Judas Priest - Firepower review


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Band: Judas Priest
Album: Firepower
Release date: March 2018

01. Firepower
02. Lightning Strike
03. Evil Never Dies
04. Never The Heroes
05. Necromancer
06. Children Of The Sun
07. Guardians
08. Rising From Ruins
09. Flame Thrower
10. Spectre
11. Traitors Gate
12. No Surrender
13. Lone Wolf
14. Sea Of Red

The long-awaited and highly anticipated release of the 18th Judas Priest full-length album comes in the shadow of the sad discovery regarding Glenn Tipton's health condition. This is the bad news. The good news is that Firepower is a very successful attempt by the Metal Gods to revisit their past decades of glory with a modern sound.

The band unleashes a searing and blazing attack from the first notes of Firepower and the title track along with "Lightning Strike" constitute a jaw-dropping 1-2 to start the album, showcasing Judas Priest defying their age and firing on all cylinders. "Evil Never Dies" is not an Overkill cover, but its thrashy character would fit nicely somewhere inside the New Jersey thrashers' discography. "Necromancer", "Spectre" and "Traitors Gate" are riff-heavy metal anthems with face-smashing guitars and possessed vocals. "Never The Heroes" and "No Surrender" have this 1980s vibe that used to fill up massive stadiums. On the same note, the piano introduction, titled "Guardians", leads to the epic "Rising From Ruins" and I can already picture thousands of long-haired metalheads dressed in leather singing its chorus as one at big festivals.

The recipe of "intro - verse - chorus - verse - chorus - bridge - solo - double chorus" is a pretty effective one in the heavy metal genre when all these elements are well written and executed. This is exactly the case in Firepower, a record that finds Judas Priest in exquisite form so late in their career. Most tracks are short, between three to five minutes, with thick and hooky riffs and flashy solos and with a very solid rhythm section that provides a strong backbone for the axemen to build upon.

What makes this album stand out from the rest of the pack though, is what has actually made this band so individual and special throughout all these years; and this is no other than Rob's throat. Here he is using his mid-range vocals more often, even though we still hear him wail and scream and roar with anger and passion, putting almost every other metal vocalist to shame and sounding better, just a few months before his 67th birthday, than those who could have been his children or grandchildren.

Redeemer Of Souls was a good release, which could have done without some filler songs. More importantly, it was severely demeaned by an appalling, brickwalled production. Firepower is one big step up in songwriting quality, since its so-called "filler" songs are not necessarily skippable. The production by Tom Allom and Andy Sneap is miles ahead compared to the one our ears suffered four years ago and Judas Priest finally have the sound their legacy deserves. In all fairness, this is the best the band has sounded since Painkiller. Moreover, this is the best they have written and performed since their 1990's masterpiece. The only flaw is that the album may feel a little bloated towards the end, mainly because "Lone Wolf" and "Sea Of Red" are not engaging enough after having listened to the previous twelve tracks. Had it been trimmed to ten or eleven songs it would have been an absolute banger through and through.

Firepower is simple, yet it is emphatically ambitious in its simplicity. If you listen to it at the comfort of your home, said home will look like an ant heap some giant has kicked to pieces. You all know who this giant is and he has saved some of the best for last.

There is absolutely no reason to reinvent the wheel if you are in fact the one who invented it.

"We're standing as one,
We're carrying on,
Rising From Ruins"


Written on 10.03.2018 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!

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27.01.2019 - 10:29
The biggest surprise of the year!

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