The highly anticipated return of Rob Halford to the Priest fold, are they too old for this game or are they still relevant?
It's been 15 long, long years since this version of Judas Priest last released an album and so it is with great excitement but also trepidation (please don't screw this up!) that this album comes to us. Any fears though are put to rest within a matter of seconds. Opener [b]Judas Rising[/b] teases us with a gradual build up that eventually kicks off with some thunderous drumming from Scott Travis over the top of Rob Halford's trademark screaming. Yes friends, the Priest are back, and before you know it, you're reaching for the volume dial and cranking it right up - this music demands to be played as loud as your ears can take it!
Fans like myself who own the entire back catalogue will no doubt revel in beauties like [b]Deal With The Devil[/b] and [b]Wheels Of Fire[/b] which tip their hat to the past without ever feeling tired or used. [b]Revolution[/b] was doing the rounds on the internet prior to the album release to whet the appetite of fans and it should come as no surprise to find out it's probably the best track on offer. The surprise package comes in the form of token ballad [b]Angel[/b], which may not appear to be up to much at first listen but give it time to grow and you'll soon be drawing comparisons with the touching classic [b]Before The Dawn[/b].
Some members of the press have criticised closing track [b]Loch Ness[/b] either because it is too long at 13 minutes 30 seconds or because they think the lyrics are too dumb (story of the legendary Scottish monster). I may be blinded by patriotism but personally I love the track and hope the band haven't been put off by the negative response because if they play this live in Glasgow it is sure to go down a storm!
All in all it's just missing a slight piece of magic that made [b]British Steel[/b] and [b]Painkiller[/b] 10/10 albums but it's still a fantastic effort and I wouldn't bet against them rediscovering that spark for the next album.