on 19 April 2009
All things considered this is an amazing comeback album. Opener Judas Rising is a barn stormer of a kick off - the Victim of Changes fade in, the Halford scream, the indefatigable double pedal drums, screaching guitars and the pseudo religious lyrical content reminiscent of Sinner or Exciter- this a simple statement of intent - Judas is indeed rising. Next up is the swagger of Deal with the Devil, which deals with the bands beginnings in the Midlands and, in common with much on the album, it wears the Priest history proudly on it's sleeve - there are countless references to the Priest past on this cd, reinforcing the fact that this is a comeback based upon years of Metal history - from references to razor blades, painkillers, the Victim of Changes intro, Stained Class, Sentinels, fallen angels, sad wings etc this purposely gives the album a hefty lyrical anchor to the past. The obvious single 'Retribution' is up next with a welcome airing of Ian Hill's bass at the outset (not often heard) - this is a bit of a grinding plodder but not necessarily in a bad way and it falls squarely in to the more radio friendly camp of 'Living After Midnight' and 'You've Got Another Thing Coming' - Halford's Jimmy Page wailings at the end are also a neat 70's departure from his usual all out screams. 'Worth Fighting For' is a more melancholic, melodic offering that borders on poignant with some neat vocal harmonies and a great hard core riffing central bridge. First of the cds two Painkiller paced bruisers is up next. Both 'Demonizer' and 'Hellrider' are culled from the harder moments of say Jugulator or Demolition but fresher with Halford having an absolute ball with the vocals. 'Wheels of Fire' is a throwaway melodic mid paced track and finally there are the two ballads which add a depth and colour to the whole in the way that 'Last Rose of Summer' or 'Before The Dawn' do on 'Sin after Sin' and 'Killing Machine' respectively.
So that's it...or... is it..?
There is something truly awful lurking in the swirling metal mists at the end of this really quite great album. Heaven's above - it's the Loch Ness Monster. Quite what possessed them to write about the Loch Ness Monster is beyond me. Didn't anybody in the studio say - 'A song about an imaginary dinosaur in a Scottish tourist spot? - not sure that's gonna work guys.' The track is laughable in concept and derisory in execution, both musically (lumbering Sabbath riff with screechy bits) and lyrically (the lyrics were, I believe, written by a 10 year old) - it is quite simply the worst thing they have ever done and cannot be listened to by anybody older than 5 years of age.
'Angel Of Retribution' is a steely and majestic return to former glories and it's also an album of 'twos'. Two bona fide Priest classics (Judas is Rising and Revolution), two atmospheric acoustic ballads, two catchy mid paced rockers and two brutal Painkiller style workouts, both of which have titles ending with the Priest trademark of 'er'. Oh, and a big steaming number two at the end.
So switch off, literally, after Eulogy as this is where the album naturally ends.
on 4 March 2005
I can't wait to see them live opening with this song! Can anybody give me an example of a 30-year old band coming back and delivering one of its best albums! The younger metal bands SHOULD LISTEN to this album- Judas Priest sound younger than the majority of the new bands which concentrate on technical virtuosity (if any) and not giving a damn soul about the music! This is especially true for the most American and Canadian bands from the last 10-15 years which sound so cold, trivial and void of emotion. There is so much power and passion in each Priest song!
"Judas Rising" is one of the best songs Priset have ever made.
" Deal with the devil" is a classical heavy rocker reminding of Halford's "Resurrection" album.
"Revolution"-one of my favorites-monumental, it carries the glory of "Heavy Duty"/Defenders of the Faith", but it's even better.
"Worth Fighting For"-ironically, not a perfect song, reminds me of my least favorite Priest albums ("Point of Entry"/"Turbo"), but I respect their decision to put it on the album, because it contains elements of everything they have done the last 30 years.
" Demonizer", Wheels of Fire", "Hellrider"-could have been taken from "Painkiller", with surprising operatic chants from Rob Halford on the third song. Magnificent, totally stunning Priest
"Angel"-one of Priest's finest ballads. Beautiful vocals from Rob (not like Demolition's "Lost And Found", which was dreadful)
Eulogy/Lochness- a majestic, epic closure of the album with heavy guitars and supreme vocals from Rob. Reminder of the prog-metal first Priest albums from the seventees.
