The pandemic is now over and that enabled Judas Priest to resume their tour, in celebration of their fifty years. The Priest visited again Athens, Greece, in the frames of Release Athens 2022 Festival and all the metal maniacs joined this metal feast. The 15th of July, 2022, was a heavy metal day and … all hell broke loose!

One day before Iron Maiden played live at the Olympic Stadium of Athens, we had the opportunity to experience another heavy metal marathon, which began that Friday, early in the afternoon, with Black Soul Horde. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the set of this Greek heavy metal act– and that was a pity, since I like very much their discography (especially their “Land of Demise” album).

But I was right on time for the live show of The Dead Daisies. Like many other people, I am familiar with this supergroup, I am very fond of their latest album, “Holy Ground”, and for sure, Doug Aldrich and Glenn Hughes guarantee for a great live concert! Yes, the supergroup entered the stage and played its material with much passion and great pleasure – The Dead Daisies’ heartfelt performance was exactly what we needed that time, a brave dose of heavy rock music, an immediate lightning of hard rock by the old ones! And of course, the true protagonist was Glenn Hughes, the Voice of Rock, who was doing whatever he wanted with his incredible voice! The audience was excited and The Dead Daisies gifted us with a tremendous version of Deep Purple’s “Mistreated” and “Burn”.

Next on stage was Cradle of Filth. There is no doubt that Cradle of Filth musically has no common with the headliners, however, the English black metal armada gave a fantastic metal show! Ideal for extreme metal fans and pretty interesting for all the other metalheads, Cradle of Filth’s compositions sounded freakingly beautiful, just as the dark night was about to prevail. I really liked the band’s energetic, powerful and professional presence, especially Dani Filth was unique in every way – it was so nice to see him standing in the middle of the stage, singing with his peculiar voice some of the best songs of Cradle of Filth’s back catalogue, proving that the band is still in good shape after all these years. To be precise, Cradle of Filth were as good as they were, when I saw them live twenty years ago! Cradle of Filth is still here, alive and kicking!

Yet, the time for the Metal Gods had come! The legendary heavy metal band chose “War Pigs” as an introduction to their set and soοn Priest were there right in front of us, playing “One Shot At Gory”! What a feeling, how majestic, how awesome! With a setlist full with classics and live favorites, Judas Priest brought “chaos and destruction” and everyone went crazy, asking for more from the Brummies! And they delivered the goods, in their own masterful, wise and extravagant way. The sound was divine, the performance unrivaled, the feeling shocking. We have to admit that Rob Halford wasn’t flawless and there were certain points that he couldn’t sing like the past years, however, he showcased why he is unique, one of the few great personalities of heavy metal music, a true icon. The stage show was impressive and the whole set encompassed the elements of an original Judas Priest concert – it was an amazing heavy metal anniversary, dedicated to the Greek fans, who showed again their devotion to Priest. The encore of “Electric Eye”, “Hell Bent for Leather”, “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight” was the final touch to a thrilling, monumental gig. With this kind of live shows Judas Priest will be forever in our heart. Heavy Metal is the fucking law!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos