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CD review JUDAS PRIEST "Firepower"

Veröffentlicht am 7. März 2018 von Markus W. in Judas Priest, Heavy Metal, NWoBHM, Sony Music, CD Review, News, Firepower

CD review JUDAS PRIEST "Firepower"

(9/10) The moment that metal pioneers of Judas Priest announces a new album leads to excitement, expectations and guessing when it comes to sound and songs. All this also happened the moment when the Metal Gods announced their 18th studio album “Firepower”.

Judas Priest started in the early 70’s and since then the quintet released many milestones in metal, influencing young bands with their riffs and firepower. Already from this point of view the title for the newest strike, “Firepower”, is more than well chosen. Classics like “Electric Eye”, “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”, “Green Manalishi”, “Painkiller”… are known by every metalhead around the world and even the controversially discussed “Turbo”-release is, in retrospective, far better than what was discussed in 1986.

However, next to these cornerstones in metal Judas Priest also faced an era without Rob Halford being the iconic frontman of this metal powerhouse and also experimented with a concept album entitled “Nostradamus” which doesn’t belong to best ones the band released up to date. Things improved again with the latest record “Redeemer of Souls” and also the latest live releases “A Touch of Evil” and "Battle Cry" showcased the band in full force.

2018 is the year of Judas Priests newest strike, an album that's entitled “Firepower”. Nomen et omen with this longplayer I would say, an album that comprises of 14 tracks. These provide you with almost an hour of rock solid metal, done in a perfect fashion.

The first jaw-dropping high is the title track that opens this longplayer. "Firepower" begins with a typical Priest riff and a scream by Halford that shows the iconic singer in great shape and form. For the rest we are talking about a cool metal track, kept in a faster pace with some surprisingly melodic leads. After such a wowing beginning it's "Lightning Strike" that's next in the batting order. As the opener also this tune is a very well-crafted Priest anthem that contains everything fans of Halford and Co. could ask for.

The quintet slows down with "Evil Never Dies", esp. in the verse. Halford massive vocal range and razor blade sharp guitars are the main factors of this roaring metal track that also includes a calmer middle section, adding a gloomy vibe to the mix. A dark expression is also what "Never the Heroes" is built on, a song that reminded me in one or another way of Accept. 

"Necromancer" is a typical Judas Priest hymn before "Children of the Sun" shows why the band belongs to the genre titans.

A piano-based interlude entitled "Guardians" breaks the flow on the album in a positive way, introducing with "Rising From Ruin" another highlight on the this superb longplayer. "Rising From Ruin" is a built on a brilliant and heavy riff while also shining with a calmer verse. It's these two element and a great chorus that makes this song to a real smasher.

"Flame Thrower" is more of a straight-forward rocker, followed by "Spectra". "Spectra" is a sinister song that's not that easy to approach. It's not a bad one, but it needs time to find the 'golden nugget'.

After such un unusual tune it's "Traitors Gate" that brings back the spot-on Judas Priest sound with face-smashing guitars and excellent vocals, both built on a  thumping bass and a pounding drum line. Melody gets very much into the forefront with "No Surrender", which became a bit too sweet for my liking. However, the hooks are great and it's hard to not be fascinated by this tune.

"Lone Wolf" is another riff attack before "Sea of Red" marks the ending of this extraordinary longplayer. Acoustic guitars create a nice and calm atmosphere. Rob Halford joins, showing his voice in a calmer context. The tune slowly builds up to a heavier one with ferocious guitars sweeping away the acoustic six-string. "Sea of Red" is the most cinematic track of the entire album and reminds, with its bombast, of the "Nostradamus"-days. It's a good song, but there are better ones on the album.

No less than Andy Sneap and Tom Allom took over the production duties of “Firepower” and they gave the album the sound it deserves. Having Sneap and Allom together at the helm led to a sound that comes with a more modern approach combined with a classic metal vibe. What benefits the album and the sound too is the fact that the band recorded the tunes all together, which created a special and organic atmosphere.

