Angel Of Retribution
Judas Priest - Angel Of Retribution - 2005 - Epic Records
|Track Listing1. Judas Rising|
2. Deal With The Devil
4. Worth Fighting For
6. Wheels Of Fire
The new Judas Priest is probably one of the most anticipated metal releases of the year 2005. This is the due to the fact that Rob Halford once again is fronting the group on lead vocals. Yes indeed, the "Metal God" has returned to the group after successful Solo endeavors with both “Fight” and “Halford”. While he also had the group "Two" with Trent Reznor, it's impact/success are at best questionable. In his absence the band continued along for 2 albums with the talents of Tim “Ripper” Owens (now of Iced Earth) on the microphone. Each group continued to bring metal to the masses in the best fashion possible. However, the impact on either side was not felt as much as one would expect. When news came of Rob Halfords return - ripples were felt across the metal community.
There is very little that will disappoint the listener on the new Judas Priest CD entitled "Angel Of Retribution". The radio track of “Revolution” is perhaps the weakest of the tunes throughout the piece. It sounds very similar to the Jane’s Addictions “Mountain Song” but with some different solos and vocals. The remainder of the disk is very strong as there are hints of "Painkiller" as well as "Stained Class". The band has not deferred from their history but instead used it well in the molding of ideas for their newest work. For many fans, Judas Priest was the band that kicked off the term Heavy Metal, building on the blocks forged by Black Sabbath several years previous. Seeing their creativity still vibrant after 30 years in the business shows why they are held in such high regard. If you choose to listen to this CD expecting the next “Beyond The Realms Of Death” or “Exciter” you will do yourself a disservice and it will prevent you from enjoying the CD. I say this as a Priest fan from as far back as 1978.
Among the standout tracks are “Hellrider”, “Judas Rising”, and “Deal With The Devil”. They are heavy and have amazing drumming from Scott Travis as well as the dual guitar wizardry of KK Downing and Glenn Tipton. On songs like “Angel” and “Lochness” we see Rob’s voice showcased to a different level. His rich yet powerful harmonies and range are outstanding on these tracks. Those seeking only heavy tunes will most probably overlook these.
As an added bonus, the band has included with this CD a bonus DVD that features several tracks from last year’s performances. The band did choice dates as well as being featured on the ever popular Ozzfest. Mixed in with the DVD is interview footage which is nice, I would have preferred the chance to view the complete concert minus the talking but that is not an option. The CD comes in two versions, the version I am discussing is the Dualdisc. The CD and DVD are on one piece and this is perhaps the wave of the future on music being sold. There is also a digibook edition, which looks very nice and has the CD and DVD separate.
I really recommend this CD for there is no reason for metal fans to avoid it. Bottom line here folks, with all the limited exposure Heavy Metal has and our constant bombardment with the “American Singer Of The Week” shows, isn’t it nice to see a new Judas Priest record on the shelves?
--Ken Pierce 03.14.05
Judas Priest - Angel Of Retribution 2005 Epic
|Track Listing1. Judas Rising |
2. Deal With The Devil
4. Worth Fighting For
6. Wheels Of Fire
Let me first start by bringing you up to speed on my thoughts on Priest's past. Everyone and their mother knows the might and fury of everything Judas Priest related prior to "Turbo". Those records helped define heavy metal, it outlined the entire plan from scratch. Soaring vocals, twin guitar assaults, bombastic drums, and bone crushing bass were all signatures to the Judas Priest sound, and to a lesser degree the entire new wave movement. After "Painkiller" I bought into Halford's Fight project, giving both records quality spins through the years. I felt that the Halford solo act was a little less than what I expected. Those records just missed purpose, almost as if they exist only to further remind us that Rob Halford is still breathing to an extent. The one thing that really lit a fire under me was Tim Owens.
While Halford struggled with his direction and purpose, Owens stormed into town with a voice that could shake the mountains. His efforts in the Priest post-Halford camp were phenomenal, making generic songwriting less noticeable through brute strength and power. I'm the only person on the planet that enjoyed both "Jugulator" and "Demolition". Those albums helped fuel an entire power metal movement, adding in a generous amount of thrash and heaviness while still soaring in the heavens with falsetto bravery. Look at bands such as Imagika, Centurion, Seven Witches, Cage, and a host of others who popped up after Owens and Priest made it okay for power metal to be heavy and aggressive. Anyone who says that Tim Owens is a weak vocalist, well, in my most Urban bravado and get-up.....the boy got game.
I was a bit disturbed by the news that Owens was kicked out of Priest, and call it what you want, the man was kicked out, replaced by Halford so the group could ride a few more years on the reunion carpet ride. On the other side of the fence you have Iced Earth, a band that cut their teeth with Mathew Barlow at the helm, the vocalist adding his wicked charm to the group's power thrash sensations. During the recording for Iced Earth's "The Glorious Burden", Barlow was kicked out of the band (anyone disputing that should just look at Schaffer's track record). In comes Owens. At this point we may have one very good band in Iced Earth and a quality showing for the classic Priest lineup. Momma's oven just heated up folks.
Now with both "The Glorious Burden" and "Angel Of Retribution" in the record books, the "cool down" phase has already firmly set in. Needless to say I am a bit disappointed with the way things have turned out. Iced Earth just doesn't fit with Owens. I'll say it again. Iced Earth just doesn't fit with Owens. "The Glorious Burden" is a good album but it just doesn't seem like it is quite good enough. The record had a few decent cuts with the "Gettysburg Trilogy" being the only saving grace. The idea of Halford joining Priest was a decent idea, and it will help circulate that classic metal buzz, but folks, let's come to our senses and be reasonable. "Angel Of Retribution" stinks. Just absolutely reeks to be quite honest with you. Those of you hoping to hop on here and read my detailed review of the album can look elsewhere. I'm not going to bother giving you an analysis of each track or a description of the album's vibe. This doesn't even warrant that. I've stressed to you my concerns regarding Owens and Halford, and the problems they are going to run into down the road.
I honestly can just put the blame of corrupting two good bands on Tipton, Downing, and Hill. The critics out there can just hop on the reunion wagon with along with Priest, praising their new found creativity and putting thoughts into young minds everywhere that this is how metal should be. Just keep in mind that this record isn't nearly as good as you want it to be. Sure, it has some average cuts, the best being a weak attempt to capture the powerful mood of "Desert Plains". The heavy songs sound generic, with even B and C grade German bands playing those riffs better and more sincere. Rob Halford's voice is completely out of key, at times coming across as a small child, lacking any real effort to bring strength and determination into the forefront. From start to finish this album is just average, at times sinking into "Ram It Down" territory, which by all means is definitely not a good thing.
For those of you looking for the "Painkiller"/"Defenders Of The Faith" sound, just keep spinning Primal Fear. Early Priest fans, just keep playing "Sad Wings Of Destiny".