by THOMAS O’SCANNELL Staff Writer
That line from the title track’s chorus sums up this album, which, for me, further cements Judas Priest’s legacy as one of metal’s finest performers.
“Redeemer of Souls” is the band’s 17th album, and is, indeed, a bit of a modern metal classic. Comprised of 13 songs and clocking in at about 62 minutes, this album should satisfy the new generation of Priest fans, as well as the old guard.
“To some people, heavy metal is Motörhead and to others it’s Judas Priest. This is simply the best album of the best in heavy metal,” says sophomore Julia McMaster.
The most recent album by the “Metal Gods” was 2008’s “Nostradamus”, a double-disc concept album that was met with mixed reception by fans. I myself am a fan of that album, but whether or not “Nostradamus” tops its successor can be argued.
What is not in doubt, however, is that “Redeemer of Souls” is a record that can hang with those of the new and younger metal bands of the day.
“Although not as good as the classics, it’s still pretty good,” says sophomore and ardent Judas Priest fan Frank Vento.
Rain sound effects are met with a huge clap of thunder and a hulking riff as the album’s opening track, “Dragonaut”, gets underway. Although the verse sections are okay, the chorus is very good, as well as catchy. Overall, this is a decent song and opener that signals Judas Priest are certainly in the building.
Next up is the title track, which was also the first track the band released as anticipation for the album’s release. Musically reminiscent of “Hell Patrol”, a number on one of the band’s most loved releases, “Painkiller”, this is one of my favorite songs from the album. With cool lyrics and a good instrumental section, the title track is very enjoyable.
The third song of the album, “Halls of Valhalla”, is the best song of this album. It blows me away every time I listen to it; it is just incredible. The guitar intro gave me goosebumps the first time I listened to it, and the riff is just sensational.
Lead vocalist Rob Halford stated his interest in the Vikings was an inspiration for writing the song. The music and lyrics only help me visualize this huge voyage caught in a storm.
The middle section also contains some growled vocals, which is very unusual for Judas Priest, but all it does for me is allow me to admire the brilliant vocal range of Rob Halford. As Halford has aged, his beloved wails and screams disappeared from releases after “Painkiller”, but they are back here. The final proclamations of calling to Valhalla finish off arguably Judas Priest’s best song in nearly 25 years.
“March of the Damned” is a special song. Although I would not call this an elite track either, I like how the rawness of the riff throws back to the years back of the band’s glory days. Guitarist Glenn Tipton himself has said this is one of his favorite songs on the album. He also said the lyrics are about Priest fans on their way to see them in concert, which is what makes this piece special.
“Hell & Back” is another one of the cooler tracks on the album. I like metal songs that start off acoustically and then go into the electric section, as this one does. I do like the chorus, and it is also a catchy one in the vein of “Dragonaut”.
“Secrets of the Dead” is probably the second-best song on the album behind “Halls of Valhalla”. The darkness of the lyrics here reminds me of the band’s pre-“Hell Bent for Leather” releases. It is not very manic, and the vocal performance is more laid-back. However, the brutality and intensity definitely does not join that category. Truly a great song, this should also be considered one of Priest’s best post-“Painkiller” songs.
“Battle Cry” is the second-to-last song featured here. I heard one reviewer call this a classic, and I would personally disagree. The riff is not very authentic and I felt the wail of “Battle Cry!” in the chorus makes Halford sound too much like an old man.
An album should start and end with a song that is worthy of holding the task. Although “Dragonaut” did a good job, it is really “Beginning of the End” that steals the spotlight. This is a very good ballad, and is one of the best songs on the album. The song also represents a bit of a pessimistic view on the singer’s situation, but otherwise the song is very mellow, and a great way to close out the album.
Although, I would not call this a stroke of brilliance on Priest’s part, “Redeemer of Souls” is an acceptably decent album with a couple of gems.
What is the best post-“Painkiller” Judas Priest album?