Timeline

Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls

7 out of 10

“Redeemer of Souls”, released on Epic Records in the summer of 2014, is the seventeenth studio album from the Birmingham heavy metal band, Judas Priest and the job of reviewing it was always going to be tough for me, being one of their biggest fans.

It’s the first album featuring new guitarist Ritchie Faulkner after he replaced K.K. Downing in 2011 and this together with the mediocrity of previous album “Nostradamus” made me a little sceptical but I took it on with an open mind and non judgemental ears.

At just over an hour long this album needed to grab me by the short and curlies, making me want to headbang my way around the living room and reach for my air guitar but after the first play through, it sadly didn’t do this.

Gone were the hundred miles an hour guitar solos and the ear piercing vocals of frontman, Rob Halford, of the 80’s. But play it through a few times and you will see they have been replaced by slower riffs and rumbling drums throughout. This gives the album a heavy, methodical feel, although this can, at times, make the album seem as if its “plodding” along. A slight change in order of the tracks could possibly have overcome this and even the much overplayed “March of the Damned” eventually had me nodding my head as I drove to work (too much real headbanging would have made me crash my car!)

The lyrics throughout the album are generally strong, if a bit repetitive on a few tracks, but Halford’s vocals are back to tip top condition, despite recent criticism.

“Cold Blooded” is the stand out song for me, its lyrics haunting me from the very first time I heard them, a compliment to all those who contributed to the writing of the track.

“Battle Cry” is the only track I have to fast forward as it reeks of “Nostradamus” and the obligatory Priest ballad “Beginning of the End” is the final song on the album. Is this a subliminal message to the fans as to what is to come?

If you want to hear a Judas Priest album with the Priest sound of their 80’s heyday, then don’t buy this album. But if you are willing to embrace the idea that bands sometimes evolve and change as they get older and can’t necessarily perform to the speed and intensity they used to then this is one for you.

This album is a definitely a “grower” and the more I listen to it the more I like it.

And that’s not just the Priest fan in me talking!Redeemer-of-souls-album-cover-art-1280

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Metal Church at The Underworld, London

TUESDAY 10TH MAY 2016page-photo-430776

Ever since The Underworld announced back in February of this year a one off UK date for one of my favourite metal bands of all time, I knew I had to be there. After over two decades away from British shores, Metal Church were coming back, and with a new album to boot.

Their eleventh studio album, appropriately named XI, marked the return of vocalist Mike Howe after twenty years out of the band, debuting at number 57 on the US Billboard chart and the ensuing tour of the US, with substitute guitarist Chris Caffery, who was deputising for the side-lined Rick Van Zandt, went down a storm.

The one and only UK date, held on the anniversary of original singer, David Wayne’s, death, was no different.

Opening up with Fake Healer, from the 1989 album Blessing in Disguise, the tone was set for the rest of the gig. Followed by In Mourning, from Howe’s second album The Human Factor, and Start The Fire from The Dark, the new album wasn’t even mentioned until the fourth song in when the band, and the crowd, erupted with Reset, proving that the mass of metal-heads, of all ages, appreciated the new songs as well as the old.

God of Second Chance from 1994’s Hanging in the Balance and The Human Factor’s Date with Poverty followed before the band reverted back to the new album. The only introduction the song needed was “the video we made” and the whole crowd knew No Tomorrow, my personal favourite from the album, was up next.

And of course, no Metal Church gig would be complete without the classic Watch the Children Pray from the aforementioned album The Dark, everyone singing along word perfect.

No Friend of Mine, new song Killing Your Time, and fan’s favourite Beyond the Black from their 1984 debut album, Metal Church, completed the set but it didn’t end there.

After rapturous chants of “Metal Church, Metal Church” the band took to the stage once more for their encore of Badlands and ended with Human Factor, disappointing some of the more hardened fans by not finishing with the definitive Metal Church.

But did this take away from the atmosphere of the gig? Certainly not. The crowd were enthusiastic and energetic and so were the band. In my humble opinion, if a band seems as if they are having a good time, so will everyone else and, with vigorous drumming from Jeff Plate, riffs galore from guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof and onstage antics between Steve Unger on bass and Rick Van Zandt, also on guitar, along with the powerful, unfaltering vocals from Mike Howe, these guys were definitely having fun.

Their interaction with the fans, both during the gig and afterwards, with signing and photo opportunities, shows this is a band who value those who got them where they are, and who keep them there. They are a band for the fans, and, I, being one such fan, who never thought she would ever see them, hope they come back to our shores very soon.

Metal Church are back at the top of their game and I defy anyone not to have a good old head bang at one of their gigs.

Band

Mike Howe – Vocals

Kurdt Vanderhoof – Guitar

Jeff Plate – Drums

Steve Unger – Bass

Rick Van Zandt – Guitar

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.