APRIL 2nd 2018

Review By: Char Tupper

One of metal’s classic heavy hitters, Judas Priest is back once again with another new record called “Firepower”. Let’s just say, this new record packs a punch unlike the last. For those who don’t know about Judas Priest, which is unlikely, but let me give you a little information on these guys. Forming back in 1969 in the industrial West Bromwich, England, going through line-up changes and “ups and downs” within the band, now jumping forward to 2018, where we have a more solid line-up, where the band couldn’t be in a better place compared to their early days. Just goes to show, work hard enough for something, and you can conquer all. Judas Priest is considered one of the greatest metal bands of all time, selling 50 million records worldwide over the years, the rise of the mighty Judas Priest is amongst us. Their latest record is also proving a great success, with chart topping numbers, including hitting #5 on the US Billboard charts, surpassing their previous release that hit the #6 slot. It is always so great to read when metal gets recognized for its accomplishments and steps forward. I know myself, I am not even 30 years old, and I can see how much the industry has changed over the years, and metal is finally getting more and more recognized around the world, not just in the “niche” areas like Europe or Southern United States, but around the globe.

Now this record starts off with a bang with the title track “Firepower”, heavy guitar riffs leading into one of Rob’s classic screams. The song overall is catchy in a traditional Judas Priest kind of way, high energy and full of fast paced blast beats and guitars that just make you want to play the “invisible guitar” yourself and rock out. The track leads into “Lightning Strike”, which at this moment, is my favourite track on the record, that however, could change a week from now. This particular song catches my attention with the emphasize on the guitars continuously throughout the song, not just one guitar solo, but to draw you in from beginning to end. Let’s not forget the other components, Rob’s voice sounds fantastic throughout the entire album, but on this track, I like the range of vocal styles from screams, to even a bit more melodic clean singing. I feel this song pays homage to all the vocal styles of Rob, which is great to hear. The rhythm throughout the whole song remains consistent, but not to the point of “repetitive”, it is so catchy and in your face, I absolutely love the tone of this one. Now the entire record, I will say blew me away. I am not a die-hard Judas Priest fan, but this album may just change that. I love the diversity of the tracks on this one, lots of energy, high-paced tracks, but they also take time to slow down on a couple tracks, which bands don’t often do anymore. For example, Guardians is a track that I was surprised I enjoyed, since I personally am a “fast paced” song kind of woman, when I drive, the slow songs get “passed”, because I need speed to keep me going, but Guardians makes me rethink this theory a bit. The song still has heavy riffs during the chorus joined by blasts from the drums, but when the song slows down its tempo, it showcases the clean vocals of Rob and the melody of slower guitars accompanied by a heavier bass line that adds a smooth finish to the track. Of course, a ballad influenced track isn’t the same without a classic heavy metal guitar solo, which is breathtaking. 

This record overall, I am speechless. If MetalTitans had a rating system, it would be 5 out of 5 ! If you asked me to review this 10 years ago to my “old self”, might be a little different, but thanks to the evolution of metal and having previous experience photographing this one of a kind band, I like to honestly say my musical palette has expanded to so much more thanks to this job, and I love every second of it, and getting the chance to review records like this, fantastic! This album lives in my car right now, it is my “joy ride soundtrack”. I am definitely catching them on their next US Tour this spring, full show this time, not just in the photopit (although, I will be there too ready for heavy metal action !) .   Don’t miss your chance to see Judas Priest live,besides the fact that Glenn Tipton has cut back on live performances due to Parkinson's disease, which is heart breaking,  but also because their latest record is beyond words, and I can only imagine how great it will be live on the stage, and to support one of the greatest metal bands of all time.