February 26, 2018 Judas Priest – Firepower (Album Review)
Over 50 million screaming records sold, the undisputed Metal Gods, Judas Priest – Rob Halford (vocals), Glenn Tipton (guitar), Ian Hill (bass), Richie Faulkner (guitar), and Scott Travis (drums) – return in scorching form to deliver their newest offering, Firepower, set for release on March 9, 2018 on Epic Records. Production credits on Firepower go to veteran Producers Tom Allom, his tenth album for Judas Priest, and Andy Sneap, who has produced acts like Testament, Overkill, and Fozzy. So, how do the Metal Gods fare in their highly anticipated return?
A profound force in the genre, bordering on five decades, Judas Priest harvested a dominating legacy of timeless Heavy Metal music, unequivocally establishing themselves as the pure definition of Metal. Worldwide, the unbridled worshipers of Judas Priest are an undying fan base who keep the band a top draw, selling out arenas and pushing the leather-clad music to the top of the charts album after album. It is safe to say, Judas Priest have made a mark forever etched into the hallowed halls of Heavy Metal.
Sadly, on February 12, 2018, Tipton made public his battle with Parkinson’s Disease over the past ten years and due to the current stage of the disease, he will be unable to tour. Tipton will proudly remain a member of Judas Priest and hopes to be able to make on-stage appearances in the future. A seasoned guitar player, Andy Sneap will cover for Tipton throughout the upcoming tour.
A beast that cannot be stopped, following-up their last release, the conceptual 2014’s Redeemer of Souls, Judas Priest are ablaze as the band returns to playing straight-up, fists in the air, obliterating Heavy Metal throughout Firepower. Starting from the opening licks of the title-track, the album kicks off in amazing configuration, burning bright with everything die-hard fans love about Judas Priest. Then comes “Lightning Strikes,” which is the first cut off Firepower to see a video go along with the track. The song illuminates classic Judas Priest in a new age while vocally resembling that of 1970s era for the band.
Stalking upon the opening riff, the imminent danger of “Evil Never Dies” holds a menacing chorus to rattle the infrastructure of the listener’s ear drums as Halford’s vocals speak of evil with unadulterated contempt. “Never The Heroes” is molded to kill and sacrificed to war before the conjuring riff of “Necromancer” enthralls in sorcery. Fallen lambs, the haunting riffs in “Children Of The Sun” cry out of the amplifiers, damning a lost society for all eternity.
Next, the interlude, instrumental “Guardians” ushers in “Rise From Ruins,” which comes up out of the ashes to defeat evil. Building a theme to Firepower, “Flame Thrower” lights up the listener to a riff that stunningly sings along with Halford, as the cunning vocalist belts out the words “Flame Thrower!” Not slowing down, the mind control of “Spectre” precedes the cut “Traitors Gate” as this back-stabber, or you could say a ‘Judas,’ begs for absolution. Steamrolling on, “No Surrender” vehemently goes the distance before the slow treading storm of “Lone Wolf.” A fitting conclusion, “Sea Of Red” is a slow but heavy rebirth, sacrificing one to save another.
Commanders in Heavy Metal, Judas Priest still have it, and championed their best work in years with Firepower. As many acts of their generation stop writing new music, Judas Priest not only continue to create, they serve as the measuring stick for Heavy Metal bands and reign supreme, giving their all to every moment of the fourteen track album. One of the best vocalists to ever scream into a microphone, Halford smashes with utter brilliance, as Tipton and Faulkner rip on guitar, while Hill and Travis are the backbone of this monster known as Judas Priest. One of the most talked about Metal albums of 2018, CrypticRock gives Firepower 5 out of 5 Stars.