Review: Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls

Rated:

4/5

Whether Judas Priest were consciously aware their next album might be their last and wanted to go out with the power of a firework display, or whether they were trying to redeem themselves in the eyes of the many fans dismayed by their 2008 double-disc rock opera ‘Nostradamus’ is unclear. What’s apparent is that ‘Redeemer of Souls’ is a bolt from the blue, a chugging, crunchy album filled with anthems, stormers, and radio rockers that conjures various elements from the band’s vast catalog into retrospective songs that buzz with urgency.

Not only do tracks like “Metalizer,” “Hell & Back,” and “Swords of Damocles”–the latter being the closest the band has come to pure power metal since 1976’s “Victim of Changes”–prove that Priest aren’t yet too old to scream for vengeance, they demonstrate that the band can write aggressive, incendiary songs without the input of longtime guitarist K.K. Downing, who had composed for all of the group’s previous albums. His replacement, Ritchie Faulkner (ex-Lauren Harris Band), justifies his lofty position, contributing mightily in the songwriting department, including crafting the main riff to ‘Redeemer’ lead single “March of the Damned.”

Thus rejuvenated and recharged, the Metal God and his cohorts have delivered their strongest record in over a decade. JON WIEDERHORN

Check out “March of the Damned” off ‘Redeemer of Souls’ below:


  • Phil

    Excellent album. I really hope this isn’t their swan song.

    • SuperMENSA.org

      with songs like Never Forget, Beginning of the End, and Down in Flames, it sure sounds like it – or at the very least they are setting up for it just in case.

      • metalo

        I agree with Metal Vic, I thought Redeemer was overall very boring!! Dragonaut and Snakebite, both lead off songs on their respective discs were about the only two songs that kicked any ass, both having great metal riffs and both being up-tempo. Please tell me what other songs had great hooks and were also up-tempo?? I know your going to say Metalizer, but the song has a terrible annoying beat, and is not enjoyable to listen to at all. I am dissapointed, but will re-listen to the discs over the next week to see if any other songs grow on me. Painkiller, Defenders of the Faith, Ram it Down, and, Screaming for Vengeance, all had numerous up-tempo kick ass songs, something Redeemer lacks. To be honest, this CD reminds me of some of the plodding, boring, CD’s, that Dio put out after Dream Evil, like Magica, Master of the Moon, Strnge Highways, etc… all too slow with no energy. Of course, Dio did put one great CD out there in this time period, Killing the Dragon, which was full of up-tempo great songs. And in closing, please understand, I LOVE Judas Priest and DIO!!!!!!

        • deeps

          I get where you are coming from, but it sounds to me like you just need speed in your music. That’s okay and that’s totally just your preference, but it doesn’t mean that songs that aren’t up-tempo are bad.

          It just means you don’t like slow-mid tempo songs.

        • SuperMENSA.org

          no ass kicking on Battle Cry and Valhalla? Down in Flames is extremely catchy IMO. The title track could easily slot in on Painkiller too (similar rhythm to Hell Patrol notwithstanding)

          Not going to defend Metalizer, thought it was good but not special at first but it grew on me. I know what you mean by “annoying,” the hook sounds off. It grew on me though.

  • Metal Vic

    Are you sure you listened to the right album? This is not only the worst Halford-fronted album in their history, I think it’s in the running for most mediocre effort from any metal band this year. Uninspired, formulaic, and just plain boring. The whole thing sounds like a collection of leftover tracks not good enough to make it onto any of their previous albums. And the album-closing ballad–easily their worst song ever. Experimentation and going outside the box is fine. In fact, Redeemer could have used some of that. But “Beginning of the End” is so far from metal and just plain bad, it wouldn’t pass muster on a Josh Groban album. This could very well be the beginning of the end for the once mighty Metal Gods.

    • SuperMENSA.org

      You clearly don’t listen to metal. Worst Halford album in history? Worse than Winter Songs and Made of Metal? Worse than 2wo and Fight? Worse than Nostradamus?

      You have no clue what you’re talking about.

      This is easily their best album since Painkiller and probably up there with Defenders of the Faith in terms of quality. Probably the 3rd/4th best Halford fronted album of all time and that puts it in very good company.

      • Metal Vic

        I bought British Steel the week it was released, and I’ve listened to hardly anything but metal ever since. I cohosted a metal radio show for three years; our listeners thought I knew metal. I’m open to a challenge on who has more experience with and more knowledge about metal. 2wo, Fight, and Halford (solo) aren’t Judas Priest, which is the band I was writing about. But since you brought it up, I would rather listen to most of Fight’s material or Nostradamus before I listen to Redeemer a sixth time. I gave it five chances to grow on me. I wanted to like it; I just can’t. Your comment that puts this at number three or four makes it clear to me that you are the one who needs to brush up on his Priest.

