|Review: Judas Priest - Angel of Retribution|
|Angel of Retribution|
Label: Columbia Records
Year released: 2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: March 7, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Angel of Retribution
Rated 4/5 (80%) (46 Votes)
By now everybody knows the new Priest features the return of Rob Halford, everybody knows it's a return to form for this band, who have only taken 15 years to produce an album that isn't completely worthless shit. I think that has to rate as some sort of record for coasting on reputation. Now before you sharpen your fanboy knives, I want to say right out that I think this album is pretty good, but I think we need a reality check here, folks, because this is not that good.
Apparently Glen and KK cannot write without Rob. I mean it's pretty obvious. "Jugulator" and "Demolition" pretty much proved that on their own the famous duo can produce nothing of any value at all, just a bunch of downtuned mallcore crap. "Angel Of Retribution" actually sounds like a Judas Priest album, which hasn't happened since "Painkiller". It has actual metal riffs, actual good solos, and vocal lines that make you want to sing along, rather than shoot yourself. (Tim Owens can really fucking sing, but he cannot fucking write a vocal line.) A lot of people, and I mean a LOT, are heralding this as some kind of epochal 'savior of metal' album. But whoa there cowboy, and let's look at this puppy a little closer.
First we get "Judas Rising", which is pretty good, but just that. If it had a better chorus, or some time changes or picked up at some point, then it would rule. But after many listens to the album it has become a track I skip, as it has just become kind of dull. Me, I go straight for "Deal With The Devil", which is such a total JP song you will swear they must have dug it up as a lost track off "Defenders Of The Faith" or something. I have to say I admire their nads for using a warmer, more retro guitar sound, and not going for a super-slick pro-tools-infested production. Now we hit the dead spot on the album, first the dull "Revolution", followed by the also dull "Worth Fighting For" – two slow songs in a row, and not good ones like "Touch Of Evil" or "Victim Of Changes", they are not bad songs, but they are boring as fuck, I'd much rather skip straight to "Demonizer" which kicks some serious old-school ass. Rob sounds great on this track, and it continues to boggle me how a guy as old as my dad can still wail like that.
"Wheels Of Fire" is a bit more restrained, but it still rocks mightily, forming a nice one-two punch with the preceding track. Which brings us to the one real dog on this album. "Angel" is just a suck-ass ballad with no reason to be here. Skip to "Hellrider" which gets back to the ass-stomping, but is not quite as good as the other rockers on here. "Eulogy" is boring, and "Loch Ness" is boring and long. Way too long. I don't mind long songs as long as they are not just long for the sake of it. There's no reason for this song to go on for 10+ minutes when six would have been plenty. It has some good riffs and a decent chorus, but it just wears out long before the song is over.
So we really have 4 good songs, 3 or 4 OK ones, and only 2 I really hate. On the whole, not a great ratio on a 10-track album. I suppose we should be glad this album is not another crapfest like "Jugulator", but I know Judas Priest can do better than this, and I'm not going to praise them too highly simply for not sucking. This is a huge step in the right direction, and is an album every true Priest fan will want to get, but don't believe the hype and expect more than this album can deliver. "Angel Of Retribution" is good, but get a grip people: it's not any better than that.
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