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4.7 out of 5 stars42
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 June 2009
Phew! What can you say that hasn't already been said? This album blew the cobwebs of hair metal straight out the door and good riddance to it.

Painkiller is serious Heavy Metal. A fast, frenzied, in your face, relentless charge through 10 slabs of pure, unadulterated metal. From the opening salvo of the title track things never let up. The drum intro to Painkiller from the newly appointed Scott Travis is breath taking. And while the tempo of the album never lets up until the slower (but none less heavy) Touch Of Evil, there is still enough melody and diversity in there. It isn't a thrash album, it's a classic old school metal album taken to the extreme.

There isn't a bad song on Painkiller and the highlights are obvious - Painkiller, All Guns Blazing, Leather Rebel, Night Crawler... oh heck, they're all good. But my personal favourite is One Shot At Glory. It's the kind of song that makes you believe you can take on the world and win.

The only down side? Well, at times you do perhaps wish they'ed put something a bit more ballady in there just so you could catch your breath. But that's a small point. There are other Priest albums that I would personally rank higher but that's probably because I got into them in the 70's and those albums mean a lot to me but Painkiller is a fantastic record and sadly would be the last with Rob Halford for 13 years.

If you love metal and don't own this album; please, please, please do yourself a favour and buy it.
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on 1 March 2002
When I first heard `Painkiller` , I was totally blown away by the sheer heaviness . As a longtime fan of Priest , I expected extreme metal but this was pushing the envelope even further than before . This would be their most genre defining album since `British Steel` . It was the opening and title track of the album that set a pace that never lets up . Even today it sounds stunningly contemporary and fresh . Elsewhere songs like `Hell patrol` and `One shot at glory` send shivers up the spine such is the dramatic urgency of the delivery and production . Check out the atmospheric `Nightcrawler` and `Touch of evil` if you want to hear a band at the peak of their creative powers . Sadly , `Painkiller` would be the last album to feature vocalist Rob Halford , who left two years later . Rumours of a reunion still persist but this album will stand as a testimony to the power of the Priest . Behold!
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on 20 May 2005
After the critical flops of Turbo and (especially) Ram it Down, Priest really had something to prove to metal fans. This album, originally released in 1990, also came off the back of their infamous court case. This album takes all the pent up aggression and frustration the band must have felt, and unleashes them in a sonic display of fury. This album is like a metal fist to the face, it will leave you breathless in it's sheer relentless energy. Priest ditched kiddy-fiddler Dave Holland and appointed the awesome Scott Travis to the drum stool. His amazing double bass drum work really propells the Priest sound to dizzying heights, as Tipton, Halford, and Downing fully embraced the trash/power metal influences in to their writing style. The album can really be summed up in the first 2 minutes of the title track, in which the Priest effectively deploy all their sonic WMDs to maximum effect - Scott's drumming, Glenn and KK's riffing and Rob's scream. What follows is an utterly relentless metal onslaught - look up the definition of "heavy metal" in an encycopedia and there should be a picture of Painkiller! The only respite comes in the introductions to some of the songs, and the classy, menacing "Touch of Evil", which is the only slower track on the album (but no less powerful). In fact, the only criticism I could raise for the album is that it is so uncompromising - if you prefer the light and shade of, say, British Steel or Killing Machine, this may not be what you are looking for (try Angel of Retribition instead for a modern Priest album). As an exercise in demolishing their critics and their own self doubts, this stands head and shoulders above the rest of the Priest catalogue.
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on 21 November 2011
Ram it Down was a terrible album. Tired and lacking in inspiration, it seemed to signal a band in terminal decline, unsure of their footing in a changed musical landscape. Thrash was on the ascendancy and the new kids on the block, like Slayer and Metallica, had the new art form nailed. It really was do or die for the Priest. And their response was to release 'Painkiller'.

Perusing the comically daft cover, the omens were not great. However, to say that 'Painkiller' turned up everything to '11' would be an understatement. Injected with the technical powerhouse of Scott Travis on drums, the results are simply staggering. The bludgeoning title track 'Painkiller' heads the assault from the off. This is a massive two fingers to all the doubters and naysayers - it says, 'look, we can play loud, we can play fast, we can scream in a pitch that only dogs can hear, we can sing about a mythical man with paracetemol super powers and we don't care'. Obviously this would all be laughable if it wasn't any good - but it is good, in fact it's superb. Track after track on (what was) side 1 assails and pummels the listener into submission, from the equally daft and brilliant `Hell Patrol' (not a song about the front line dangers in Afghanistan, but a song about a patrol in Hell, I think), 'All Guns Blazing' and 'Metal Metaldown' ( a grown up version of the lamentable 'Hard as Iron' from RID). Side 2 heralds a slower, more melodic pace, with the excellent punchy single 'Touch Of Evil' (a reaction to the suicide court case in the US) and album closer; 'One Shot at Glory'. This is traditional, high quality, classic Priest fare, in the vein of say Screaming or Steel - heavy, yet still powerfully melodic. The highlight of what was side 2 is undeniably the massively riff laden 'Between The Hammer and The Anvil', where Rob gives it his absolute all in the vocal department.

This is overwhelmingly a great album, bolstered by fresh and bright production from the excellent Chris Tsangarides (of Anvil film fame), who has managed to turn the metal factor and loudness up to MAX, enough to give you a migraine in fact. Hence the name of the album does begin to make some sense after all...

Still, it is a daft cover though...I wonder if I can get it on a T Shirt?
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on 25 May 2005
Listening to this 15 years after i first got the album, and it sounds as strong as ever. In my opinion the best Priest album since the late 70s at least, opening with the powerful, fast Painkiller and keeping the quality throughout with outstanding tracks such as All Guns, Night Crawler and Touch of Evil. You can really see the influence on later bands such as Arch Enemy here as well as the likes of Megadeth etc. This is JP at their dynamic peak.
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on 12 October 2007
1990,priest had sold out as many believed on their album turbo,released ram it down prior to this which didnt do much better,painkiller was their album where the word metal finally sat side by side with the bands name after a few years of doubt.
This in turn would be rob halfords last priest album for 15 years,he would leave citing differences with the band members,this was his legacy for an age and quite a way to go.
The album incorporated what the band did in the late 70s but with a more speed metal ethos,heavier than maiden at the same time and faster,this turned many a fans head.
Of course when listening to it today as i am,one cant help but feel it isnt as heavy as some would have you believe,it isnt,but for priest it was a statement and a half.
Halford sceeches his way through this with falsetto screams that influenced many,many bands,three inches of blood are one band that just springs to mind.
Album opener 'painkiller' is relentless in its charge and is extremely catchy as well,the solos feed of each other as if played by the angels in heaven or indeed the devils in hell,fantastic.
'hell patrol' and 'all guns blazing' are excellent tracks as well,fast and catchy,yes the album does have some very naff lyrics but when did priest ever challenge the style of someone like dani filth for profound lyrics.
'Leather rebel' shows halford with a change of sorts in his vocal style,it suits perfectly,fantastic drumming races along with fine double kick drumming,the riff on this track is one of the albums most memorable but they are all more or less a success and air guitar is probably needed so get tuning them in.
What i like about this album is the fact that all of the songs last from between 3 to 6 minutes,this works in the bands favour,the songs dont outstay their welcome and the force of them stays largelu undiluted,a mistake so many bands make,priest knew their game well at this juncture even if they didnt know this was to be their last album with this line up for many a year.
'Metal meltdown' is corny as the title may suggest but its metal needs no sharpening,this is again a fine track.It slows down towards the end to rock like a hammer and send shivers ripping my spine to pieces,perhaps with this in mind this is the heaviest track on the album.
People will sometimes query whether maiden or priest were the best band,priest came first but maiden had the better tracks on a more consistent basis,maiden for me everytime but i would not argue with people that say this is the most metal album of the two bands.
'Nightcrawler' is another track that rocks the socks off the listener.so six tracks in and still no let up on quality,speed and intensity,very metal indeed.
'between the hammer and the anvil' is a glorious track with some belting solo work that would have the hair on your wee neck dancing away.
'a touch of evil' starts with a synth and then a guitar punches along with it and has a Queen feel to it at first,its kinda ballad like in style without really showing itself to be one,not the best song on the album,doesnt really seem in place with what has gone before but no harm in it i guess.
'battle hymn' is a less than a minute instumental serving more as an introuduction to the albums final track,an atmospheric number that wouldnt be lost as an intro to a cradle of filth song,and with that comes album closer'one shot at glory' which uses dual guitar to the pinnacle of perfection again,this is how it should be done.However,the chorus isnt the strongest,the galloping guitars are inspirational but i think a stronger chorus was needed here,a fine enough end to a great album but not the five star masterclass that many state,not far from it but not perfect.close though!
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on 1 December 2009
This is an easy review to write. If you're a JP fan, then you already know how good this album is, and you want to see what other fans have to say about it. If you're new to JP, perhaps a young one exploring the great metal bands, then you cannot go wrong if you listen to Painkiller: get it and prepare yourself to keep listening to it for quite some time.