Judas Priest’s 18th studio album became another great addition to an already impressive discography. The true highlights on the album are the moments when the band unveils their full riffpower, like with the title track and "Lightning Strike". The quintet was, is and will belong to the spearheads of heavy metal - true Metal Gods.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Firepower
  2. Lightning Strike
  3. Evil Never Dies
  4. Never the Heroes
  5. Necromancer
  6. Children of the Sun
  7. Guardians
  8. Rising From Ruins
  9. Flame Thrower
  10. Spectre
  11. Traitors Gate
  12. No Surrender
  13. Lone Wolf
  14. Sea of Red

 

Label: Sony Music

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: March 9th, 2018

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CD review SIX FEET UNDER "666"

Veröffentlicht am 7. Juni 2016 von Markus W. in Six Feet Under, News, NWoBHM, CD Review, Heavy Metal, Death Metal, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest

(6/10) A joke doesn't get better telling it more often. I had to think about this when I heard Six Feet Under's newest output "666". Chris Barnes and his metal horde added a new disc to their Graveyard Classic series.

As the title presumes it's the number of the beast that got into Six Feet Under's death metal shredder.

Iron Maiden classic and Judas Priest highlights have been transformed into death metal tracks and I wonder if I want to hear these songs in such a new setup.

The instrumentation is actually not too far away from the original. It's Barnes growling though that makes these eleven NWoBHM pearls really special.

As it was with the other releases, it needs time to get into these new interpretations. Some songs work pretty well in the new version. "Starbreaker" and "Nightcrawler" aren't too bad. It's more the Maiden tracks that I can't get used to. I love "Stranger in a Strange Land", "Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Evil That Men Do". But listening to them in a death metal outfit doesn't work at all. And since it's not the first SFU release that covers metal tracks, the surprise effect is gone too.

All in all it's like with a good joke. The first time you hear it you're running into loud laughter. But after the 10th time it doesn't lead to more than a polite smile. "666" leads to the same effect.

 

(6/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Night Crawler
  2. Starbreaker
  3. Genocide
  4. Invader
  5. Never Satisfied
  6. Murders in the Rue Morgue
  7. Prowler
  8. Flash Of The Blade
  9. The Evil That Men Do
  10. Stranger In A Strange Land
  11. Total Eclipse

 

Label: Metal Blades

Genre: Death Metal

Release Date EU: May 27th, 2016

CD review SIX FEET UNDER "666"
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SIX FEET UNDER will release "Graveyard Classic IV"

Veröffentlicht am 15. April 2016 von Markus W. in Six Feet Under, Death Metal, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Heavy Metal, NWoBHM, News

Chief growler Chris Barnes continues with Six Feet Under's 'Graveyard Classics' series. In the meantime it in number four that's upcoming. The guys decided to focus on NWoBHM legends Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Six Feet Under covered five songs of each metal dinosaur and transfered them into a brutal death metal cracker. Here comes the tracklist:

Graveyard Classics IV: The Number of the Priest
Side A: Judas Priest
01. Night Crawler
02. Starbreaker
03. Genocide
04. Invader
05. Never Satisfied

Side B: Iron Maiden
06. Murders in the Rue Morgue
07. Prowler
08. Flash of the Blade
09. The Evil That Men Do
10. Stranger in a Strange Land
11. Total Eclipse

SIX FEET UNDER will release "Graveyard Classic IV"
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JUDAS PRIEST tour dates for 2014 and 2015

Veröffentlicht am 3. Oktober 2014 von Markus W. in Judas Priest, Tour, Heavy Metal, Rock, News

Judas Priest has announced tour dates for Europe, North America and Australia. Here are the European dates. The ones for North America and Australia are in the link.

 

14.06.   Tivoli Vredenburg - Utrecht, Netherlands

16.06.   Rockhal - Luxemburg, Luxemburg

27.06.   Atlas Arena - Lodz, Poland

23./24./25.06 Rock Fest - Barcelona, Spain

01.08.   Wacken - Wacken, Germany

 

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CD review BULLET "Storm of blades"

Veröffentlicht am 5. September 2014 von Markus W. in Bullet, AC-DC, Judas Priest, Accept, Heavy Metal, Rock, CD Review, News

(7/10) Not that much new in Växjö, Sweden. This is also not a big surprise if you know the small Swedish city in the middle of wide forests. Astrid Lindgren's stories seem to be very present there.

