Judas Priest’s follow up to the masterwork British Steel deserves a fresher look and reflection four decades after it’s release. Point of Entry is too-often criticized for glossy production and a commercial songwriting direction. Fact is, the songs would have been just as good even if the production was perhaps more raw and rough. An album that starts out with one of the most underrated driving / motorcycle riding songs ever in “Heading Out To The Highway” deserved a complete listen.
K.K. Downing indicated in a 2007 interview that Priest were under significant pressure to deliver an album of hits. Many fans view the end results as an overlooked album full of loud rocking metal songs worthy of being blasted through stadium speakers. “Solar Angels” invokes riffs and vocals taking the listener back to the earlier records. It is a track that could have fit well as an opener for “Sad Wings of Destiny”. Not that “Tyrant” was a poor opener. Sad Wings remains my favourite Priest album actually.
“Hot Rockin” has a certain commercial appeal in the same way as “Living After Midnight” from “British Steel”. It’s a great up-tempo track that speaks to the same crowds that just want to turn up the volume and rock out late into the evening and early morning hours. The opening riff of “Turning Circles” teases a sound indicative of a song from the band Sweet. Thankfully it slams right into another banger with creative and colorful guitar and vocal work. The should-have-been-a-single “Desert Plains” is another motorcycle-riding song with great lyrical imagery. Riding onward, straightaway roads, someone riding home to the one they love as the sun sets after hours of riding. “You Say Yes” is a bluesy change in direction that feels very out of place on this record. I view this as the weakest point of the record, yet it does not drag the whole album down.
“All The Way” and “Troubleshooter” attempt to capture a similar feel musical feel from “Living After Midnight”. Both are great tracks that suit the album overall completely. “On The Run” comes across as a potential filler lyrically. It survives as a great song because of the incredible guitar work and steady chugging from the rhythm section. This song would have made a great instrumental with Halford’s vocal melodies used as a basis for guitar leads. It’s only fitting that “Thunder Road” closes the album. Another driving and riding song. Something reflecting the need to get home after a long stretch of touring. Being on the road. Knowing the escape and the break is coming soon.
Point of Entry should be recognized as a good record in between two stronger records. The frustration the band may have felt to the reception of this album could have contributed to the heavier follow-up work that resulted in Screaming For Vengeance. Forty-years later, Point of Entry remains a good record during an evolving point for Judas Priest and the metal genre.