Judas Priest
Firepower


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (260 Reviews)
March 11th, 2018 | 412 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Take it with a grain of salt, but Priest’s eighteenth record is the best thing the band have done in years.

For metal, there’s few names that when mentioned need no other explanation. The likes of Iron Maiden and Metallica may have made timeless classics, defining both cult and mainstream followings rivalled by few others within the industry but there are those who lacked the notoriety, or the sheer grand scale of success. Instead being a slow-burning flame giving us the hope that there’s more “classics” waiting for a chance to be heard. Judas Priest became a staple of the broader “metal” sound, revelling in their underdog status in the shadows of these “more popular” acts while also defining themselves as a quiet achiever in a field of giants. That’s not to say that the likes of Judas Priest aren’t worthy of a mention in the same sentence as the mighty Maiden, rather this powerhouse of polished steel and timely hooks simply brings back the band’s relevance found in their 70’s and 80’s (arguably, Priest’s hey-day) and melds a 2018 cover onto their aging greatness. Firepower is the most Judas Priest album the band has released in years, if only deepened by its members’ thinning hair (obvious bald references aside) and fading leather jackets.

Firepower is a polished and punchy recording, showcasing the likes of Andy Sneap on the album’s production helping this tried and true recipe sound modern, despite the fact that these guys have been doing this well for years. Considering the timelessness of Rob Halford’s now ageing vocal chords and the expected tear and wear that come from endless live shows and recording sessions (not to mention the documented substance/alcohol abuse that plagued some of our greats in their hey-day) his vocals have stood up year after year. Judas Priest’s front man still maintains an unrivalled vocal dexterity for a man simply ‘doing the rounds’ since forming this pioneering act forty-nine years ago.

Noticeably, is Halford’s (slightly) lower register, saving his signature high’s for fleeting moments throughout the album, creating nostalgic impressions of the band’s golden years without straining his 67 year old vocal chords to a point of cringe worthy, half-baked falsetto. It matters little that Judas Priest lose a small element of their signature sound, focusing on sheer quality of sound than holding onto lost dreams, but Halford’s soaring vocals are only one part of the Priest soundscape. Dual screaming guitars punch riffs through the speakers, ready to smack their listener in the ear. Licks and riffs aplenty bounce off emotive war cries and easily audible bass grooves. Judas is both new and old, revelling in a bombastic display of all the typical traits that helped define Judas Priest as exactly that: Judas [fucking] Priest.

At times it’s easy to forget that Priest’s members are heading towards (or are in) their smooth 70’s. Their music is well practised, fresh and has enough punch to rival any upcoming band with their faux leather jackets and pimple sores. Firepower has enough gusto to blow most modern bands’ releases out of the water, before immolating them with their flamethrowers. Sure, there are some flaws to the band’s eighteenth studio effort, but it’s hardly worth bringing up the change in the vocal range and the fact that Judas Priest simply going through the motions, is exactly that. Overall, Firepower is best thing Judas Priest has slapped their name on in fifteen years, and as unlikely as it may be we all pray to Judas that there’ll be at least five more before Halford and co. retire to their rocking chairs and “old man” stories.



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user ratings (458)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
PsychicChris (4)
Angel of Retribution remains the best of Judas Priest’s reunion era, but Firepower’s consistent ...

perkunas (4.5)
In short this is the most focused album that Priest has written in a long time, there are no filler ...

BigHans (4)
If there is a way to go out in style, its on fire. Flamethrowers and axes in hand....


Comments:Add a Comment 
NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2018


9067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hans review is better [123]





Morning all, how's your Sunday's going?

someguest
March 11th 2018


29865 Comments


We just completed an hour of time travel.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2018


9067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Did we? Depends on the time zones I guess. I feel like I haven’t seen you in years someguest, what’s new?

someguest
March 11th 2018


29865 Comments


I'm around from time to time. I see less and less usernames I know when I do log on. This winter has really kicked my ass. What's up with you?

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2018


9067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Same old, a little older. Not a whole lot smarter. Good to see some of the users from 5-6 years ago still popping in. Time to get to know the new guys mate, everyone has to start somewhere

parksungjoon
March 11th 2018


8320 Comments


"Hans review is better [123]"

hans > ipodmastery agreed

still pos'd

crazy if this is actually good, will check

InFlamesWeThrash666
March 11th 2018


8472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Traitors Gate has the best chorus ever tbh

Digging: Bokassa - Divide and Conquer

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2018


9067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hans > ipodmastery agreed




Thanks for bringing that back into circulation haha, now I’m gonna have to change my name again to throw off the scent.

SoccerRiot
March 11th 2018


5350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh shit, forgot about that username, lol

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2018


9067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

We've come full circle.

SoccerRiot
March 11th 2018


5350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'd might as well switch back to FiveLeavesLeft, or better yet, Necrotica!!!

parksungjoon
March 11th 2018


8320 Comments


i miss this place sometimes

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2018


9067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i miss this place sometimes




But you know when you leave you'll be coming right back, Isn't that right Brendan?? : ]

parksungjoon
March 11th 2018


8320 Comments


i used to think the music community is terrible and annoying - and i still do - but upon focusing more on some other hobbies in the last 5~ years i've come to the broader perspective that those communities are somehow much worse and have only been getting worse


parksungjoon
March 11th 2018


8320 Comments


like at least in music you always end up at the cop out that its all fucking subjective anyway and even if you're one of the 1% who studied music and knows theory that still doesnt mean you'll like something cuz you know whats ticking behind it


NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2018


9067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and even if you're one of the 1% who studied music and knows theory that still doesnt mean you'll like something




Being part of that percentile I can't help but agree. A subjective listener doesn't care how hard it is to pull off a 9/12 timing. They just care whether it sounds great. But for the guys who can feel for the talent of a jazz guitarist playing a weird tuning, only to be ignored as 'simple noodling' there's parts that can become frustrating when discussing music.

zakalwe
March 11th 2018


25895 Comments


I can appreciate it but if it sounds wank it’s wank.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2018


9067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

None of that on this album though

parksungjoon
March 11th 2018


8320 Comments


also the other way around

like i respect when someone much more knowledgeable than me goes "well actually this popular song is genuinely good and here are some factual details of music theory that it uses to great effect which make it catchy and yadda yadda" but that still doesnt mean i give two shits about the song

parksungjoon
March 11th 2018


8320 Comments


but yea my point was more that in other hobbies people try really hard to use facts to justify their shitty opinions, and often times they end up being literally, objectively, demonstrably wrong with the things they say

and it makes the kind of heated tribalistic media discussion a lot more unbearable



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