Overall, one of the best metal albums you have heard in years and one of Priest's best! Ten stars!
on 20 March 2005
We saw this live at the Birmingham NEC, a few hours ago and were utterly blown away by Halfords return to form. Many Angel Of Retribution track were included in the set. Tracks such as the tile track itself and the opener 'Judas Rising' are instant ballads in their own right. A faithful stick to traditional british metal, rather than bending to new wave alternative styles. 12 years apart seems to have nothing to damage Priest's versitality and stage presence. A must have album and must see show. Comparing this to Iron Maiden's recent 'Dance Of Death' this is a brilliant comeback from the birmigham legends.
Cheers from here to eternity,
on 10 April 2005
This has got to be my favorite album of the year so far. "Judas Rising" is probably the most ass-kicking statement of intent that's been used to open up an album, ever! It's probably up there with "Hellion/Electric Eye" and "Painkiller" as one of the best openers of a Priest album. I know that people may think Travis overdoes the double-bass, but I think that adds to the intensity even more, because it doesn't let up for a second and just beats you down to the floor and Rob still sounds as good as he did 30 years ago! If you can't scream "Judas is riiiiisssssiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnngggg" at the top of your lungs, then you just aren't a JP fan.
"Deal With The Devil" is more in the vein of 70's Priest and is a very energetic track regarding Priest's origins - "Driving in that transit, Down to Holy Joe's. Used to lose our head, While metal flowed." It's probably the most "mosh" song on the album as during the chorus it reaches such a fever pitch that you can almost imagine yourself pushing and roughing your way through the mosh pit.
"Revolution" is a low point I do admit, it's easy to see why this was chosen as the first single, but the bass intro is very nice, and Rob's shrieks at the beginning and end of the track make it worth while. Aimed to be a Priest single with a sing-a-long chorus and succeeded, that's the best praise I can give to this song.
Now the first ballad of the disc, "Worth Fighting For". To be honest this didn't appeal at first. But I gave it a chance, played it a few times and I totally love it! Again, this has "single" written all over it but it's such a great Priest ballad about the search for lost love. Plus the solo is so damn great and fits in with the scheme of the song that I could cry! Rob's vocals are spot-on with the defeated, but will never give up attitude of the song.
"Demonizer" is definitely one of the strongest on this disc! This could have been taken off of "Painkiller". Hell it rivals "Painkiller" on intensity! Also shows that after 30 years in the business, Rob can still hit those high notes! He sounds so sinister with the "eeeevill's about" and the end shriek of "DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEMONS OUT!" always puts a smile on my face. And it also sounds like Glenn and KK are going tooth and nail with one hell of an axe-battle!
"Wheels Of Fire" is another mid-paced song, doesn't quite have the intensity off of "Demonizer" or the pace of "DWTD" but before you all shout "filler", this is a good song. Not great as the most of them but it is just a typical Priest song about motorbikes. Good driving song then.
Now "Angel" has got to be one of the best Priest ballads I've ever heard! It starts with an excellent little piece of guitar work before Rob's pleading vocals come in, and then halfway through the song, it really kicks into full force. Essentially how a ballad SHOULD be done. With such a great build up and rewarding pay off at the end.
This has got to be the best songs on the album, and I'm not alone thinking this! "Hellrider" sounds as if it burst out of the gates of hell itself and is taking no prisoners, mowing down anyone who gets in its way! For some reason I'm reminded of "Wrath Of God" off of Halford's second solo album, "Crucible" but this is more "Painkiller"-like. It combines "Painkiller" with the gloomy, doom stuff off of "Sad Wings Of Destiny". Imagine if you took "Painkiller" but stretched it out to 6 and a half minutes and you've got "Hellrider". Probably THE most defining Priest song as it has a bit of everything they've done in their career.
"Eulogy" is a "mood setter" for what's about to become. It's very gentle - just a piano and Rob - and it's very gloomy, reminds me of the quiet sections off "A World Of My Own Making" (off of Fight's second CD). Not a throw away track as it's the introduction to the next track.
People either love or loathe "Lochness". As after all it is a song about a mythical sea-monster! But Priest has never been about great lyrics. And if you dig a little deeper you'll find that the lyrics resemble the darkness in us all. But really "Lochness" is a 13 minute epic, and whilst not quite being the best Priest epic ever the more - that would go to "Beyond The Realms Of Death" - if you give it a chance it's bound to blow your socks off! The intro is very creepy and, dare I say it, "evil" with a distorted guitar intro before the band jumps in. Rob sounds so freakin' evil on this track that when he goes all high-pitched he sounds like a maniacal villain! I will go on record saying that perhaps it goes on a little TOO long, but that "calm" part with just that creepy little guitar riff and Rob's hushed vocals is bound to send shivers down your spine when the song roars back up full-force! "Roars".. "Lochness".. You get it? Bah!
