by MythofRock

Almost two months after the release of “Firepower”, Myth of Rock has come to decisions concerning the latest Judas Priest album. Is it a classic album? Is it just a plain album? Is it worth our anticipation? Well, four editors of Myth of Rock share their thoughts and impressions on “Firepower”. You have surely decided whether you like the album or not, however, our opinion might prove interesting for you …

I admit that I felt touched since I was assigned the task to write something about the new Judas Priest album, as pleasant and familiar memories arose. I still remember –back to my teenage years- my first encounter with them when I bought “British Steel” and the thrill that I felt afterwards; this deep connection lasted forever and Priest became a crucial part of my life’s soundtrack. No matter how my musical preferences evolved over time, this mythical band (among others) introduced me into the world of classic heavy metal; hence, my respect for them will be absolute and eternal.

Despite the passing of many years and rumors regarding their end that occur occasionally, my dear grandpas insist on releasing new albums, attracting the interest of three (or more) generations of fans. “Firepower” comes four years after “Redeemer of Souls”, offering crucial elements that the average Priest fan should expect.

First of all, what most of us have in mind as a synonym to Judas Priest is GUITARS. Indeed, the album includes tons of classic, easily recognizable riffs by Tipton and Faulkner everywhere, mostly at mid-tempo speeds. “Firepower” is the perfect intro, setting with its sharp rhythmic riffs the tone for the whole album, while “Lightning Strike” follows in the same pattern, being a typical Priest song with addictive refrain. More heaviness occurs in “Evil Never Dies” and “Traitor’s Gate”, where guitars offer more “volume”.

The peaks of the album occur when melodies and heroic feeling prevail. In this respect, “Rising From Ruins” is the absolute definition of a metal hymn: melodic intro with keys prevailing, that leads to a dynamic basic riff and a definitely astonishing refrain (I really wish to hear it live). That terrific song, along with “Never the Heroes”, could easily be Accept songs!

Our ears come across more great moments at “No Surrender”, a composition lasting less than 3 minutes that gives a sense of open-heartedness with intensely dynamic riffing and refrain. The compulsive ballad “Sea of Red” closes the album ideally, through its acoustic intro, Rob’s melancholic tone and nicely lead guitars. However, I found less interest in “Necromancer” (although it starts splendidly), “Lone Wolf” and “Children of the Sun”.

Halford gives again an expressive performance, having nothing to prove. Above all, he is the “Metal God”; that means his vocal tone can upgrade easily the quality of all songs without much effort. However, in “Firepower” he keeps his voice at quite reasonable levels, using more melodic –but always subtle- vocals. Hence, you shouldn’t look for the extremely high-pitched, mind-blowing shrieks of previous albums, since they are totally absent.

“Firepower” is distinguished for its proper production: Andy Sneap and Tom Allom (their producer during the 80s) have excelled, making the album sounding fresh and crystal clear, bringing forth the classic aura of Judas Priest, without sounding old-fashioned (out-of-date would be a better term).

Overall, the album offers a genuine heavy metal experience, attracting our interest despite its long duration (marginally less than an hour) and proving that Priest, even at their 70s and after such an extended discography, have the ability to compose great albums. Hence, we admire and respect their past and appreciate their present. In case “Firepower” is their final chapter, it’s undoubtedly the most decent way to end an unprecedented career.

♦ 8/10

Alex Nikolaidis

From the first seconds of the self-titled song, you get the feeling that this is going to be a good record, a record better than the last ones, to my humble opinion. I personally don’t expect Judas Priest to re-invent the wheel, to make a huge impact on metal music, as “Painkiller” did for example, and for sure, you don’t expect them to re-live the old glory days of the ‘70s and the ‘80s. Besides, this band is different than the one dominating its era.

However, “Firepower” is catchy, powerful and absolutely heavy metal to the bone, but in a positive, stimulating way. It has a few anthemic songs that will boost the headbanging of their fans during their live shows. It has a clear cut production from Andy Sneap and Tom Allom, making it look “poshy” but also revealing its metal characteristics, the ones the fans appreciate the most. It makes you a bit nostalgic (no one can resist on that feeling…) but it also makes you hungry to listen more and do air guitaring on your livingroom while you listen to it loud. It also makes you go back on their catalogue and get inspiration. “Firepower” is not a step back. On the contrary, it stimulates your musical interest and overall you enjoy its tunes while the LP or CD spins on your stereo. And they make it in a decent and catchy way.

♦ 7/10

Antonis Mantzavinos

New album from the unique and beloved Judas Priest, what can I say about them? They have taught me how to make my first musical steps. I can’t be objective, I will just talk with love, admiration and awe for this great musical phenomenon!

“Firepower” is undoubtedly the best album that Judas Priest have put out in years and it really shouldn’t be compared with their classic albums. It sounds tight with a superb production and mastering by the master himself, Andy Sneap. Unfortunately this album is the swan song of great Glen Tipton, who said goodbye in the most beautiful and creative way. Robert Halford sounds strong, regal and emblematic for someone in his age. Ian Hill, Scott Travis, Richie Faulkner all of them are the “firepower” of the band, no one lags behind.

The album radiates power, energy and passion, with inspirational solos, catchy riffs and rhythm variations, keeping our interest unchanged. Not a single of these thirteen songs passes without impressing me. I feel lucky that this summer I will enjoy them live in our country. And the highlights? “Never the Heroes”, “Necromancer”, “Rising from Ruins”, “Spectre”, “No Surrender” …

♦ 9/10

Nikos Arvanitis

We all know who Judas Priest is. We all have grown up with this band, we all adore this metal megatherion, who has formed – together with some other bands – heavy metal music. However, “Nostradamus” and “Redeemer of Souls” set the bar a bit lower, as we didn’t got what we expected from the band. Now Judas Priest come back with “Firepower” and yes, this time things are how they should be! The Brits are not just delivering the goods, they strike with a hell of an album and they demolish everything with a collection of songs, full with power, melodies and passion. First of all, “Firepower” has all the characteristic Priest elements, it is a typical Priest album. The familiar killing machine is here, alive, screaming and kicking. We salute this return and get enthusiastic with what we listen to this flame-throwing album. Rob Halford and co. have written “big” songs again, they should be proud of their great musical ideas, their compositions and musicianship. Almost all songs are anthemic, elegies of wild beauty, heroism and musical poetry. “Never the Heroes”, “Children of the Sun”, “Rising from Ruins”, “Spectre”, “Traitors Gate” and “No Surrender” sound epic and send shivers down our spine with their gloriousness. These are the heavy metal hymns of our time, no shit. Yet, all the other songs I didn’t refer to are great metal tunes that carry and continue the legacy of Judas Priest. I personally didn’ t find a plain moment in “Firepower” – something natural, since Priest play and sound like a newcomer band, who has been taught all the secrets of heavy metal. The band’s mastery will shock you, but, hey, we are talking about the Metal Gods! Halford gives an ecstatic performance, deciding wisely when to scream and when to be more dramatic. The rhythm section stands invincible and the lead guitar battle rages on: Glenn Tipton’s final confession is breathtaking. Judas Priest are rising from ruins and we are begging for more. Bow down to the Priest!

♦ 9/10

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

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