The legendary Judas Priest return once again, delivering a mighty fine record that pays tribute to their catalog of eighteen albums across a career that's soon to hit a whooping fifty years. At this point I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't their last but it would certainly be a rock solid chapter to close their discography with. After several hiatuses, farewell tours and reunions it feels like the Priest guys just can't give it up and who could blame them? Now approaching their seventies the live shows have been muted for some time but in the studio they rock as hard as ever.
Firepower is a bright, crisp sounding record brimming with the Priest attitude, the triumphant march of Heavy Metal vitality sound potent and vigorous. At an hour and fourteen tracks it paces through its intensities with a few moments break. It starts with its first pumping anthems, loaded with hasty crunching guitar riffs and blazing guitar solos that soar and scale with an electric charge. After marching through a weight of head banging goodness the album steadily winds down the tempo and its slower, thematic songs take hold in the second half as calm, melodic intros set a tone for the more measured and steady lunge of Metal in their arsenal.
Halford gives one heck of a performance, sounding as keen, youthful and on point as ever. At sixty six years young his falsetto scream is as blisteringly sharp, as ferocious as its always been and when dropping in with his more twisted and layered hooks they hit hard! The theatrical nature of Priest and their songs about fantasy driven tales of evil and necromancers has always been a wonderful fit for Halford but this time around the chemistry is ripe, the music firing on all cylinders and he is the icing on the cake.
Initially I wasn't so keen on Firepower. It was a typical Priest album as I would of expected, their style unfaltering. As the quality of the songs quickly grew on me with each listen It became apparent that no one can do it as good as these guys. Sometimes you want band to evolve and grow, try new things but at this stage in their career their is only one thing these musicians want to do and its really reflected in the music. Approaching fifty years as a band they can still write music that will sound fantastic alongside their classics.
Favorite Tracks: Lightning Strike, Evil Never Dies, Necromancer, Rising From Ruins