But from time to time there blows a metal storm through the town, caused by Bullet - a band that calls this city their hometown. And such a metal tornado also runs over Växjö right now again since "Storm of blades" has been unleashed. It's Bullet's newest album and it comes with 11 metal anthems. Most of them really good, some of them a bit more average ("It's on").

Also looking on Bullet I can state that there isn't that much new with their sound. "Storm of blades" is a logical next step after the 2012 release "Full pull". The band sticks to their typical traditional metal they are well known for. And I think this is good. The quintet is celebrating their idols like Judas Priest ("Uprising" & "Run with the hunted"), Accept ("Riding high") and AC/DC ("Hawk eyes" "Coming in loud") from the first to the last note.

The only thing that I have a bit of an issue with from the very first day I heard the band are the vocals from Hell Hofer. I like the music of the five guys, but his vocals are special. After 4-5 songs they get a bit annoying. But this is of course a very personal reflection.

For the rest the album is fun to listen to and I can foresee again great live shows with the new material. If your looking for a party soundtrack. Here it is.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Uprising
  2. Storm of blades
  3. Riding high
  4. Tornado
  5. Hawk eyes
  6. This one's for you
  7. Hammer down
  8. It's on
  9. Crossfire
  10. Run with the hunted
  11. Coming loud

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Heavy Metal

CD review BULLET "Storm of blades"
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CD review JUDAS PRIEST "Redeemer of souls"

Veröffentlicht am 11. Juli 2014 von Markus W. in Judas Priest, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, CD Review, News

(8/10) Six years after the release of the controversial discussed "Nostradamus" British metal legend Judas Priest is back with a new studio album. "Reedemer of souls" is its name and it is packed with 13 metal tracks.

Actually I was doubting about the future of the band. After their really strong "Angel of retribution" album with Rob Halford being back the band decided to go for the concept story of "Nostradamus". Lost in details and the story concept the album was a step back. And last but not least K.K. Downing decided to leave the band and retire. All together not the best starting point for their way back to the metal we know and appreciate.

Things started to change after the band decided to continue and hired with Richie Faulkner a second six-stringer who filled the gap K.K. left. This was the intention and it worked out. Not only that Faulkner looks very similar to K.K. Downing, he also gave the entire band an extra energy push. At least this is how it feels seeing them live in the new line-up.

"Reedemer of souls" is the first studio record on which Faulkner contributed. Fortunatley things are going the right way. The album is closer to "Angel of retribution" than to "Nostradamus". Judas Priest finds slowly back to their old strength, which means playing powerful heavy metal with no frills. If the album is a redemption of your metal soul I don't know. It also doesn't reach the level of "Painkiller" and "Screaming for vengeance", but that wasn't also anything to expect. However, it's good metal stuff.

The opening package sets already the tone of voice. "Dragonaut" (more brutal) and the following title track (a bit more commercial) are dominated by heavy riffs and great hooklines. What becomes also obvious in the beginning the Halford is still a great singer, eventhough he doesn't get that high with his voice as he did e.g. in "Painkiller" times. But this isn't bothering me. "Halls of Valhalla" is a typical Priest track too with duelling guitars and a pounding drum line. It also reflects the more progressive side of the band from the UK. But it feels a bit strange hearing Priest singing about Odin and Valhalla. "Sword of Damocles" is one of the weaker songs on the album. It got a folk a kind of folk expression which doesn't really inflame the spark for me. Fortunately the mighty riff of "March of the damned" makes you froget the earlier tune immediately. The name of the track tells you already something about the music. It's a slow and mean with a pounding drum beat. A highlight on the record is "Hell and back". The song is another anthem with reduced speed. Starting almost as a balled the track build sup along the way and the hypnotic rhythm puts a spell on you. It's pure metal. But the best comes towards the end. "Metalizer" and "Battle cry" for sure belong to the top 5 songs on the album. Blazing fast guitars, a bassline which provides a unbreakable foundation for the songs and Rob Halford at his best. All trademarks of the band can be found back in those tracks. It was a wise decision of Judas Priest to put those anthems more towards the end. This keeps the tension in the album and makes it really entertaining till the end.

