. The two bands have unique characteristics but talking about this for days here, and I love them, but my favorite is Judas Priest for the content and variety. Tipton and Downing are a great duet of guitars.

  48. HAIL METAL GODS!! JUDAS PRIEST ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!

    Hail from Russia!!!

    ps MANOWAR owns maiden!

  49. definitely Maiden imo they are the greatest heavy metal band i listened to heavy metal bands before and after them but i gravitated toward their music more.

  50. Choose a side? Seriously?! I could never choose a side!!! I am one of those few (and no, I’m not lying to ya) who actually does appreciate and love both equally. Personally speaking, I listen to almost every “type” or “sub genre” of metal on the planet, from death metal to nu-metal to old school…everything. But my favorite has got to be early American metal and NWOBHM. As far as the “Priest isn’t NWOBHM” arguement goes, listen to British Steel and then go listen to Diamond Head or Witchfynde or someone of the like. Very similar sounds. The difference to me, comes in the later years, especially during the Turbo period. That’s mostly why Maiden seems to be considered more NWOBHM then Priest. Either way, though, both rock equally hard and both are just as awesome, all fashion-disasters aside.

  51. Both bands have their place in rock history, but I’ve spent a hell of a lot more time listening to Iron Maiden because they captivated me the first time I heard “Number of the Beast” (the song, that is); plus, they have more subtlety, whereas Judas Priest’s music is considerably darker and scarier.

  52. Judas Priest – I love Tipton and Downing, great duets! Rob has the greatest metal voice
    Iron Maiden – Bad ass bass lines. Bruces voice is very powerful
    Both JP & IM – Great singers. deep songs
    I tend to listen to Judas Priest more. Sad Wings of Destiny is my album

  53. Well, to me neither singer is superior because both are two of the greatest in metal history. I do have one thing to say though, i assume that all the people commenting on Judas Priest songs being more difficult are talking about the guitar correct? Because I play the bass and obviously, there is no contest, Steve Harris is superior. To me though, the difficulty of an instrumental part is not the key to a band being awesome, but rather how much you enjoy listening to the riffs the instrumentalist makes.

    Also, I do have a problem with people saying every Maiden album is the same. If you have listened to anything other than Number of the Beast, Peace of Mind, or Powerslave you can hear the differences, like the dark sounds of the Blaze Bayley albums, the melodic sounds of Brave New World, the power synth of Somewhere in Time, or the prog metal sounds of Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. To me actually, Judas Priest songs sound more similar throughout the eras.

    Both bands have definitely survived the test of time as well, Nostradamus was a great album, and the new Final Frontier is my favorite Maiden album since Dickinson returned.

    Overall, personally I like Maiden more, but no denying Maiden, Sabbath, and Priest are really the three greatest bands there are.

  54. I love both bands, but Maiden gets my vote. They destroy Priest in concert and as of the 21st century, Maiden’s been making better material. A Brave New World/Dance of Death/A Matter of Life/Death/The Final Frontier>Angel Of Retribution/Nostradamus.

  55. Iron Maiden and Priest at best close at worst close but last ten years ahahahhaha Maiden ten times better more longevity actually selling more albums and getting bigger now priest almost decaying.

  56. Halford vs dickinson – at there best its close cause even though halford can sing higher notes (bruce can to) and even though he goes from a growl to high pitch bruce has more charisma in his voice like look at moonchild he sings like a hundred different agonising voices, also even though rob can completely change bruce sings with alot of attitude like in flight of icarus “looks the old man in the eye” to “fly as high as the suuunnnn” or his voice in revelations it goes melodic to heavy agonising to cool to dark he has more subtle changes but more often whereas rob has bigger changes but less often like rob he does five things but every 20 seconds bruce every five seconds changes his voice but not as drastic as rob but hes uses high low talk growl rapsy like number of the beast from the intro to the scream to saying “mesmerise” then scream “cant avoid there….” its all different and MORE ARTISTIC, rob was able to do glam like and bruce with no prayer fear of the dark did a heavy raspy voice which was cool, live at best close cause both awesome voices bruce better stage presence but now live bruce better imo by a fair bit because he has preserved his voice far more, and lets look at the solo careers rob nothing close to accident of birth or chemical wedding in fact they were better than anything maiden or priest did. bruce can survive on his own better robs solo stuff mad too but doestn beat chemical wedding accident of birth.