        • deeps

          Well, I don’t agree with you about Redeemer (but who cares? It’s just my opinion), but I don’t understand where people come off that Fight or Halford (solo) are anything less than killer side projects.

          War of Words is a fucking classic as far as I am concerned and Halford’s Resurrection is basically the best Priest record that isn’t a Priest record. If that album was released as Priest circa 1986, it’d be a worshiped Priest classic.

          • Metal Vic

            Well said. So I guess we do agree on some things. Love Resurrection. I just didn’t want to get off topic too much, and the Halford songs superMENSA cites are pretty bad.

          • SuperMENSA.org

            I never cited any Halford songs…

            and brush up on what, exactly? I’m a Halford scholar.

          • Metal Vic

            You’re right. That should have read “Halford albums.” My apologies for the egregious error, professor.

          • SuperMENSA.org

            Resurrection is a very good album but Fight was pretty mediocre, especially the second effort (and I say this as someone who owns WoW and listened to it a lot).

      • deeps

        I agree with everything you said except the 3rd/4th album comment.
        I don’t really think this album can touch anything before Defenders of the Faith. Not even close. But I don’t think it aims to, either.

        I do think it’s the best one SINCE Defenders of the Faith if you omit Painkiller (which I always saw as a bit of an anomaly in the Priest catalog).

        WAY better than Nostradamus and Angel of Retribution, as far as complete albums go (though there are a few tracks on Angel that stand out more). Obviously better than Jugulator, Demolition, Ram it Down, and Turbo Lover (and I like those albums, btw. I am not just hating on them).

        Anyway, everyone has their opinions, but I absolutely adore this album. It calls back to a lot of different periods of Priest’s career and songs like Sword of Damocles, March of the Damned, Crossfire, and Halls of Valhalla are amazing. The first 3 songs on the bonus disc are KILLER, as well. Tears of Blood is great.

        • SuperMENSA.org

          I don’t disagree, and let me say that DotF has a special place in my heart in terms of nostalgia. Those tracks are great, but I think they also got better with time – they became classics while the ones on Redeemer aren’t classics yet, they’re too fresh.

          On the whole DotF has 9 tracks (10th isn’t really a song). Heavy Duty and Eat Me Alive are good but not great, while everything else is stellar. 7 Stellar tracks.

          Redeemer on the other hand is a real onslaught in terms of quantity. If you count the first 3 on the bonus section we’re at 14 “stellar” tracks. I’d say thats one way to give it a run for its money.

          Maybe in a few years we’ll be thinking of Halls of Valhalla and Battle Cry with the same reverence as we do for Freewheel Burning and The Sentinal. Or maybe not, doesn’t matter, we get to have our cake and eat it too.

      • http://www.patreon.com/kendwebber Ken D. Webber

        Hit the nail on the head SuperMENSA! Vic has lost his ear for what’s good and what’s not. This CD is by far one of their best releases.

    • PK68

      Vic you need to relax. The guy who wrote the article is giving his opinion. Everyone is entitled to one. Especially on the internet.

    • deeps

      We clearly listened to a different album.
      Can’t please everyone, I guess.

    • Mike X producer!!!!!!

      Thanks for being such a potentate of musical criticism. Put some of your songs up and we’ll have a listen. Seriously dude!!!!!

      • Metal Spawn

        *TYPO ALERT*
        Meant to type “…guy named ‘Vic’ ON the old…”
        Sorry. ;-)

        • Metal Spawn

          Ignore this… Apparently my comments aren’t worthy of approval…

      • Metal Vic

        Since when do critics have to create in the medium they write or talk about? Very few great coaches were great athletes. Very few art critics create their own art. All it takes to be a critic is to have enough knowledge about the subject matter to form an opinion that can be backed up by that knowledge.

        • Tom Nikolaidis

          most of the reviews I have read, like it or love it What are you the “authority” on what is good or not. You are NOT. Go listen to Lady Gaga then.

          • Metal Vic

            I really enjoyed reading some of your comments in other threads. Let’s see. Referring to Judas Priest, you said you didn’t think you would enjoy 60-year-old men making metal. You judged the album before it came out. That seems fair. You also considered yourself enough of an “authority” to claim Rolling Stone had no right to be writing about metal. After reading all of your ranting–at times homophobic–comments, you appear to be an angry, conflicted person. You realize Rob Halford is gay, right? You probably shouldn’t be using the word “gay” as an epithet to describe someone you’re insulting. Rob is also friends with Lady Gaga. In the future, maybe look in the mirror before spewing your vitriol.

    • Cosmicmatter

      Obviously you’re an Iron Maiden fan.

