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Judas Priest - Firepower Award winner

Judas Priest
by Marcos "Big Daddy" Garcia at 09 March 2018, 8:01 AM

From the Holy Book of Heavy Metal: about the three pillars of Metal…

In the beginning, BLACK SABBATH created Heavy Metal, a musical genre dense, heavy and the true heir of Rock ‘n’ Roll rebellion. They were the creators. Then, MOTORHEAD arose and gave birth to the fusion between the heavy weight and melodic sense of Metal with Hardcore/Punk Rock adrenaline and speed, beginning to breed what would be extreme Metal genres in the future.

The third member of this triumvirate is JUDAS PRIEST, the band who made Metal an eternal young and modern musical genre. They canonized Heavy Metal as it is, as well as brought the guitar duets to the genre. Without their sermons, Metal would be different. Although they’ve are on the road since 1969, their eighteenth album, “Firepower”, is an amazing sample of a band that still has a lot to say to the new generations of Metalheads. If you’re looking for any musical innovations or something like that, forget it. On this album, the quintet is just playing in their classical format, but with a new shape: the album sounds as powerful and heavy as their classical albums. But if “Reedemer of Souls” lacked some inspiration, on “Firepower” there’s an excess of it!

Now the songs are working in the right way, like a JUDAS PRIEST album in the true sense. Great melodies, charming choruses, amazing guitars (on solos, riffs and duets), a solid and crushing rhythmic work from bass guitars and drums, and the vocals are excellent, using an ample range of tunes (it seems that Rob has learned some new lessons about his voice). It’s a classical album of the band in the deeper sense of these words, but with a modern and aggressive outfit that turns “Firepower” in their finest album since “Painkiller”.

Such inspiration needed caring hands to lapidate this precious gem. To blend the old and modern features, the band had on the production Tom “Colonel” Allom (the same one who worked with the band on classics as “British Steel”, “Screaming for Vengeance” and “Defenders of the Faith”) and Andy Sneap (the one who previously worked with TESTAMENT, ACCEPT, CRADLE OF FILTH, AMON AMARTH, SAXON, and many others). They did a perfect work, because all the well known features of the band’s music are present, but with a modern, heavy and powerful sound that creates a great impact and shock on our ears and minds. Obviously some boring haters will say “I don’t like it”, as if their taste was something we care about, or their opinion is a law for everyone.

The heavy fire created by the quintet on this album is fabulous, and all the 14 songs are perfect. It’s not hard to choose some as references, but the catchy “Firepower” with its classical insight (and a great work on bass guitar and drums), the hooks and amazing melodic aggressiveness of “Lightning Strike” (what amazing chorus, and the vocals of the Metal God are showing excellent tunes’ changes), the bitter and abrasive feeling created by the guitars on “Evil Never Dies”, the fine changes between introspective clean moments with heavy parts of “Rising from Ruins”, the Hard Rock touches on the modern feeling of “Flame Thrower” (a song with a simple technique, but that hooks us by the ears), the bone crushing heavy tempos of “Traitors Gate”, and the creative insight used on “Sea of Red”, that is a ballad part played with clean guitars and with a melodic sense, and part using a heavy and distorted feeling. But it’s impossible to not praise all the songs of this album. When you hear it, you’ll repeat it again, and again, and again. It’s addictive, and this addiction feels good to be satisfied.

“Firepower” is a fine proof of a pioneer that still has a lot to say, unlike many bands that live off their glorious past. JUDAS PRIEST is, so hear their sermon, because this is one of the greatest albums of this year, if it isn’t the best one.

Originality: 10
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Firepower
2. Lightning Strike
3. Evil Never Dies
4. Never the Heroes
5. Necromancer
6. Children of the Sun
7. Guardians
8. Rising from Ruins
9. Flame Thrower
10. Spectre
11. Traitors Gate
12. No Surrender
13. Lone Wolf
14. Sea of Red
Rob Halford - Vocals
Glenn Tipton - Guitars
Richie Faulkner - Guitars
Ian Hill - Bass
Scott Travis - Drums
Record Label: Epic Records


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