Judas Priest - Firepower
Heavy metal gods and legends Judas Priest are back with their most ambitious 14-track affair in the form of “Firepower”, which shows the band treading musical territory found on their classic releases from the eighties.
The most noticeable element on this album is the classic Priest sound, as it was produced by Tom Allom, who worked with the band on their classics: “British Steel”, “Screaming For Vengeance”, “Defenders Of The Faith”, “Turbo”, “Ram It Down”, “Unleashed In The East”, “Priest…Live” and “Point Of Entry”. It is Allom’s superb production duties along with producer Andy Sneap, which gives “Firepower” its classic sound mixed with a more of a modern day heavy metal feel. The overall sound of guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner coupled with the thunderous bass tones of Ian Hill and pounding skins of drummer Scott Travis make this album one of Judas Priest’s heaviest albums to date. Singer/lyricist Rob Halford also delivers his most memorable vocal performance on “Firepower”, as his vocal range is very much in line with “Painkiller”, “Defenders Of The Faith” and “Screaming For Vengeance”.
I very much enjoyed the fact, Halford still has that high pitched tonal range, and it only gives Judas Priest that signature style and sound, which clearly paved the way for future generations of heavy metal music. It’s the magic of metal found within Halford’s singing, which just sucks you into their music while it mesmerizes you. I just get this weird and tripped-out hypnotic vibe listening to him, especially when I delve deep into Priest’s music. I’m pretty sure, with an excellent pair of headphones, you’ll be completely blown away.
The catchy and harmonious choral arrangements of “Never The Heroes” is one of these songs, whereby it just ensnares the listener’s mind and just pulls them deep into its emotional lair of darkness.
Instrumental track “Guardians” with its piano interlude is an awesome opener to the heart pounding rhythms of “Rising From Ruins”, which has that, “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll” feel to it, but with a modern touch to it.
Lyrically, “Firepower” has got to be Judas Priest’s darkest album, even darker than 2008’s “Nostradamus”, which spoke of many chilling scenarios humanity would be faced with in the future. Despite this darkness, the band sounds solid on headbangers like “Firepower”, “Necromancer”, “Lightning Strikes”, “Spectre” and the mosh pit inciting “Traitors’ Gate”.
Unfortunately, lead guitarist and original member Glenn Tipton had to step down from the band recently due to his struggles with Parkinson’s Disease. To replace him for live performances, Tipton hand picked producer and lead guitarist Andy Sneap to fill in for him. However, Tipton will make occasional live appearances with the band time to time, with his health permitting.
I hope they sound like the mighty Priest in a live setting with two new guitarists (Richie Faulkner starting with “Redeemer Of Souls” and Sneap filling in on a live basis for the Firepower world tour). Only time will tell, as the band do not have their chief songwriters and guitarists from the band’s early beginnings, as to how the band will sound in a live setting now. Mostly likely, these two talented guitarists will pull if off and not disappoint Priest fans.
Lastly, “Firepower” is definitely a return to Judas Priest’s days of classic heavy metal, which defined the term heavy metal for countless generations of heavy metal and extreme metal bands the world over.
Check out Judas Priest’s “Firepower” and truly feel the glory of heavy metal in its finest hour.
Epic Records Sarjoo Devani