    guitars tipton kk murray smith gers- very very different maiden better for melody, priest lots of solos but priest solos trade off like megadeth alot of short riffs to solo to riff etc, maiden more longer solos epic story line type solos its very very different hard to split.

    but here is where maiden smash priest- harris bass pumps hill and my god mcbrain smashes any drummer priest have had and clive burr does to, more versatile more skilled more unique back section

    vocals is close, guitars close hell ill even give this one to priest by a bit, but drums bass maiden smash them and over all maiden win by the way the sales are priest 40-50mil maiden 85-90 its on many updated sites like wiki and maiden have done it with barely any radio play also maiden where on like 45mil in 2000 now 85-90 which means in a decade there sales have almost doubled there getting bigger cause hmmm there still close to what they were and awesome live and bruce is about 80per cent what he was whereas rob is like 50percent like in ten years time maiden will be 100-120 mill sales priest 50-60 max 70 there is no contest ppl all maiden fans refer to my blog i have a lot of merit listened to everything both bands have done as for maiden sounding the same almost every priest song apart from sad wings of destiny stained class painkiller and sin after sin album sound like fist pumping metal songs like turbo ram it down british steel literally just balls to the wall fist pumping but yes maiden have many albums that sound similar as well but just to those priest guys who think maiden always sound the same so do priest

    overall the vocals and guitars are close but drums and bass maiden pawn priest lyrics depends what u like drawings maiden, also even though it might not matter to some maiden are like the only band (at least only big band) where drugs etc have stayed away do u now how fucking unbelievable that is this band is so fit bruce fences hes a pilot ffs he fyls a plane to his own shows which he still sings awesome harris has barely aged maiden still rock cause there much heakthier even the most bias priest sabbath metallica fan would be jealous of there state compared to maidens like i said maiden are still kicking it now almost as much as before, MAIDEN GET THE VOTE BY THE WAY ON THIS BLOG ITS STILL MORE MAIDEN THEN PRIEST BUT ITS CLOSE

    • hahahaha Rob rapes Bruce in vocals, and Glen just listen to the solo no Painkiller the Maiden boys will never do anything like that. Bruce has a very nasal voice, while Rob can scream and last longer and sings better.

  57. Judas Priest, of course. They came first and influenced Iron Maiden, and Maiden ripped Priest off…so Maiden suck for that!

    • It’s funny how idiots like you actually think it’s a rip off of their sound. BANDS HAVE “INFLUENCES,” EVER HEARD OF THEM, DUMBASS?!

  58. So hard. Priest have possibly the best metal album and song of all time – PAINKILLER. Guitars, drums, vocals. But Maiden have concept albums that just killed me — Somewhere in Time (best Album cover, plus the rip-off of Clint Eastwood by Eddy, was the top metal wall poster of all time), Seventh Son. Some of it is also hard to compare — early Priest like BREAKING THE LAW, ANOTHER THING COMING, HELL BENT FOR LEATHER, SCREAMING FOR VENGENCE, LIVING AFTER MIDNITE, compared to RUN TO THE HILLS, ACES HIGH, FLIGHT OF ICARUS, 2 MINUTES TO MIDNITE, POWERSLAVE, RHIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER… You can’t really compare them. Just too different. Either band can headline. You’d probably never find them on tour together as they’re both so big. But what an awesome show… if they did. I’d like to hear them play a couple songs together on stage… 2 drummers, how many guitar players… wow. Although I lean toward Maiden, my metal life would be incomplete without Painkiller, et al.

    • They actually have toured together before, way back in I think it was ’81. This was still early in Maiden’s career however, obviously showing why the were the supporting act for Judas Priest.

