j nd) n.
One that inspires legends
or achieves legendary fame
A story about mythical
or supernatural beings or events
An artistic performer
or athlete whose leading role or superior performance is acknowledged
One who is highly celebrated
in a field or profession
Judas Priest is back with Angel of Retribution
a new studio album that shows us once again why they are metal legends!
note: A review of the bonus DVD was not possible since Epic and the
band's outside publicist did not answer a request for a review copy of
this album. A big thank you to the insider that hooked us up with the music,
because otherwise you would not be reading this review. In
the event that Epic or the publicist come through with the full CD/DVD
we will update this review.
that sold their souls for a Priest reunion better head to the crossroads
because your prayers have been answered; the Priest is back screaming for
vengeance, ready to unleash their metal fury on the masses once more!
But with all the expectations and fan generated hype and excitement, does
the album live up to expectations? The simply answer is hell yes!
On Angel of Retribution, Judas Priest
resisted the temptation to try to redefine themselves among the newer metal
bands that they influenced. A trap that many a reunited band has fallen
into. After the exit of Halford, Judas Priest adopted a little more
aggressive sound with Ripper Owen, the only Priest fans that will be disappointed
with this album are the ones that wished for a continuation of that formula.
On the other hand, fans for all other eras will find similar ground here
ranging from Rocka Rolla to Painkiller. What makes Priest
work is the shared vision of the group. Take one significant piece away
and it just doesn't sound quite as powerful. All due respect to Ripper
but you can't replace a metal god.
Angel of Retribution has been described
as the conclusion to the 1976 concept album Sad Wings of Destiny
(my personal favorite JP album), so you will find a continuation of that
theme here. If there was a fumble on the band's part in this project,
it may have been trying to tie these two releases together because sequels
are hardly ever as good as the original and it presents an immediate bias
aside from the "reunion" hurdle. But taken on its own and ignoring
the Sad Wings connection, Angel returns Priest to their reign
of classic metal terror. You may find new bands that are heavier,
but none have that special spine throttling pairing of Halford and the
two guitar assault of KK Downing and Glenn Tipton, that adds up to something
uniquely Judas Priest.
It's always important to make a good first
impression and that's exactly what Halford and company do with the lead
off track "Judas Rising," a perfect metaphor for the band's blazing return.
This song is full throttled Priest at their best, driving rhythm, ripping
guitars and Halford's full-throated screams. All fears that the Priest
might have fallen from grace or failed to recapture their throne are erased
as this song spins in all its metal glory. The solo alone makes up
for years of nu metal sludge.
"Deal With The Devil" is probably the most
modern sounding song on this album, with a slight nod to the best elements
of Halford's Resurrection album, but it still captures that mid
career Priest vibe and the solo makes you yearn for days of yore when band's
weren't afraid to use their lead guitarists!
Some have slagged the first single "Revolution,"
and while it's not the strongest song on the album and a little bit of
departure in sound, it's still a strong fist pounding metal anthem.
"Worth Fighting For" revisits the prevailing mid tempo feel of Point
Of Entry, fans of that era of the band will probably embrace this track,
but fans of the heavier Priest will most likely press fast forward.
"Demonizer" is about power, from the heavy
machinegun drums to riffing guitars to Halford's screamin' vocals, this
song is probably the most divorced from classic Priest, falling more into
the Ripper era material. But "Wheels Of Fire," finds the band on
familiar ground with a metal anthem that screams of the band's most popular
releases in the early 80s. It's a straight ahead metal rocker in the tradition
of "You Got Another Things Coming".
The one area where you really feel that
this album attempts to be the conclusion to Sad Wings of Destiny,
is the beautifully executed ballad "Angel" which really does capture the
temperament of Wings. Halford's vocals ring in the same somber tone
as they did on "Epitaph" and "Dreamer Deceiver" and the guitars for the
most part have that classic tone. This was an ambitious move on the band's
part, which really paid off.
The band gets the blood flowing again with
"Hellrider" which has a classic fade in from the Wings era but without
the Halford scream leading the charge. But once the song kicks in you know
that by God, Priest is back! While the lyrics can be a bit cheesy,
the overall experience of Priest redeems that drawback. This is a
song to crank to 11 as you drive at full speed to a show on the upcoming
"Eulogy" slows things down again, once
more harkening back to Wings with the melancholy subtleness, which
acts more as segue to the next song than a stand-alone track. Speaking
of the next track, any other band but Judas Priest would be tarred and
feathered if they tried to pull off a song like "Lochness." But this is
Priest and they do prevail in the end. You can dismiss the cheesy lyrics
because the sum of the parts makes up an incredible whole. With a
Sabbath like driving riff setting the tone, the band deliver a truly epic
conclusion to the album with a song that clocks in at over 13 minutes long
and doesn't fail to please in classic Priest style. If there was
any doubt that Priest was back in full swing, those fears are cast aside
with this hypnotizing track.
Angel of Retribution isn't the best
album in the Judas Priest arsenal but it is worthy of the band's history
and an amazing accomplishment in 2005 where most bands would have pandered
to the current metal mainstream. But Priest learned that lesson with Turbo,
what you get with Angel of Retribution is ten tracks from a band
that pounded their name into metal history. The Priest is back and
Judas is rising once again!
Judas Priest - Angel of Retribution
Deal With The Devil
Worth Fighting For
Wheels Of Fire
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