Judas Priest Brings Heroic Heavy Metal on ‘Firepower’ – Review

2018-03-08

Review by Anne Erickson, photo by Justin Borucki

The gents of Judas Priest are metal heroes on ‘Firepower’ – Review

Few bands remain as critical to the heavy metal genre as Judas Priest. The group not only helped define the genre’s style and dramatics during its inception, but for decades, Judas Priest has also released a long list of glistening heavy metal albums, packed with towering emotion and sharp technical skill. So, how does the band’s latest album, “Firepower,” stand up to Judas Priest’s solid catalog? Brace yourself, because as we see it, this is one of the band’s greatest albums to date.

With co-production by legendary producer Andy Sneap – who also happens to be filling in for Glenn Tipton on the band’s spring tour, while Tipton continues to battle Parkinson’s disease – and Tom Allom, “Firepower” carries a large, mammoth, booming sound. With Sneap and Allom at the helm, Rob Halford and the Judas Priest crew deliver a kind of force and intensity that’s simply stunning and demands attention.

While the crisp production is certainly ear-catching, what really stands out about “Firepower” is the album’s well-crafted songs. Sharp tunes such as “Lightning Strike” and “Rising from the Ruins” and anthemic and nearly euphoric, with the metal sheen of years past, but with a contemporary, fresh feel for today. Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton rise to the forefront with heroic solos and sparkling twin-lead passages. Halford sounds strong and regal. The rhythm section is in the pocket and tight. As the album travels from meaty metal numbers to deeper, doom-y passages to speedy riffing, it becomes clear this is yet another opus from the metal giants.

If you love heavy metal in all its fury and glory, then “Firepower” is an answer to a metal prayer. It’s simply a fantastic album, from front to back. “Firepower” sums up why we, dedicated fans of the genre, are so in love with metal.

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