  59. i will say ironmaiden for,ive only just started to listen to priest they got some great music,i think the music maiden play now is more epic like which i love.get to listen to the song longer.so i will say maiden cant wait to see them in melbourne up the irons

  60. I love Iron Maiden!! I got sick of Judas Priest’s British Steel, Point of Entry, and Turbo being so overrated, when really those albums sucked. Then I got Piece of Mind for my 15th birthday and it changed my life. I’m forever in Maiden’s debt for making some of the greatest music ever to see the light of day… UP THE IRONS!!!! \m/

    • BS, POE, and turbo are the most underrated albums! But still they are better than any Maiden Album! Rob outballs Bruce!!!!!!

  61. Also, for the record, Judas Priest (according to an above post) have only sold about 45 million albums WORLDWIDE. Iron Maiden = 100,000,000 +.

    Just thought you should know, that, ya know…. JUDAS PRIEST SUCKS!

    • Let me know when your band has sold 45 million albums and get back to me if you still think it’s a failure.

      Wanker.

    • Michael Jackson and Britney Spears have sold more albums. Does that mean they are better than Maiden?????????

  62. This is my second posting after 2 years!!!!

    Maiden’s music is written on the Bass.
    (steve says he figures out everything.. yeah.. I believe you
    buddy)…. Run to the hillss.. autobiography folks…

    Priest is all written from the guitar.
    So you have two distinct sounds.

    I’ll call it like it is.
    Halford had a very tough time singing live but
    he can nail it in the studio (the vocals I mean).
    Bruce is a technically and trained professional signer
    in the vain of Ian Gillian’s voice. (sort of..well his hero)..

    Over all, I gotta go with Priest.

    “As I said it before and I’ll say it again…”

    why go with the copy (maiden) when you can go with the
    original.

    Believe it or not.. Maiden sounds the same.. Basically,
    it’s all modal music.. and pentatonic scales.. that’s all.
    You can write a maiden riff by simply following the notes
    of the modal scales and it’ll sound just like maiden.

    Priest on the other hand, is harder to play on some some songs.
    Believe me.. you’d understand if you’d played guitar.

    Glen and KK don’t just do minor pentatonic like Maiden, they
    do stuff like melodic minor and some other exotic scales sometimes.

    I just have to say one thing to you.

    Painkiller came out and No prayer for the dying came out
    at the same time. which would you listen to..

    And for the record both Blaze and Ripper don’t really count.
    (sorry)

    • All Maiden albums bore me to death except for Piece of Mind.

    • I agree. Maiden uses the same formula for every other song. Priest can hold down a groove, whereas Maiden tends to rely a little to much on scale harmonies at times, making them sound more monochromatic. The riff interplay between Tipton and Downing is priceless. Glenn’s playing just kept getting better and better with every album. Maiden leveled out and haven’t really challenged themselves as guitarists or as a band in forever.

  63. Iron Maiden is the best band of all times

  64. Rob Halford is the metal god! He being gay doesn’t matter! He freaking kills Bruce even Paul Di’anno! Maiden’s guitarists are no better than Priest’s! No singer in the metal universe is better than Rob! I absolutely love some Maiden albums but to me Priest are the metal fucking gods!

  65. Check out the solo from Painkiller. Iron Maiden will never be able to play it. Check out the vocals of Painkiller, Bruce will never be able to sing like that.

    • You are right! Iron Maiden could never play any song from Painkiller album (and many other)

  66. solos in 2 minutes to midnight powerslave particularly powerslave are awesome the whole powerslave and somewhere in time album have great solos piece of mind number of the beast and powerslave awesome vocals, vocals and guitar differ maiden have not done any solo like painkiller but to me priest have never done a solo like powerslave with so many emotions perfection (even if its easier) that also ends with great drums, its all different cause maidens formula is more rounded and even priests is more vicious on guitar and high end vocals, there both so great why argue they are both my 2 fave bands with led zep.

    • Have you heard solo on beyond the realms of Death my friend? That solo kills everything maiden has ever done. ( For me that’s the most original and awesome solo ever composed.)
      Maiden guitarists can never match Glenn Tipton. It’s Just a fact.

