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Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls

Label: Sony Music
Format: 2/CD
Released: 2014
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 10/ 10


For those doubting if Priest, who’s three founding of the five members, in their 60s (Halford, Tipton, and Hill) still got it? Yes, and I am not one of those journalists who thinks everything is great that comes from my favorite bands. Not that Priest had any redeeming to do after “Nostradamus”, but for those who felt that album was a bit much with the orchestrations (I thought was enjoyable and a long time coming), with that out of their system, “Redeemer” is back to basics.

 

Following the band’s supposed last touring cycle (titled Epitaph), with ten years younger long time drummer Scott Travis and 34 year old Richie Faulkner as part of the oil/gas mix, both obviously injected new life into the older guys and the Priest machine. Tipton really hit gold with Faulkner, he compliments classic KK Downing while being himself (which I can’t say for a couple other guitarists who have the job as a replacement).

It’s a no brainer the opening riff and steadfast beat to ‘Dragonaut’ signals Priest has gone back to what they do best, constructing straight forward, forged in English iron and steel heavy metal. These thirteen new song structures and guitar tones, all reminiscent of “Painkiller” meets “Angel Of Retribution”, and “Redeemer” would be nice sandwiched in between. The title track, to Halford’s scream opening the epic galloping ‘Halls Of Valhalla’ (one of my favorites), to the retro 70s (“Stained Class”, “Hell Bent For Leather”) riff/arrangement of ‘Sword Of Democles’, the solo section in ‘March Of The Damned’, all employ Priest’s classic ingredients. And speaking of, bluesy guitars in ‘Crossfire’ go all the way back to the band’s roots and “Rocka Rolla”. Nicely done, fellas. ‘Hell And Back’ is moody, i.e.: ‘Blood Red Skies’ from “Ram It Down”. Moments in the riff/bass/drum, sped up solo section, to ‘Cold Blooded’ are reminisce of “Defenders Of The Faith” (one of my Top 3 Priest albums) model which I dig a lot. Those undeniably Priest ‘Victim Of Changes’ twin guitar harmonies signal ‘Battle Cry’, and ‘Beginning of The End’ (as with ‘Never Forget’ on disc 2), are heart felt ballads proof positive the Metal Gods still can make new music that’s as good as their classics.

On disc 2, a “British Steel” anthemic riff and swing for ‘Snakebite’, and interestingly enough ‘Bring It On’ would fit nicely on “Point Of Entry”. And, given the grittier riffing for ‘Creatures’ still has this 80s catchy “Turbo” type chorus. The only time I really hear these periods of Priest. Disc 2 provides a good use of dynamics and variety.

Top to bottom “Redeemer of Souls” is I think one of their best and well-rounded albums. Obviously because of father time Priest can’t tour like they use to, but sure they can still make great new music.

 
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