Like many metal bands, Judas Priest has made enemies of religious groups and moral crusaders who have accused them of doing the work of the Devil. In this song, they poke fun at anyone who still believes this:
Gotta deal with the devil 'Cause you know that's it's real Done a deal with the devil From a heart made of steel
Many Judas Priest songs deal with good vs. evil, but good always wins. Still, they had a hard time convincing a judge in 1990 that they didn't insert subliminal messages into their songs encouraging kids to kill themselves. In that case, the parents parents of two teenagers who shot themselves while listening to a Judas Priest album brought the suit against the band, which seemed utterly ludicrous but was taken seriously.
This song tells Judas Priest's origin story. They formed in the working-class town of Walsall, England - the "Black Country" mentioned in the first line (so named because of the factory that spewed pollution) - and rose to become an elite metal band, inspiring the next generation.
The Angel Of Retribution was Judas Priest's first with Rob Halford back in the band since Painkiller in 1990. Halford said he never wanted to leave the band, but had to for legal reasons when he started making music on his own. The band released two albums without him, using Tim "Ripper" Owens, formerly part of a Judas Priest tribute band, as their frontman.
Mike Campbell from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers played the slide guitar on "Sixth Avenue Heartache." There is a connection here - Wallflowers lead singer Jakob's dad, Bob Dylan, played with Tom Petty in The Traveling Wilburys.