Have to be honest,i wasnt sure what to expect,'Nostradamus' didnt really do it for me so i took a gamble and bought the deluxe edition at a bargain price,thankfully it was worth it
At this point in their career its damned if you do(change your sound/approach),damned if you dont(and revisit old ground),so they cant win.
For what its worth this is a very good album,time will tell if the fans hold it up as a classic,initial listening wont.Over the piece they manage to capture elements of all era's,tracks such as 'Crossfire' and my personal favourite ' Beginning of the End' transport me back to the 76/77 period while 'Metalizer' could be the 90's.
Opening with a thunder clap leading into 'Dragonaut' followed by the superb title track was a statement of intent if ever there was,i personally love Halfords vocal approach.
Yes there are a few cliched titles,would have thought MANOWAR would have had 'Halls of Valhalla' copyrighted,its true both that and 'Sword of Damocles' do sound Maidenesque,it doesnt detract from the tracks themselves.Why focus on that when the likes of 'March of the Damned' and 'Down in Flames' are quinntessential Priest,as i said this covers all bases.
The bonus disc is also quite interesting, 'Snakebite' is probably the closest to mid 80's on the whole package,yet failed to get a place on the main disc,while to these ears 'Creatures' could easily be from the Ripper years and i do believe it might have been a mistake to leave off 'Never Forget' from the main disc another little beauty.
The deluxe edition iis packaged beautifully,i didnt have any problems removing the discs from their sleeves,the sound quality outstanding. An easy 4 stars