In one or another way it's with these kind of records like with the release of a new iPhone. Everybody expects a lot in front of the release and is disappointed if it's again just a smartphone - or in this case a good metal record. "Redeemer of souls" is a good, solid and well produced metal record. It shows that Judas Priest still knows how to rock. Good headbanging stuff.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Dragonout
  2. Redeemer of Souls
  3. Halls of Valhalla
  4. Sword of Damocles
  5. March of the Damned
  6. Down in Flames
  7. Hell & Back
  8. Cold Blooded
  9. Metalizer
  10. Crossfire
  11. Secrets of the Dead
  12. Battle Cry
  13. Beginning of the End

 

Label: Epic Records

Genre: Heavy Metal

CD review JUDAS PRIEST "Redeemer of souls"
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CD review Various Artists "RONNIE JAMES DIO - This is your life"

Veröffentlicht am 29. März 2014 von Markus W. in Dio, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heavy Metal, News, CD Review, Metallica, Saxon, Judas Priest, Doro

(*/10) Time is flying. It was already four years ago when one of the biggest voices in heavy metal lost the fight against f**king cancer. A sad day for all real metal fans and friends. Dio was not only a singer with an awesome and unique voice, he was also one of the most honored musicians in the entire scene. How big the impact of the small man with Italian roots was shows the list of musicians on this tribute album. The list of contributers sounds like the who is who of heavy metal - new and old.

Songs which are known from earlier releaes already are "Egypt (The chains are on)" performed by Doro Pesch, Killswitch Engaged's version of "Holy diver" and Adrenaline Mob, who take care about "The mob rules".

Next to those known tracks there are really cool new interpretations. Anthrax recorded a very impressing version of "Neon knights". The mosh kings stick very much to the original version - and Joey's voice fits perfect to this song. Also Corey Taylor's more modern version of "Rainbow in the dark" is a cool track. 

But the real exciting songs are from the 'old' guys. The Scorpions recorded a beautiful version of "The temple of the king". And the same goes for Glenn Hughes emotional interpretation of "Catch the rainbow". The are slightly different from the original by spreading the old magic.

The real highlight is Metallica's medley. They combine "A light in black", Tarot woman", Stargazer" and "Kill the king" to a nine minutes long super song which is just outstanding. They managed to bridge the gap between 'stick to the original' and 'make it yours'. The songs are from Dio, but they sound Metallica. This is professionalism, passion and experience.  It's the best thing I have heard from the thrash veterans since years. Guys, please take this energy and make use of it while recording the next studio album.

Songs which are OK, but don't reach the other covers are "Straigh through your heart" from Halestorm. This was a surprise to me since they had already two excellent EP's with cover songs. The desaster in my point of view is Tenacious D with "The last in line". You might say that this is a special version of the classic, but for me it just awful - with a flute solo part. OMG.

But however, the album contains 14 excellent tunes (expect the mentioned "The last in line" version) and is a MUST in your collection. And last but not least you are doing also something good with buying this record, since you directly support the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout fonds. A real 'win-win'.

 

(*/10)

 

PS: "This is your life" also makes one thing obvious. Dio stays Dio and the songs sounds best when they have been sung by the master himself with his charismatic voice. The album shows how big the loss was and is.

 

 

Photo: Gene Kirkland

Photo: Gene Kirkland

Tracklist:

1. “Neon Knights” – Anthrax*

2. “The Last In Line” – Tenacious D*

3. “The Mob Rules” – Adrenaline Mob

4. “Rainbow In The Dark” – Corey Taylor, Roy Mayorga, Satchel, Christian Martucci,

                                        Jason Christopher*

5. “Straight Through The Heart” – Halestorm*

6. “Starstruck” – Motörhead with Biff of Saxon*

7. “Temple Of The King” – Scorpions*

8. “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” – Doro

9. “Holy Diver” – Killswitch Engage

10. “Catch the Rainbow” – Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo,

                                       Scott Warren*

11. "I” – Jimmy Bain, Oni Logan, Rowan Robertson, Brian Tichy*

12. “Man On The Silver Mountain” – Rob Halford, Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson,

                                                    Scott Warren*

13. Ronnie Rising Medley – Metallica*

14. “This Is Your Life” – Dio

15. "Buried alive" - Jasta*

 

* unreleased versions

 

Label: Rhino (Warner)

Genre: Heavy Metal

CD review Various Artists "RONNIE JAMES DIO - This is your life"
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