  67. This is about the music so I really could care less how they dressed. Halford just wore what he would wear going to the bar. Vocal wise? Very close. They both are excellent it depends on your personal preference. I think that Maiden has superior songs as they are more complex, longer, less poppy than Priest. I also prefer Maiden’s guitar work. So I vote IRON MAIDEN and I’ll bet any metal head would choose them also.

  68. I was into Maiden first, as a teen back in the 80s. I loved both as a teenager, but definitely prefered Maiden. I stopped listening to any metal from about 1989 to the early 2000s when I realized, damn, that stuff really was the best music ever. So, I went back and started to relisten to all the bands from the 70s and 80s. To my surprise, the second time, I really found I prefered Priest to Maiden. Maiden is still great, but to me it just isn’t as enjoyable to listen to as a middle aged adult as it was as a 14 year old boy. Priest just seems to have held up better over the years to me, and I just have never been able to get into Maiden’s material after Somewhere in Time. Both were definitely innovative and excellent.

    To compare them strength for strength, I would definitely give the edge to Maiden for lyrical content and intellectual quality. In fact, besides Rush, I would have to say Maiden was perhaps the most intellectual rock band of all time (sorry if I’m overlooking some other band in saying that). That was probably what drew me to them as a teen. Sadly, the intellectual quality of their lyrics seemed to go down after Powerslave (though still showed flashes of it on Somewhere in Time). Priest’s lyrics, on the other hand, which varied from good (Sentinel is one example) to the downright idiotic (You Say Yes, Parental Guidence, etc). Lyrics have always been one of Priest’s weak points.

    Technical/musical aspects:
    Singers: though I worshiped Bruce when I was in high school, and he certainly can hit a high note, Halford is the better singer of the two (wider range, more melodic, etc). Both are amazing, but Halford is in a league of his own. Guitars: though both have awesome twin guitar attacks (or use to) KK and Glenn are even better than Adrian and Dave. Bass: Steve Harris wins this one over Ian (sorry). Drums: advantage Maiden on this one, also, Priest looses points for having had a child molestor on the drums. WTF?

    What puts Priest over the top in my opinion, however, is the quality of the band over time and across many subgenres of music. The melody and overall enjoyability of the music has become more apparent to me over the years. The fact that Priest had far more mainstream success may partly be due to “selling out” but its got even more do to the fact that they deserved it. They simply wrote more listenable and diverse songs because they were talented enough to do so. They could do albums as different as Killing Machine, Defenders of the Faith, Turbo, and Painkiller, and have mainstream hits from all of them while still retaining a tough, dark, ominous air. To be able to largely create the sound of “classic era” metal, then to turn around and outdo the glam bands on Turbo, and then turn around and outdo the speed bands on Painkiller. Maiden, as great as they were / are, simply can’t claim that.

    So, my vote for Priest, if I have to choose one over the other but why should we have to?

    • Steve, you certainly don’t have to pick one over the other – but asking people to do so evokes some interesting discussions! Thanks for contributing \m/

  69. U made the proper choice, for u, goatlady. I tend to lean to the Maiden side, but that’s the great thing about art. It’s universally open structured and any one person’s opinion about the product is just as “valid” as another. I’ve always been a huge fan of both bands, though my interest in both has dwindled for periods for various reasons. I feel that Iron Maiden’s total catalog has more depth and overall quality than Judas Priest. And another important factor; Iron Maiden have grown with me while Priest haven’t necessarily done so. Maiden have become a full-fledge prog metal band now (not that they weren’t always?), and I love the “prog metal” offerings of Rush, Voi Vod, and yes Iron Maiden. As such I just can’t enjoy Priest to the same depth, though I really loved “Angel of Retribution” and ensuing live DVD, even saw them play that exact setlist in Columbus, Ohio in 2005(?) with Dio and Motorhead!! I’ve been immersed in Priest a zillion times in my life, just been immersed in Maiden a few more! Favorite albums of each… Maiden: Piece of Mind Priest: Stained Class

  70. I choose Judas Priest mainly becuase they came out way before Iron Maiden did and that in the 1980’s Iron Maiden had opened up for them in for their first concert. Besides I like Judas Priest better becuase they are more fast and Heavy. I will say that Iron Maiden is really good, but not as good as Judas Priest. The duel solo’s of K.K Downing and Glenn Tipton are way better. If u disagree listen to these albums British Steel, Screaming for Vengence, Painkiller, and Angel of Retribution. They are good albums and that Painkiller is probably the heaviest album there is for Judas Priest.

