Judas Priest: Firepower

TOUR REVIEW:

 

Let’s make one thing clear:  Judas Priest is a working band.

 

You wouldn’t know that the band’s first recordings came out in 1974 from their recent visit to Ohio at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown on March 15th.

 

They started the almost hour and twenty minute set with ‘Firepower’, one of the blistering singles off their new offering.   The song list was constructed to include at least two other new songs as well as popular hits like ‘Painkiller’, ‘Hell Bent For Leather’, ‘Electric Eye’,  ‘Some Heads Are Gonna Roll’, and the closer ‘Living After Midnight’.

 

Lead singer Rob Halford took control of the stage from the time the curtain disappeared.   He provided some banter between songs, changed jackets often, and even rode out on a motorcycle during ‘Hell Bent For Leather’.

 

The lyrics weren’t very clear during the set but his voice was as powerful as ever.

 

The stage set was minimal, with some odd choices of video on the big screen behind the band but it added to the theme of the night.

 

Judas Priest still has something to prove.

 

It’s unfortunate that the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame refuses to acknowledge some of the heavier bands but to deny the widespread influence that Judas Priest has had on heavy metal is even worse.

 

Longevity alone should make them first ballot Hall Of Famers.

 

Overall, the show was worth the price of admission.  It was good to see one of the first heavy metal bands continue to be out there as front runners of the current metal scene.

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW:

 

The new 2018 album ‘Firepower’ makes the best argument for Judas Priest to be inducted into the Rock Hall.

 

The first song off the album starts with a heavy riff, a classic vocal intro by Rob Halford, and then the driving double bass drums kick in.

 

And it sets the tone.

 

‘Firepower’ is full of catchy metal riffs, hooks that bend, and vocals that go from scratchy to high pitch screams in an instant.   But the new album wouldn’t be what it is without the added context of almost two dozen previous albums.   It’s difficult to sit back and listen without recognizing some nods to past songs.   The instrumental song ‘Guardians’ goes right into ‘Rising From Ruins’ and it almost sounds exactly like what the band did with ‘Hellion’ and ‘Electric Eye’ from the ‘Screaming For Vengeance’ album.

 

Fans of classic Priest will enjoy ‘Firepower’ as well as fans of current hard rock and heavy metal.

 

Songs like ‘Flamethrower’, ‘Lightning Strike’, and ‘Never The Heroes’ are strong enough to keep you listening to this album that is presented as a loosely based concept album.   Most of the songs can stand on their own and it wouldn’t be difficult to envision some of them seeing air time on the radio, especially with the sort of production that the band went with.

 

Fans of Judas Priest should want the critics to keep denying the band entry into the Rock Hall.  Maybe that way they will keep coming out with albums like ‘Firepower’.

 

 

Rating A-

 

 

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