Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Album Review: Judas Priest, Redeemer of Souls

Right off the bat, let me tell you what I think of the post-Painkiller albums just so you know where I am coming from. I liked Jugulator and Demolition, although I acknowledge the fact that they weren't exactly canon. Angel of Retribution was very good, but it seemed rushed. Nostradamus? Not so much. Didn't really care for that one.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's get down to business here. I heard that Judas Priest were hanging up touring, but were going to release another album. I was excited to hear it, and I was optimistic too. I knew that Priest wasn't going to call it a career with Nostradamus being the last album that they put out. Then, I heard that they are going to be touring after all? SWEET!
The Metal God,
Rob Halford
But, what I wasn't expecting was a juggernaut of a metal album. Not only is Redeemer of Souls a very worthy successor to Painkiller in the sense that the music easily represents the next step in the musical evolution of the band's style, it also is easily the band's best sounding album. Period. It is very well produced, and the guitars sound like they were played through a wall of Marshalls, 100 feet tall. The Metal God, Rob Halford's voice is very powerful, and while Redeemer isn't full of the piercing high notes that Angel of Retribution and Painkiller had, he still showcases his vocal range with several very high screams. In fact, we get to hear him go guttural in one song. And to anyone who would say anything negative about Halford's voice, I would tell them (dis)respectfully to go back and keep listening to their auto tuned pop heroes like everyone on the radio these days. I would rather hear someone real over a singing computer any day, and that goes for music too.

Richie Faulkner and Glen Tipton
From the first track on Redeemer of Souls, we are treated to the powerful metal riffs, heavy rhythms, and brutal twin leads that Priest is known for. Guitarists Glen Tipton and newcomer, Richie Faulkner are all over the place with their twin leads, more-so than on any other recent album. There are also several anthem type songs, like Battle Cry. The bass and drum combo of Scott Travis and Ian Hill is solid and heavy as ever, and while there are no drum-gasams like in Painkiller and Machine Man, Scott Travis displays some of his finest drum work. With this album being the little brother of Painkiller, you'd expect to hear some songs that resemble that album, right? Well, the opening track, Dragonaut and title track, Redeemer of Souls could have been on it. But, the whole album really is an evolution.

Ian Hill
We are also introduced to a couple new monsters/ heroes. Dragonaut, and Metalizer. I wonder how they would match up against the formidable Priest characters, Painkiller and Nightcrawler? There is a SyFy Original Movie there somewhere, I'm sure.*
Scott Travis
If this is to be the final chapter in Judas Priest music, then I am okay with it. They will go out with a bang. But, if they decide to do another album, after hearing this one, I say **"Bring it On!" As I mentioned before, I liked all of their most recent albums except for one. I can't say that about other favorites of mine, including Iron Maiden. The fact that since 1990, Priest has taken their time between albums is very likely a reason why. Take Iron Maiden for example. They haven't. In 1990, they released No Prayer for the Dying. Not a very good album by a long shot. Their next albums were Fear of the Dark, X Factor, Virtual XI, Brave New World, Dance of Death, A Matter of Life and Death, and The Final Frontier. That's 2 more than Priest put out, INCLUDING, like Priest, 2 albums with a different singer. Iron Maiden only put out 2 good albums since 1990, and Priest only put out one bad one. Now, I'm as big of a Maiden fan as I am of Priest. They are my number one and two favorite bands. I am only bringing up Maiden for comparison, and not to bash them.

So, go get this album. Whether you are a Priest fan from the beginning, or a newer one, Redeemer of Souls will be sure to make your neck sore from headbanging. I won't say its better than Painkiller, but its easily their best SINCE Painkiller, and easily in the top 5 Priest albums.

Once again, BUY IT!

EDIT: This album debuted at #6 on the US Billboard charts, making this the most successful Priest debut of all time. Amazing, isn't it? And with bands like Black Sabbath, Queensryche, Stryper, The Winery Dogs and others all putting out awesome albums that are debuting in the top 25, I think its safe to say that....METAL IS BACK!!!

*  I have an outline for a movie like that. Contact me if you're in the business and interested.
**Bring it On is the title of a bonus song on the deluxe edition of Redeemer of Souls.

No comments:

Post a Comment