Album Review: Firepower - Judas Priest
Artist: Judas Priest
Release Date: March 9th, 2018
Review by Steve Jenkins
It's been 4 years since the mighty Judas Priest released their 17th studio album, Redeemer Of Souls, many critics and fans alike were rather split after they first heard it, but it didn't take long for expectations to be exceeded. Approaching a gigantic 40 year career as a band, Judas Priest still manage to blow away listeners with their traditional metal sound that is always going to cement them as one of the best bands of all time.
Now, in 2018, we have Firepower. Just like a clap of thunder and a strike of lightning, that classic guitar sound cracks into full gear, Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton shine together as if it were the old days. If the first track "Firepower" is anything to go by, Priest are back and they mean business. This is just straight up, no frills, no bullshit, classic heavy metal. Most of the tracks that follow are extremely solid in their delivery and quite straight forward with all of the added Judas Priest trademarks that we all know and love, including the famous and astonishing Rob Halford scream. Riffs are here people, riffs galore, and memorable ones at that which can be found on tracks such as "Lightning Strike" and "No Surrender."
There are of course moments on Firepower that take you back to previous albums by Judas Priest, but what I noticed most about this record is how it sounds like an album made in 2018. The production is modern, but not over-the-top, it's just really good and it kind of makes you think that this is what metal should sound like and perhaps what you've been missing lately. Tracks like "Necromancer" for example takes things to the extreme, with quick tempo, pure heaviness and groove that not only makes it sound heavier but makes you realise just what level this band is on compared to their peers. Even the slower tracks like "Children Of The Sun or "Lone Wolf" sound super heavy thanks to the brilliant production and quality riffs.
Despite being 14 tracks (just under an hour) long, it somehow manages to pull things off and hold interest without becoming drawn out or boring, which is rare, especially with a metal record. Bottom line, Firepower has restored my faith in heavy metal and serves as a reminder why I fell in love with this music to begin with. It's just a classic blend of modern mixed with the old, kept together with amazing musicianship and astonishing vocals. There aren't that many bands that can release this many studio albums over a 40 year career and somehow manage to blow their competition out of the water, but they've done it with Firepower and everyone needs to listen and appreciate how important Judas Priest are to not only metal, but music. An early contender for album of the year, without question.
9.5 out of 10
Firepower is available March 9th via Sony Music
Listen to the track "Firepower" below: