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Judas Priest - A Touch Of Evil: Live (CD)

Judas Priest
A Touch Of Evil: Live
by Grigoris Chronis at 28 September 2009, 3:32 PM

(Review by Alekos Neon Cross Touloumis)

They are the name coming to everyone's mind listening to the 'Heavy Metal' term, they are a whole institution, a myth, a giant conquering everything in their four-decade career in our beloved music's marathon. JUDAS PRIEST strikes again this year, this time with the release of not a studio album but a live recording which consists of 'puzzle' parts from various lives gigs off their enormous tours between 2005-2008.
To start with, the band chooses Judas Rising off their remarkable Rob Halford-comeback Angel Of Retribution CD; I'd state this as an ideal opener since its mid-pace pattern builds up something solid and gallant. Faultless instrumentation, incredibly twisted soloing from the Tipton/Downing duo, with the Metal God singing monotonically but not much in tension, maybe saving energy for what's next to some (in each live performance). Then comes Hellrider - from the same album - which, due to its volume, always reminded me of CANDLEMASS. Halford's singing is notable and takes off as the song rounds to finale; the same goes for the rest of the band.
A realy classic - and a crowd favorite - Î'etween The Hammer And The Anvil appears with the band's fans screaming Priest, Priest! The instrumentation is impressive again with some titanic guitars work, but with Rob Halford a kinda 'let down' while trying some new patterns to protect his voice against wear. Let's not forget this specific song was released at a time when Rob Halford had just to breathe to sing along high D octaves. Riding On The Wind is another classic, also due to its vintage sound and Rob's cruel twisted singing - really a relentless maniac - resulting of reminding of a SAINT (the American Christian metallers hackling in front of their idols' pics) cover take. Immense power, some electrified atmosphere, a Heavy Metal ultimatum, this is the heritage of the beast named Screaming For Vengeance!
The tempo slows down afterwards, some mourning heavy bells shall flourish so as Death will appear - off the band's Nostradamus latest release; an album that resulted in dividing the clans of PRIEST fans and somehow does not seem to leave a mark. It's a song dressed in doom aesthetics, some peculiar charm and a lack of in-your-face target (the same goes for most of this album, anyway) and it's the truth many would ask for something else instead, a more darling track. Then the first notes of a mythical song are about to be heard and sensation crushes fury in here; Beyond The Realms Of Death is an unmatched metallic anthem, fully tied to its creators in order to generate emotional transitions in ease. Then goes Dissident Aggressor - from the Sin After Sin album - and volume steps in again (the song was covered by infamous Thrash Metal legends SLAYER many years ago) while - shortly afterwards - it's time for the title trick of this live album, Touch Of  Evil from the ultimate LP named Painkiller.
The song's take is much more slow and heavy, not of course alienating its character, with Rob Halford again insisting more on his accent than his singing (as pre-said). Another classic is Eat Me Alive, aiming for our necks sweating from metallic orgy! An absolutely bonecrushing take with the guitars spitting fire! As a semi-epilogue the band has chosen Prophecy from their latest album, with the Metal God singing like METAL CHURCH's David Wayne (R.I.P.); the scene is complete with the Painkiller hymn in another brutal take and as steel-y as the original. Here Rob's performance is mediocre at its best, his voice cannot stand tall bearing in mind the specific patterns he currently uses (the requirements are still high). It would be better not to be included in the CD, maybe, in order not to remind us of how many years have passed…
A Touch Of Evil: Live is a release that - on serious thought - does not have a sufficient alibi for being released. The career of the JUDAS PRIEST monster is full of live albums, especially in their 70s/80s zenith when every single gig was a complete ceremony/ritual and some kind of religious mystagogy for the metallic cosmos. OK, there are many remarkable moments in here, regarding the musicians' performance, but for me the most 'let down' moment is Rob Halford's vocal appearance, a fact that may bring on pitiful emotions among the band's core fans. Let it be; I anyway do not know many 60-year-old men stepping onstage and making fans go crazy. Hence, honor and glory…

3 Star Rating

Judas Rising
Between The Hammer And The Anvil
Riding On The Wind
Beyond The Realms Of Death
Dissident Aggressor
A Touch Of Evil
Eat Me Alive
Rob Halford - Vocals
Glenn Tipton - Guitar
Kenneth K.K. Downing - Guitar
Ian Hill - Bass
Scott Travis - Drums
Record Label: Sony Music


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