Review Summary: Steadfast, strong that's for sure!
It has been 6 years since the first (and most likely the last) concept album by Judas Priest, "Nostradamus". Fans of the band, and metal fans in general, were not impressed with what the metal gods tried to serve them. So now, they have returned to their roots with "Redeemer of Souls". But the question is, do they still manage to deliver the goods"
Out of a clap of thunder, the guitar duo consisting of Glenn Tipton and new guy Richie Faulkner shines through. This first track, "Dragonaut", shows that the band is quote unquote "back", and they mean business. No more concepts, no more orchestra, just pure classic heavy metal. The album continues with the title track, the first single from the album. It's a solid and straight forward song with all the Priest trademarks (except maybe a scream, Rob") Then we are taken on a journey with the epic "Halls of Valhalla". This is probably the most praised song on the album, and there's a good reason for that. Riffs, riffs, screaming vocals, great drumming and more riffs. This song sums up everything the band stands for in 6 minutes. It is truly amazing.
Now, I wasn't planning on reviewing every song on the album, but just from the first three tracks you know where this is going. You've got the traditional song, the more epic ones, and some songs takes you back in time.
All throughout this album there are bits and pieces that remind you of previous songs or albums by Judas Priest. The band themselves have said that this wasn't an intentional thing. But even if it was, who cares" If the music is good, it doesn't matter what it reminds you of.
This is by no means a perfect album though. Some songs doesn't hold up to the rest of the material, the production sounds a bit off, and sometimes it feels like the band tried to please to many people with one album.
So to sum it all up, "Redeemer of Souls" is probably the bands best album since Painkiller. It has more sofisticated riffs and better songwriting than "Angel of Retribution", and it's not as ambitious and tedious as Nostradamus. (What about the "Ripper" era, you ask" Well, I certainly like his voice, but "Jugulator" and "Demolition" does not fit in anywhere in the Priest catalogue.) This album is an impressive accomplishment by a band that has done so much, and manages to still stay fresh and inspired. Faulkner certainly brought some new life into the band, and who knows, maybe this is just a stepping stone to what may become a true masterpiece"