2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great return to form,
This review is from: Painkiller (Audio CD)
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'.
To say '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 - 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' 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 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...
Daft cover though...I wonder if I can get it on a T Shirt?