Judas Priest are back in style

Judas Priest Album ReviewThe anxious waiting time for Judas Priest fans is over. Their new album “Redeeemer Of Souls” is finally here. It wasn’t an easy 6 years for all the fans. The last album “Nostradamus” was rather experimental. On top of that Priest announced that their last world tour would be the final one just to back-paddle after finishing it. You combine that with the band’s venture into the world of American Idol and the departure of guitarist and founding member K.K. Downing and you have quite a demanding time for Priest followers.

Everyone who feared any further journeys into Idol music can be relieved right here. “Redeemer Of Souls” is not Priest’s best album but it is certainly a stepback into the right direction towards their classic period. The album in its entirety is closest to the “Screaming For Vengeance” period. Some of the songs could have also had their place on “Painkiller”. Overall “Redeemer Of Souls” features all of Judas Priest’s much beloved trademarks – sharp riffs, thundering drums and the distinctive voice of Rob Halford. The album is also the studio debut of Richie Faulkner who seems to fit in seamlessly.

The album is off to a good start with the opener “Dragonaut”, a mid-tempo rocker that should also do quite well live. The title track “Redeemer Of Souls” comes along a bit incoherent. It will be interesting  to see if it comes alive in a stage performance. The first highlight comes then in the form of “Halls Of Valhalla”, an up-tempo number which brings out the best in Rob Halford and burst out with a killer riff. Form there on the album is a solid one with a lot of good songs and only a couple of fillers. Most interestingly the strongest songs are the ones with clear blues influences, among them the two album highlights “Crossroads” and “Sword Of Damocles”. Tracks like “Metalizer” and “March Of The Damned” are reminiscent of the classic early 80ies period of the band and work well. On the other hand it is not all glory and strength. The uninspired “Hell & Back” and the ballad “Beginning Of the End” would have better been outtakes of this album and should have never been released. That would have made the album even stronger.

Overall Judas Priest have released an album that does their legacy justice. The production is heavy and powerful, the artwork is striking and  most of the songs are good and some of them are brilliant. The guys are in good form. This album makes you want to see them live once again. Maybe this time it will really be the last opportunity to see them live.

8 of 10

By Marc Walker