With Painkiller, JP were back to their heavy metal 'orchestral' shape: the rick texture of their guitar sounds, interwoven with harmonic riffs, melodic guitar solos, and Halford's voice, accompanied by the pumping drums and bass that take off at a searing pace with the the opening two tracks: Painkiller and Hell Patrol.

It's very difficult to weed out a weak track in this album. My other favourite tracks are All Guns Blazing and Night Crawler: pure classic class!

'This is the Painkiller!'
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Judas Priest's Painkiller album was released in 1990 and has since went on to become a classic album, hugely respected and often included in lists of `best-ever-metal-albums.'

For a Judas Priest record, Painkiller is very fast and heavy. Drummer Scott Travis brought a new injection of energy to the band and the material is very hard, fast and Thrash Metal influenced. Painkiller as an album is full of thundering double kicks, buzzsaw riffs and of course the highest standard of guitar solos.

Along with the renewed energy from the band, singer Rob Halford pushes himself to his very limits on this album. At points it seems as if he is trying to win some sort of world record with his high-pitched screams.

The quality of songwriting is excellent and there is no filler or weaker tracks. Songs like `Metal Meltdown,' `One Shot At Glory,' and `All Guns Blazing,' are all furiously energetic; Priest really delivered a supremely strong and exciting record with Painkiller.

`A Touch Of Evil,' slows the pace a little and adds some variety to the proceedings, with keyboards from Dio/Ozzy/Deep Purple's Don Airey. The track is really powerful and when all the music climaxes and Rob delivers the line `You're Possessing Me,' I never fail to break out in a big grin.

Overall, Painkiller is a fantastic album from start to finish. Atypical of the usual Judas Priest style, but utterly essential to anyone who likes metal nonetheless.
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on 4 May 2008
Just astonishing. Blistering riffs underpinned but Scott Travis' amazing drumming and Ian Hill's bludgeoning bass, Halford hitting notes that only dogs can hear, scorching solos ... I could go on. Power metal at its absolute best. I returned to Priest after hearing this LP. Okay, the lyrics are as ridiculous as ever, but who cares ? Pure escapism. Put it on, bang your head, ENJOY.
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on 8 January 2015
Painkiller was my first experience of Priest back in 1990 and my pretty worn out cassette stands testament to how much I loved the album at the time.

Some 24 and a bit years on, I still love this album and rate it as a Priest classic. It's decidedly more aggressive than anything they had put out previously with the band seemingly fired up and bursting out the speakers with a new lease of life. Maybe it can attributed to Scott Travis' harder drumming which features more prominent use of the double bass pedal or maybe the band wanted to compete with fresher heavier bands at time. Either way, they came out all guns blazing and this album is a barnstormer. Lyrically it's not their finest hour, it's typical, silly OTT metal but who cares when it's this enjoyable. I don't think I could ever tire of 'Nightcrawler' and 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil' back to back and 'One Shot at Glory' is a great end piece.

The 'Import' CD I have ordered here is actually the older version prior to the 2001 remastered editions with the bonus tracks. I wanted this one simply because the mastering is so much better - the remastered version is a very harsh sounding, dynamic range compressed disc. This is much more listenable, just a bit quieter. Crank it up and it sounds much better.
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