      • Metal Vic

        Pretty much gave up on Maiden after listening to Seventh Son. I know, heresy, right? Brave New World was their Painkiller. Great album out of nowhere. But I went to a show during their most recent tour, and I literally fell asleep. Yes, literally. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped listening to the stuff they did before Somewhere in Time. I love every single one of those albums, and one of the best shows I’ve ever seen was Maiden on the Powerslave tour.

        But don’t get the idea I only listen to “old” metal. Bands like Grand Magus, Ihsahn (solo), Opeth, Havok, Witchcraft, Arch Enemy, The Ocean, Behemoth, Battlelore, Kamelot, and dozens of others are putting out new music that challenges and entertains me as a listener. I won’t stop listing Priest as one of my all-time favorite bands, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be critical of their material.

        • Cosmicmatter

          I think Paul was Maiden’s best singer. For some reason they then got Bruce maybe to go head to head with Priest? (the high singing) I dunno. The way Bruce, in the media as of late, being a dick to the metal god, makes you wonder. Probably jealous he isn’t the metal god! I just think what he said was disrespectful. Considering Priest let Maiden open for them in the beginning.

          • deeps

            Pretty much being blown out of proportion. Even Rob said so.
            That’s just what Bruce does…he just takes the piss out of everyone and that’s his personality. The media is constantly making a bigger deal out of it than it is.

            Rob and Bruce did a duet on Halford’s Resurrection (The One You Love to Hate) and they are friends.

            Don’t worry about it.

    • Tim Sawyer

      Now K.K. we are all sad that you aren’t on the album too but try to have an open mind….

  • Cosmicmatter

    Nostradamus was a great record. Just listen to KK’s solo on Conquest. Very underrated. Probably got flak because it was a concept record.

    • deeps

      Dude, I completely agree with you that Nostradamus is unfairly maligned.
      The intro to Calm Before the Storm is one of my favorites since the intro to fucking FEVER, man. That is not an easy song to match for me as Screaming for Vengeance is literally my all-time favorite album.

      This album is great.
      I do understand and sympathize with fans when they feel DISAPPOINTED because expectations are a brutal thing. If you hype yourself up to high, you are bound to come crashing down when it doesn’t meet what you wanted.

      So every Priest record (and Maiden for that matter), I always listen with ready ears. I won’t say I have “low expectations”, I just have OPEN expectations.

      This one actually kind of blew me away. I enjoy it very much.
      Sword of Damocles, man….really makes you wanna pound your fist!

      • Cosmicmatter

        Sword of Damocles is definitely the heaviest track on there and one of my favorites as well. I don’t know why some expected something else? This album is a monster. I actually like that some of the songs on the new album include a blues/rock vibe. For example Down in Flames and Crossfire. I think the new songs live will really shine.

    • yourmomsidol

      my only problem with Nostradamus was the subject matter. Cheesy.

  • http://www.patreon.com/kendwebber Ken D. Webber

    They need to lead with The Beginning of the End or Secrets of the Dead because those two tracks absolutely KILL! Awesome release from Judas Priest!

  • Max G

    I just bought the deluxe version. Thank you Priest for another great effort. Every listen gets better and it’s unbelievable to me that the mighty Priest can continue to release such genius at this point in their careers. I’ve read a lot of positive and negative comments, everyone has an opinion, I can respect that. The fact of the matter is the album is very very good! My favourite tracks are Down in Flames and Cold Blooded. Long live the Priest. If you are a true Priest fan you will not be disappointed.

  • DTG

    I was not one of the dismayed fans regarding “Nostradamus”. I feel the album is sheer genius. The Priest is always creating and inventing new visions for their sound and never shy away from creativity. Even if it doesn’t work well like with Ram it Down. “Redeemer of Souls” does go back to the “Killing Machine” style of song but clearly stands on its own. Best band ever!! Can’t wait to see them in ROCHESTER NY!!!

    P.S. How the hell is it they are not in the R&R HoF??

    • JM Hearns

      Good question. But it doesn’t surprise me in the least considering Alice Cooper wasn’t inducted until 2011. Crazy!

      • SuperMENSA.org

        well the RRHF is still technically a new thing, and you can only induct so many every year to keep it ‘legitimate’

        Priest should be in this year IMO while they’re still on top

        • FranchiseSIX5 .

          Bands around 40 years should get the nod in the first few rounds though.

    • Cosmicmatter

      Priest stands above the R&R hall of fame!

  • Christopher Morales

    Fantastic album! 5 out of 5 for me. I cannot wait to see them at the Izod Center!

  • nickmetal

    yea why fuck dont they get more credit for this i dont hear it on my radio, ive liked this band many years now and they were and still are kinda underground in a way, when i was 17 or 18 i remember while listening to stained class cranked up on my craig power playe speakers and thinking im like the only one who has this haha love you preist you served us well.

  • nickmetal

    VALHALLA!!!!!