All in all this is one of Priest's BEST CD's! In my humble opinion of course. It goes to show that after 30 years that these guys are still going strong. If you love old Priest then you're bound to love this. It entirely makes up for the Ripper-era . Whilst Rob doesn't have what it takes to go all "Painkiller" on us all the time, his singing voice has never sounded better. I'd personally put "AOR" up there with such classics as "Screaming For Vengeance" and "Painkiller". In fact I'd say the order of Priest's best albums goes "Painkiller", "SFV" then "AOR". Now how's THAT for high praise!
on 7 March 2005
With Dave Holland otheriwse occupied, this is as close to the classic 'British Steel' line up of Judas Priest that we are likely to see for a while. The good news is, that this album was made by the same line up that made 'Painkiller', the album that dragged heavy metal kicking and screaming into the nineties.
Now that the initial excitement of hearing Rob Halford back with Priest has died down, I'm happy to report that the album rises above the "Rob is Back!" hype and genuinley adds something to the Priest canon. If it's not quite a British Steel/Screming For Vengance/Painkiller then it can certainly hold it's head high alongside Sad Wings of Destiny/Killing Machine/Defenders of the Faith. And this album is as good a place as any for Judas Priest virgins to start.
Best heavy metal album of the noughties? Quite possibly.
"Judas Rising" opens the album in a slightly muted fashion, the mix favouring the steadily pounding snare drum rather than Scott Travis's rapid firing double kick drum. That said, it's such a thrill to hear the album opening with Rob screaming over the guitars of Glenn Tipton and KK Downing (definitley a 'goosebumps' moment), that the song passes by in a giddy rush of euphoria.
And after that, the album contains everything that you could ever want from a Judas Priest album. There's a couple of songs which neatly update the Painkiller sound ("Demonizer" and "Hellrider"), a couple of songs which dust off the British Steel template and make you want to play air guitar in front of your gran ("Deal with the Devil" and "Wheels Of Fire"), the best Priest ballad since Beyond the Realms of Death ("Angel"), a great overhaul of the classic Priest sound ("Revolution"), a couple of songs that show their gentler and more melodic side ("Worth Fighting For" and "Eulogy") and a 13 minute song about a mythical beastie from prehistoric times ("Loch Ness" - and if you've read the Classic Rock review, don't worry, it's nowhere near that bad).
If you can afford it, it's well worth spending the extra couple of quid to get the version with the DVD, as that features six Priest classics performed in blistering fashion in front of a ludicrously excitable Spanish audience. On this evidence, the live album (and there will be one) should be the first vital heavy metal live album for about 20 years! It even features Rob singing "A Touch Of Evil" in what looks like a velvet and leather dressing gown!!!!
In any other metal band's career, this would be the high watermark. It says something about the quality of Judas Priest that 30 years into their career they can make an album this good. And if it's not quite their best, it comes so close that you'd hardly notice.
on 28 February 2005
Angel of Retribution is the return to form that we've all been waiting for. With Rob Halford back at the helm they've created a classic slice of Metal that is totally irresistable. It sounds immense and just gets better every time you hear it. The sound is classic Priest - twin guitars, duelling solos and Halford's trademark growl and scream - and the opener, Judas Rising is a vicious snarling power metal masterpiece. Even the bizarre Loch Ness sounds great after a the initial weirdness wears off.
Even better though is the bonus DVD showing the re-united Priest in Spain. The band are on fire, blazing through 7 of their classics and Halford's vocals on Diamonds and Rust and Touch of Evil have to be heard to be believed.
Trust me on this - if you're a heavy metal fan, you need this DVD.
on 3 June 2005
If you're even vaguely a fan of Heavy Metal or Judas Priest, buy this now! I cant stop playing it..they have brought back Rob Halford after 15 years and the shot in the arm it has given them is incredible. Modern recording techniques have really brought out the sound these guys were always capable of and BOY can Messrs Downing and Tipton still shred. If an alien landed in you garden and said 'whats this Heavy Metal thing Ive heard about' you'd hand him this album and walk away, 'nuff said! That combined with the excellent packaging + DVD (and you can see the full live tracks without the documentary) make this a must have...as Mr Halford says on one track 'here comes the Revolution, time for RETRIBUTION!' And how........
on 1 March 2005
Despite attempts to download and hear 'angel...' prior to its release date it remained a closely guarded release. With the exception of single 'Revolution', I had heard none of this album until its release in the stores.
