Judas Priest – Firepower (Review)

With Black Sabbath calling it a day in 2017, Judas Priest are now one of the oldest metal bands still on the go. They’re one of the genre’s most definitive, influential and original acts. But they’ve also been dogged by consistency problems for decades, making any new release equal parts exciting and fraught. While dodgy production and some weak songwriting hampered 2014’s Redeemer Of Souls it was promising enough to leave me hopeful that better was yet to come. And so it has proved, these old dudes are sounding pretty potent on their latest album Firepower.

The most obvious improvement is the album’s crisp, classic production, but the band’s performance is more assured too: the solos build excitement and Rob Halford is on commanding vocal form. The excellent opening title track and Lightning Strike immediately give this album the edge over its predecessor.

But the songwriting is still not totally consistent. Being more of a fan of melodic Priest like Desert Plains, I prefer the more anthemic tracks like Rising From Ruins and Never The Heroes and find the more hammering Painkiller-type tracks like Necromancer and Flamethrower too clunky. But all the songs have their moments and the varied tempo and style keeps the album engaging. And the band aren’t too long in the tooth to progress either: the doom-laden Children Of The Sun, malevolent Spectre and the raunchy Lone Wolf adding new flavours to the band’s style.

Firepower doesn’t quite have the audacity or vitality to put it in the top tier of the band’s discography but it is their best and most cohesive release in aeons. At a time when many older acts are bowing out or resting on their laurels, Priest’s impressive dedication to forging ahead keeps them at the forefront of the genre. Still metal gods, still defenders of the faith, still delivering the goods.

30 thoughts on “Judas Priest – Firepower (Review)”

  1. Great Review HMO…
    Great call on the melodic side of Priest like Desert Plains from the Brilliant yet very under appreciated Point of Entry album. Robbo and company try to harness in some of that style in these tracks which gets a passing grade in my book as well!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah that album was a good comeback record except for that wacka doodle ‘Lochness’ Track…
        Having said that It’s one I haven’t revisted in a while as I always go back to Unleashed through to Turbo era of the band…..
        But Firepower is a real good album perhaps so far being in my Top 3 s of right now …

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I really liked it at the time but I never go back to it either. Hoping this one sticks around longer… but it’s always easier to go back to the classics. Reckon this one will make my Top 10… which I wasn’t really expecting.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think this one will stick around longer Scott! Firepower is one of those you weren’t expecting much and yet it delivers and I kinda gave up hope after watching the goofy video for it. Thank God I didn’t let that deter me. If it had I’m sure yours and Mikey’s reviews would have led me to it eventually….

        Liked by 1 person

      1. And I’ve been thinking about your philosophy of the new songs making the concert experience – and the more I think about it, the more I agree. The hits will be the hits, but if they can perform well on the new tunes, that’s a show!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great review, man. I like this one, but I haven’t actually bought it yet. Fopp has it reasonably priced when I was in last week, but there’s always something else I want and they had one that was on my list a while… so… y’know… next time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Staying with a personal comment theme tonight: Saw Judas Priest live in Phoenix, Arizona, in late April. Awesome show; like really, really awesome. Black Star Riders and Saxon(!!!) opened. Glenn Tipton came out and played his ass off to the overjoyed crowd for the 3-song encore. Among all the across-the-board awesomeness, the setlist included Sinner, The Ripper and Saints in Hell, none of which they had played when I last saw them in Argentina in 2011. This 2018 show and the Firepower stage setup is way beyond what they brought out for that Epitaph tour. And, to bring it all full circle, I really like Firepower the album! Bottom line: Your post is liked.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s brilliant that you caught one of Glenn’s appearances… must have been emotional!

      I’ve not seen them since the Angel of Retribution tour but the clips I’ve seen all look great, Rob seems to be in better shape and voice than he was when I saw them back then (think he had a bad back problem sorted out since then) and those songs they’re pulling out are excellent! Great stuff!


  4. Solid read, man! Gimmie ‘dem clunky Painkiller tracks! Love this album and have been spinning it a lot since I got it. I have a half done review that I need to finish but time and stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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