Review: Judas Priest ‘Invincible Shield,’ is Among the Best


Judas Priest band image.

Review: Judas Priest, “Invincible Shield” – Author Anne Erickson, Photo via Travis Shin

When a band like Judas Priest puts a new album out, there are often a lot of questions. How does a band that has been such a trendsetter still continue to set trends and define their genre more than 50 years in? Is that even possible? Also, why risk that legacy by putting out music that just isn’t as strong as their original works? After thoroughly listening to the new Judas Priest album, “Invincible Shield,” I can tell you that you don’t have to worry. This record doesn’t cheapen or do anything to Priest’s legacy but enhance it.

Album Review: Judas Priest, “Invincible Shield”

Judas Priest are no strangers to having strong albums later in their career. Rob Halford and company surprised the metal world in 2018 with the release of their epic “Firepower” album. It was their highest-charting record in the U.S. It really said that, yes, Judas Priest not only still have it, but they are still at the top of their game.

While “Firepower” had a fairly modern sound, “Invincible Shield” is a bit more retro-sounding. It recalls classic ’70s and ’80s Judas Priest, which is a good thing.

On “Invincible Shield,” the band teamed back up with producer Andy Sneap, who has been working with them for several years. He’s also the band’s touring guitarist and has been since 2018. Sneap is one of the most in-demand metal producers of the moment, and listening to this record, it’s easy to hear why. His love, and Judas Priest’s love, for metal strongly comes through.

This 11 tracks on “Invincible Shield” carry power and might. “Panic Attack” was an apt choice for the album’s first single. With guitarist Richie Faulkner’s raging lead guitar work and vocalist Rob Halford’s high tenor, this song is an instant Judas Priest classic.

Guitars are central on “Invincible Shield,” as they should be in a band like Judas Priest. Songs with standout solos include “Sons of Thunder” and “Vicious Circle” with beautiful guitar solos from Glenn Tipton, and “Escape from Reality,” with a Faulkner solo. There’s something comforting about raging guitar solos on a Judas Priest album.

Elsewhere, “Giants in the Sky” offers a groovy, dark track that features a unique acoustic interlude. “Fight of Your Life” is a track that lets Halford’s vocals soar, as he shows of his still healthy upper register. “The Lodger” closes out the album, bringing an epic ending with intricate orchestration and synths. There’s nostalgia everywhere. These songs really show off the best of Priest then and now. Even though this is a totally different record than “Firepower,” it should be accepted in the same positive way by fans. It’s partly because of the strong songwriting, but also because of the album’s retro feel.

Judas Priest is Strong at 50-Plus

Aside from the nostalgic vibe of “Invincible Shield,” something else that really stands out to me are Halford’s vocals. He must sing properly, because there’s no way he could have such a well-preserved voice if he was blowing out his vocal pipes improperly every night. As I’ve mentioned, this album sounds retro, like ’70s or ’80s Priest. That’s not only because of the style of music but also because Halford sounds like he did in his 30s and 40s. Today, he’s in his 70s, but you could never tell.

Judas Priest are giving it their all after 50 years together. This is anything but a “plug-and-play” record. Halford and company are making a statement with “Invincible Shield,” and it’s one that’s going to be heard around the world.

For this review, my Audio Ink Rating is 9.5/10. Essential songs include the mighty “Panic Attack” and “Fight of Your Life.” Find my recent interview with Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner here.

Anne Erickson
Latest posts by Anne Erickson (see all)
Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Metal, Music, Reviews