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Judas Priest - Angel Of Retribution (CD)

Judas Priest
Angel Of Retribution
by Orpheus Spiliotopoulos at 06 February 2005, 1:34 PM

Each one of us has his all time favorite I'll kick your ass till you get hemorrhoids Metal band(s). Each one of us has his favorite band, in front of which he'd fall down to his knees and would break into worshiping cries of I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy… Well, Judas Priest not only is my all time favorite band but is among the two or three acts that gave birth to my (and yours) favorite music. To Heavy Metal.
After Painkiller (1990) was released and things seemed to be going pretty wrong, with Rob Halford parting ways with the band after a 30 year old defending of the faith, I never believed I'd be lucky enough to get to see Judas Priest with the original lineup…Well, guess what, I was totally fucking wrong! Not only did I get to see them last year but here we have the first Judas Priest album with the original lineup reunited…after 15 years!!! The Angel of Retribution is here and is screaming with vengeance…
Problem was with Judas Priest that during the Ripper Owens (Rob Halford's replacement - current Iced Earth singer) years (Jugulator - 1997, Demolition - 2001) the band's fans were all of a sudden torn into two camps. One camp was all about how Ripper sucks and Halford should return and the other camp was just fine with Ripper and certainly didn't mind these really rawer (especially Jugulator) albums (even rawer than Painkiller). So after that…the fans' expectation had escalated to a really high level with an intense demand for a good record, which would be widely accepted by all the J.P. fans. So, what is Angel of Retribution? How good is it? And most importantly, how Judas Priest is it?…
Angel Of Retribution according to the band members' own words is the second (and final) part of 1976's Sad Wings Of Destiny which, yeah as obvious as it can get, was sort of a concept kind of thing after all. So, 29 years later we have the angel on the cover artwork again…only this time he's transformed into a steel, winged angel of retribution, rising out of the burning ashes of mankind to make something known: You can be a Heavy Metal musician who started kicking ass in the late 60's and still be around kicking butts some thirty-something years later!!! So let's take a closer look at what we've got here…
Judas Rising: Totally blew me off with the way it starts. You're sitting there, wondering what this album may sound like and in comes a screaming guitar chord that transforms into a Halford scream, while the drums come smashing in. And I'm sitting there going Holy fuck. This song's got a really strong, epic Heavy Metal feeling. Rob Halford screaming his ass off, Travis holding a powerful rhythm with his drum kit, Hill doing his job and both guitars shredding (with some nice solos near the end). Note: Rob's voice is in great shape!
Deal With The Devil: Here we have a song which will probably remind most of you of Made In Hell, from Halford's Resurrection (2000) solo album. In what way? For sure the way it starts off and the general rhythm it holds throughout the entire track. Nevertheless, it's not boring, not at all. I must admit that when I heard Halford's high-pitched scream (twice) somewhere in the middle of the song, it sort of improved my overall impression on this song. A good song which will probably grow on you even more as time goes by.
Revolution: Well, unfortunately Angel Of Retribution has its thorns too… Though it starts off with something you don't really hear everyday - and that's a bass opening by Ian Hill - along with a scream by Rob…it carries on with a rather cheesy (for J.P.) rhythm which sort of reminds me of Queen mixed with something which I don't wanna find out what it is…I would totally dislike this song if it wasn't for the bass in the beginning and Halford's high-pitched screams here and there. Did I mention that this is the radio-friendly song of the album which was released as a Single too?
Worth Fighting For: How many of you liked Judas Priest's Point Of Entry (1981) album? I know that the answer might be not many. Well, this song could have easily belonged on that album (with an older production of course, not this one and with less high-pitched vocals). Something like Desert Plains meets Turning Circles…but then again, I wish it was anything like the aforementioned songs….
Demonizer: And after the downslide of two bad/mediocre songs, the album tunes your ears up a bit with Demonizer. A song that lies somewhere in between Painkiller (1990) and Jugulator (1997). Very strong, very sharp-sounded, Demonizer is a classic bone-crushing Judas Priest song with its double drum bass drumming and Rob screaming his guts out. Demonizer though should have been followed by an equally strong track…(like Hellrider for example…)
Wheels Of Fire: A track that'll remind you a bit of You've Got Another Thing Coming (Screaming For Vengeance, 1982) or maybe Living After Midnight (British Steel, 1980). Pretty plain yet ok Wheels Of Fire will mostly be adored by the exclusively old-school J.P. fans. Nothing you've never heard of before…
Angel: Now here's one of the album's highest points! This is one hell of an awesome heart-breaking Judas Priest ballad!!! Rob Halford accompanied by acoustic guitars throwing on a really sorrowful vocal performance which will touch even the hardest rocks and make you sigh (for someone else) while drowning in memories…Interesting how the song inducts the drums in it, halfway to completion and the song generally lifts up a bit yet still remains deeply melancholic. In my opinion Angel is one of this album's highlights. Damn, I hadn't heard a really good Metal ballad in ages…
Hellrider: And now it's time for my favorite song on this album! Hellrider is so Painkiller!!! You'll get the fricking chills once you crank the volume up on this song!!! At first guitars…then the groovy drum-pounding rhythm and Halford singing Here they come, these Gods of Steel!…I think I passed out when I first heard this. I swear that even if the entire album sucked and there was just Hellrider on it…it would still be worth the money, undoubtedly! This song (plus Judas Rising and Demonizer) is all the Painkiller-addicts could ever ask for! Fucking shreddingly great! The riff bridges, the refrain, the drums…!!!
Eulogy: A small ballad that works as an intro for the album's longest track, Lochness. Very mystique - grey should I say, it only has a specific guitar riff playing behind Halford's mellow/thoughtful vocal lines. A really calm yet sorrowful introduction to…
Lochness: …the band's longest track ever (I think). Well, even if it's not the longest J.P. song ever written, then it's definitely among the longest ones! Final track for Angel Of Retribution and what a track! Heavy and doom-ish like you've never heard Judas Priest play before! And you know what? This rocks! It's got the classic Heavy Metal vibe twisted with a really mid-tempo doom-ish feeling. The guitars drag you into the legend of the monster of Lochness while Halford tells the tale…Lochness, confess, you're terror of the deep…. This song is so awesome I've caught myself mumbling its lyrics everyday in whatever I've been up to! A guaranteed classic despite the long playing time. An imperial masterpiece by the Gods of Metal!
The Verdict: After two albums that brought a lot of nagging among the fans of one of Metal's most legendary bands, it was about time an album like Angel Of Retribution came out and despite the fact that this might not be a masterpiece, it may surely unite all the Judas Priest fans under a common feeling - that the Judas has arisen!
Hellrider HellriderYou fought their battle for themHellrider HellriderYou brought them through their despairHellrider HellriderYour tempered steel relinquishedHellrider HellriderYou swarm them all extinguished(Hellrider)
- Album Highlights: Hellrider, Lochness, Judas Rising, Angel and Demonizer

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Judas Rising
Deal With The Devil
Revolution
Worth Fighting For
Demonizer
Wheels Of Fire
Angel
Hellrider
Eulogy
Loch Ness
Lineup:
Rob Halford - Vocals
Ian Hill - Bass
Glenn Tipton - Guitar
K.K. Downing - Guitar
Scott Travis - Drums
Record Label: Epic / Sony
     


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