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Review: Judas Priest - Firepower
Judas Priest

Label: Epic
Year released: 2018
Duration: 58:10
Tracks: 14
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: March 16, 2018
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating

Rated 4.59/5 (91.85%) (54 Votes)

With Black Sabbath's retirement in 2017, the other band from Birmingham, Judas Priest takes the mantle of heavy metal grand masters. With Firepower, their 18th full-length album, the mighty Priest shows there is still life in this nearly 50-year-old institution.

Firepower dispenses with the dark atmosphere of Angel of Retribution, the bloated storytelling of Nostradamus and the tired songwriting of Redeemer of Souls and gets back to the band's roots of short, sweet songs with killer riffs and Halford's unmistakable screams. There's a lot of Painkiller-era stuff here from the title track and the follow-up "Lightning Strikes," but the band also nods to some of their past glories. "No Surrender" has a riff that evokes Defenders of the Faith tracks like "Rock Hard, Ride Free," "Flamethrower" has the pop-sensibility-mixed-with-heaviness vibe of British Steel and "Children of the Sun" is a child of the dreamy, post-psychedelic Sad Wings of Destiny. There's some new ground for the band as they take on more epic topics and song structures on cuts like "Necromancer", "Spectre" and "Traitor's Gate." No song is over 6 minutes so even though there are 14 songs on Firepower, the album still comes in under an hour. Still, I could live quite happily without the syrupy ballad "Sea of Red" that ends the album on a cloying note.

As long-time Priest fan, I'm thrilled to have them making 3-5-minute tracks of pure heavy metal with no bullshit. It's about time they got back to doing what they are truly good at.

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