The album covered featured another machine-monster creation: "Rising from darkness where hell hath no mercy and the screams for vengeance echo on forever. Only those who keep the faith shall escape the wrath of the Metallian... Master of all metal"
Powered by a creative and well-produced video for Freewheel Burnin', which combined the band's strong performance presence with the then-popular Pole Position video game, the album locked the band into the forefront of the metal scene. The tour for that album included Great White, Quiet Riot and Ted Nugent at various points.
It was also THE album that made me a confirmed metal-head.
Several band members also regard this as the band's best album:
I know that this is standard procedure, but I really do think that this new album is the best work we've ever turned in. It's very much a natural progression from Screaming For Vengeance, but I think the songs here are far better. There are potential singles everywhere, yet the album still retains a total rock feel.
- Dave Holland
I think DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH is the most committed album that Priest has ever made to really defining heavy metal as we feel it should be, in the '80s especially."
- Rob Halford
If I had to pick my favorite Priest album, I would say DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH, because it’s the album that defines Judas Priest. I don’t want to slander the other albums, but this one combines all the elements of the band. It’s got a variety of songs: brutal, melodic, slow, fast. This variety is absent nowadays. Most of the bands come up with one-dimension, monolithic albums. Heavy metal is not only speed metal or death metal and it never was. Heavy metal also has a most mild side, even though it combines elements from various genres, but in recent years, variety is absent. I believe that this is one of the reasons heavy metal doesn’t have the reflection it had before.
- Ian Hill