  71. I think maiden is way better than priest. Steve Harris is an amazing song writer and he was self taught. Bruce dickson is easily one of the best singers in the history of rock and metal even if he is a fashion disaster. Nicko mcbrains is a fantastic drummer who plays insanely cool beats. Then there is the amazing triple guitar attack that perfectly combines power with melody. Then we have priest. They are awesome but come on guys robs vocals can’t even compare to Bruce’s. And I havent even heard anything about priests bass player. They have great guitars but really the main thing priest has is charisma.

  72. Iron Maiden has about 10-15 great songs
    Judas Priest has 184 great songs

  73. It’s Obvious.
    Judas priest is the king of heavy metal.
    they are the perfection of Heavy metal.
    Is it possible to compare Rob Halford to anyone else?

  74. maiden mann live and die for maiden, b dickinson still have good belt range unlike rob halford which is loosing some of that feature, bruce’s vocals are still stronger than rob but two of them are like water and food ofcourse to me maiden is water and priest is food because i need water more than food B dickinson is a badass, he’s a pilot, fencer and many more, honestly i would donate my organs to any member of iron maiden when they needed organ transplant, sign me in, i’d die for maiden forsure or even get some plastic surgeons to make my face perfect so it would look like their mascot eddie the head

  75. Judas fucking priest.

  76. “To be able to largely create the sound of “classic era” metal, then to turn around and outdo the glam bands on Turbo, and then turn around and outdo the speed bands on Painkiller. Maiden, as great as they were / are, simply can’t claim that.”
    Exactly

  77. Judas Fucking Priest

  78. The band I first think when comes to metal is Judas Priest. They are longer on the scene and have better musicians than Iron Maiden. Iron Maiden are great band, but their contribution to metal genre is smaller compared to Priest. Talking about ‘losing his voice’, just remember that Rob is 7 years older than Bruce. There are only one Metal Gods band – Judas Priest

  79. Well… Iron Maiden
    Bruce Dickinson=Rob Halford young (Into The Black Hole, Hallowed Be Thy Name and The Number of the Beast VS Painkiller, Blood Red Skies and Ram It Down.) but Bruce Dickinson>Rob Halford old. Just listen to Rob live, he can’t do Painkiller anymore (love him though) while Bruce Dickinson can stil make awesome stuff live like The Talisman (En Vivo!)
    Steve Harris and Nicko Mc Brain are really superior than Priest’s musicians.
    For the guitars: Well, technically, Priest wins (Painkiller), no doubt. But Maiden is just more enjoyable to hear(Powerslave).
    My Favourite songs from each band: Coming Home, Dance Of Death, Flight Of Icarus (or maybe The Number of The Beast) VS Worth Fighting For, Blood Red Skies, Diamonds and Rusts (or Angel). I know, it’s a weird choice ^^
    Well for me, Maiden wins lyrically too, Bruce is a f*cking God (nobody would think about doing an album about William Blake), so are Steve Harris (To Tame a Land) and Adrian Smith (his work on Somewhere in Time was outstanding).
    Finally… Sorry Priest, but UP THE IRONS!!!

  80. So tough. Maiden has one of the greatest bass players of any genre of music. Plus Powerslave is a great album with no weak songs. Halford’s vocals are insane though, pure metal. Both bands have great drummers and duel guitars. It’s so close for me but Priest only because Halfords vocals are borderline sonic.

  81. Judas Priest best selling artist in heavy metal 80-years. Judas Priest sold 60 millions records.

  82. Judas Priest because Halford. Impeccable and reputable bloke. Deny Maiden’s legacy, I won’t.
    Yode’s.

  83. THE METAL GODS all the way!!!!!!!
    P.S. Dickinson has nothing on Halford PERIOD!
    (both great bands by the way!!) 🙂

  84. Both were great, but it’s Maiden all the way!

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