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Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls


Last Updated on 08:59 PM by Nikos Nakos

Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: England
Label: Sony Music Entertainment
Year: 2014

The malevolent prophet who answered to the name Nostradamus and was waiting for the bitter end to come, was finally banished and so Judas Priest can finally ascend into heavens like “metal gods”, as we are accustomed in calling them. The failed attempt to experiment with concept rock opera in “Nostradamus” left no other path to the band, but to return to well known musical roads in order to redeem themselves. While listening to “Redeemer of Souls”, we see the band returning -not without success- to their roots.

The album has the potential to totally divide their fans. Some would logically expect as a necessity, counting on the band’s huge history for the LP to be the next classic metal album that would electrify them, however this doesn’t seem possible with “Redeemer”.

Priest aren’t just another band, they have obviously identified their weaknesses so they take the “ship” to safe harbor, where they still can achieve their max. No one can call that a compromise, to the contrary they are trying to continue their legacy. Alas, if after 40 years of musical history they would try to redefine heavy metal and teach the next generations. They deserve neither to be in dispute, nor to seek confirmation.

Starting the review, we realize that Rob is unable to perform like he used to years ago, and by descending a few octaves, he leaves the album with a lack of high vocal notes (truthfully, that was likely to happen at the age of 63). As a result, some of the songs are focused on mid-tempo rhythms, depraving of them the poignancy, which many of the fans are desperately seeking in them, while at the same time other songs are more speedy and straight, like “Halls of Valhalla” (which reminds me of Sabbath’s “Valhalla”, don’t ask me why), balancing the vocal performance and letting us know that the metal god has still a little magic in store for us. Faulkner seems to be doing a fine job in his difficult task (still something seems to be missing there), though drums have a rather dominative sound, while the whole album’s sound, by the way, is quite satisfying. All those who took their interest in Judas Priest through “Painkiller” will be affiliated with “Down in Flames” and “Battle Cry”, those who have no interest in older recordings like “Turbo” or “Sin after Sin” and “Ram it Down” may be displeased with “March of the Damned”, “Hell and Back”, “Crossfire”. As I foretold the album may be controversial. So there we have the mediocre songs of the LP, which by no means can be measured as mediocre. The deluxe edition contains of 5 decent bonus tracks, with “Tears of Blood” standing out.

By and large, we have here a very mature album (personally I consider it to be their best since the Painkiller era), consisting of a review of their whole music course, with a blues and heavy priest-ish touch from the 70’s up to the 90’s, making each song representative of a specific time in the band’s history. I recommend attentive and repetitive listening to the LP, as it is not an instant winner. The album isn’t overall brilliant, still it is a fair and decent comeback of a long loved band. And if “Redeemer” is destined to be their swansong then you should celebrate this return by singing the ballad “Never Forget”, which the band devoted to us:

As we relive the best times of our lives
You were there for us and stood right by our sides
Yes we know that all good things come to an end
This is just farewell and not goodbye my friends
And we thank you for it all
We will never forget
We’ll play on till the end
It’s not over my friends
We are together tonight
Reunited for all of our lives
And we thank you for it all
We will never forget

Best moments of the album are: “Dragonaut”, “Halls of Valhalla”, “Sword of Damocles, “Down in Flames”, “Battle Cry”, and the best hypnotic ballad the band composed the last 30 years, “Beginning of the End”.

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