This, the Metal pioneers’ 18th studio release, is a masterpiece! I haven’t heard Judas Priest sound like this, and have been waiting for a follow-up like this, since 82’s Screaming for Vengeance. Rob Halford still presents an electric presence (at 66 years-old). His vocal harmonizing, here, is incredible – reminiscent of King Diamond; granted, a couple octaves lower. Glen Tipton (having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease 3-4 years ago), of course, delivers on the riffs, even at age 70. Tipton, together with Richie Faulkner, handle well the joint six-string grooves, which often have the European melodic sound of Arch Enemy and others of the like. Ian Hill, as usual, covers the four-stringed rhythm section beautifully (Tipton and Hill are the only members to play on all 18 records). And Scott Travis is an excellent addition on the skins, particularly the double kicks. [It should be noted that, long time Ax-man, K.K. Downing retired from the band in 2011, and did not return for this record.]
Despite the fact that Priest helped pioneer the Heavy Metal genre (cranking up the sound in 1969, from England), selling over 50,000,000 albums worldwide, many platinum records (Screaming for Vengeancehitting double platinum), as of the date of this writing they still have not been inducted into the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame. But I think Firepowerwill help change their fortune.
In spite of the fact that I compared the sound of Firepowerto other artists, it stands on its own as genuinely Judas Priest. Songs like the title track, Lightning Strike, Evil Never Dies, Flame Thrower, and Traitors Gate are classic Priest, only amped up. Necromancer is probably the heaviest track on the record, while Never the Heroes, Rising from the Ruins, Spectre, No Surrender, and Lone Wolf are your melodic-metal tracks with the Priestly twist. Children of the Sun (a song about environmental issues) is an excellent example of Halford’s vocal range and the rest of the bands ability to flat-out rip. Sea of Red (written in memory of the soldiers killed in WWI), though not a traditional ballad, is a beautiful dedication lacking nothing. In fact, even considering the (1:06) Guardians, nothing is wasted in this 14 track offering. There is no fluff to this record, just pure Metal!
Favorite Songs: Necromancer; Children of the Sun; Traitors Gate; Sea of Blood
*Contributed by Tattoo