Decades into their storied career, metal gods Judas Priest have released nearly 20 studio projects totaling (with assorted live releases and best-of sets) an estimated 45 million units sold worldwide. That’s a lot of metal, which is why we’ve undertaken the task of ranking their albums from worst to best.

Although they started Birmingham, England, in 1969, the Judas Priest we've come to know and love took shape when lead guitarist K.K. Downing needed a singer after the departure of Al Atkins, who had named the band. He found future "Metal God" Rob Halford in 1973 and, shortly before they recorded their debut, another lead guitarist named Glenn Tipton. Like most bands, it took them a while to break through, but once they did there was no turning back as they became one of the leading lights of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement of the early '80s.

They've also endured their share of lineup changes, with only Tipton and bassist Ian Hill appearing on every album. This includes an instability at the drum stool until the 1979 arrival of drummer Dave Holland, whose 10-year stint coincided with their most popular era. But their most famous departure happened in the early '90s when Halford walked away for a decade and was replaced by Tim "Ripper" Owens, who had been singing in a Judas Priest tribute band. More recently, Downing retired in 2011, with Richie Faulkner taking over and contributing heavily to 2014's Redeemer of Souls.

Whether you own them all or need to know where to start, their merits are well worth putting into perspective. Let the debate rage, as we rank Judas Priest albums from worst to best.

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