Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls (2014)

Judas Priest - Redeemer Of Souls (2014)

Judas Priest - Redeemer Of Souls (2014) Judas Priest is back! This equally could be a good or a bad news. It is the 17th studio album by Priest since their formation in Birmingham, England in 1969, their first album since 2008’s “Nostradamus” and also their first without founding guitarist K.K. Downing, who left the band in 2011 and was quite successfully replaced by new guitarist Richie Faulkner. The album was released on 8 July 2014. As very first impression and generality, this is much better then “Nostradamus”, but this is still a very late 80’s flavored classic heavy metal album both as sound and style which might be a good news for their conservative old fans, but might be quite disappointing for those who always appreciated the creativity and capability of Priest to reinvent themselves and delivered always fresh and surprising albums till their quite controversial and in my humble opinion, pretty under-rated 1997’s album “Jugulator”. “Demolition” was their first alarming step-back and since then they only moved backwards.
“Halls of Valhalla” is possibly the strongest track of the album with a distinguished “Painkiller” flavor and it’s also probably the most “modern” song on this record.

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Jon Wiederhorn in his Revolver review said that priest “have delivered their strongest record in over a decade”. Graham ‘Gruhamed’ Hartmann in his review for Loudwire also considered that this “is a strong release from a band that created some of metal’s greatest and most timeless works”. “Redeemer of Souls is a return to thunderous and unrelenting anthems” says Dom Lawson in his review for The Guardian while Kory Grow noted in his review for Rolling Stone concluded that “Redeemer Of Souls” “goes back to guitar-bludgeoning basics on songs that explore vengeance, virility and Valhalla” and “Judas Priest have been looking for redemption”.
Honestly, from a band that pioneering and innovating the genre (heavy metal) since their very first album released in 1974 (“Rocka Rolla”), and having in mind their fabulous live video album “Epitaph”, I had higher expectations…
The guitar work of both Glenn Tipton and ex-Lauren Harris Band guitarist Ritchie Faulkner it’s flawless. Scott Travis it’s one of the best metal drummers of the world and Rob Halford at age 62 it’s still incredibly strong and impressive. I’m not so convinced by this collection of songs. Each one of them seems to be a reference back to one of their important songs and milestones in their career, except their “Turbo” era and the two albums with Tim “Ripper” Owens. The The bluesy “Crossfire” bring us back right to their Black Sabbath flavored roots and debut album “Rocka Rolla” while “Halls of Valhalla” is fast and aggressive as the best moments of their 1990’s “Painkiller”. In between we’ve got strong heavy and power metal from one of the best metal bands of the world. I’m just not so sure about this self-tribute type of approach and concept, although I understand that this might be their final release and their wanted to leave the scene proudly, in full glory and delivering a blueprint of their whole career while any future plans of Priest’s are uncertain.
“Dragonaut” it’s just the latest deity added by Priest to their long list of (metal) gods their unleashed along the last decades and might be easily relocated to 1992 and their brilliant “Screaming for Vengeance” album. “Redeemer of Souls” it’s a very classy flavored heavy metal anthem which fits in perfectly to the style and sound of their 1984’s”Defenders of the Faith”. “Halls of Valhalla” bring us to “Painkiller” and it’s the most intense and modern song from the album. “Sword of Damocles” might be easily “British Steel” related, it’s an heroic metal anthem. And on and on, Priest bring lot of nice memories back! Even their guitar effects are all sounding like the 80’s! Sometimes even worst. “Metalizer” sound like a demo tracked in some garage in 1979 or 1980. Everything sound horrible. But then again, some of their fans eventually for all these retro flavors will praise them as gods again! I had hard time to listen all the 60 minutes throughout and yes, I admit, sometimes I pushed the skip button… I love the two extremes, the merciless “Halls of Valhalla” and the slow grinding, absolute old-school “Crossfire”. In between you can get nostalgic or… pretty bored.

Tracklist:

1. Dragonaut
2. Redeemer of Souls
3. Halls of Valhalla
4. Sword of Damocles
5. March of the Damned
6. Down in Flames
7. Hell & Back
8. Cold Blooded
9. Metalizer
10. Crossfire
11. Secrets of the Dead
12. Battle Cry
13. Beginning of the End

61:58 min

2014 Sony Music

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Rob Halford – vocals
Glenn Tipton – guitar
Ian Hill – bass guitar
Scott Travis – drums
Richie Faulkner – guitar

Produced and mixed by Mike Exeter and Glenn Tipton.
Mastered by Dick Beetham.
Artwork by Mark Wilkinson.
Special Effects(Thunder in Dragonaut) by David Farmer.

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