Priest fans will not be dissapointed by this Limited edition album and its well worth the extra few quid. The CD and DVD are presented almost as a hard-back book, with sleeve notes and lyrics filling the pages. This presentation alone is worth the extra money, but it gets better...much better in fact!
Firstly the album itself. It really is a good, perhaps great record with all the hallmarks of the original Judas Priest sound. Rob Halford's voice is absolutely stunning whilst the bombastic production ensures that a band who've been around for 30 years still sound fresh, new and essential.
Moreover the songs are fantastic - EVERY one of them! Despite reviews on the contrary this album does not have a bad song. The albums final track 'Lochness' seems to have been unanimously slated but its actually a superb track!! Its certainly not typical Judas Priest, but holds up against the Iron Maiden classic 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', a track iv personally never seen criticised. Sure you'd have to hear the album yourself to make up your own minds - and Priest purists may not be overly keen on it, but its far from the awful track its been publicised as.
So, along with some Priest style audio ecstasy you're also treated to some visual pleasure in the form of a succinct but enjoyable documentary and seven tracks worth of live performances. This is all professionally edited and produced these 2004 performances need to be owned by Priest fans. With classic tracks such as 'Electric Eye' 'Hell Bent for Leather' and 'Breaking the Law' included in this package, the DVD is an excellent accompaniment to the new record, and is the perfect titilation for anybody seeing Priest on their upcoming UK tour.
So - Good record + Great package = ESSENTIAL PURCHASE
udas Priest's Angel Of Retribution album was released in 2005 and saw the return of original singer Rob Halford on his first Judas Priest studio album for fifteen years.
The album received a lot of positive press due to the return of Halford, but don't get too suspicious, this album wholly deserves the praise on its own merits too. The songwriting is superb, with a good selection of heavy and interesting tracks and a few ballads for variety.
The material does a great job of mixing everything that was great about Judas Priest and tastefully modernising it; the songs don't actually sound like Stained Class or Defenders Of The Faith but they definitely do still feel like Judas Priest nonetheless.
Highlights include opener `Judas Rising,' the heavy `Demonizer,' and the speedy `Hellrider,' all of which mix signature Priest sounds with a modern attitude, and the semi-ballad `Worth Fighting For,' which is a genuinely enjoyable song, in a different style than the band usually work with.
The album ends with the infamous track `Lock Ness,' which is something of a laughing stock, but if you object to it you can end the album one track early and still have a top quality full length Priest album. If you think about it, all the classic Priest albums were only about eight to ten tracks long or so and `Lock Ness,' is the eight minute thirteenth track on an otherwise great album.
Apart from the controversial `Lock Ness,' the album is basically flawless, with big riffs, nice solos, great drumming and Rob's fantastic vocals. In summary; a top drawer album, not just `good for a reunion album,' but just plain good.
on 27 June 2008
So many people slate this undeservedly! It's strong, well produced METAL!
Good songs CHECK! Great playing CHECK!
I would say it's at least as good as Ram It Down (another album that gets an unfair bashing!!) and not that far behind Screaming For Vengeance, Defenders Of The Faith and Painkiller. It's certainly better than the lacklustre Turbo.
Judas Rising is a strong opener - proper 'metal' lyrics & a great vocal!
Deal With The Devil is catchy AND heavy with a great chugging riff & a memorable chorus.
Revolution - I really like this, with it's awesome bass guitar intro, cool as hell riffs, and Halford in full stride!
The album sags a bit with the next 3 tracks, Worth Fighting For (sounds too commercial, almost Bon Jovi!), Demonizer (some very good double bass drums mind!) and Wheels Of Fire. They aren't all that bad, just average by JP standards.
Angel is a poor man's Before The Dawn, but it's ok as Metal ballads go.
Hellrider is a pick up point - another great vocal, more kick ass drums & some amazing guitar work. A really good song that builds to a strong climax!
Eulogy is a clever little track that reminds of the opening acoustic part of Blood Red Skies from 1988's Ram It Down - It also cleverly references many characters and quotes from the Priest catalogue.
Lochness - a fitting climax, a 13 minute epic of pure metallic theatre - one of Priest's strongest EVER riffs (think of The Rage from 1980's British Steel).
All in all, a decent package! Nice to hear Ian Hill with a bit more presence in the mix, Scott Travis always delivers on drums, Tipton & Downing fire on all cylinders, and Halford once again cements his place as Metal's premier frontman, alongside James Hetfield & Lemmy.