Judas Priest - Angel Of Retribution

I know it's only February, but already 2005 is gearing up to be the year of the almighty comeback. Gang Of Four, Tears For Fears, Pop Will Eat Itself, Inxs and even Queen have made an almighty return. So with this in mind, it doesn't come as too much of a surprise to see Judas Priest release a new album "Angel Of Retribution". Since forming in 1969 in Wolverhampton Judas Priest dominated the late 70s music scene. Who can forget a few years later in the 80s the magnificent "Breaking The Law". Since then there have been announcements (enigmatic frontman Rob Halford's brave and honest admission to being gay), the infamous satanic court case and a mixed response to the 90s musical output. But that was then and this is now.

New album "Angel Of Retribution" is non ironic, typical Judas Priest, thank goodness. Ten new tracks, one great legacy but the high expectations must still be a pressure for the band. "Revolution" is heavy duty rock with Rob's throaty, raw vocal reassuringly old school. The band sound tighter than ever before with a touch of T Rex in it's lyrical content. It's grandiose with some dirty, sleazy guitar riffs with the 60s themed lyric of "Get Ready For The Revolution". "Demonizer" has a touch of unintentional Spinal Tap about it with it's heavy handed religious imagery and OTT theatrics of the deadly serious variety, but stamped clearly with heavy metal flourishes of perfection. The lyrics are typical of the genre name checking demons, possession and all kinds of satanic wrong doings. It isn't subtle, with the words 'seek and destroy' featuring without any mercy.

"Angel" is a breather from all this anarchy with an acoustic guitar intro leading us to a sense of tranquility with 60s hippy undertones. It's awe-inspiring, emotive and performed with utter conviction. It builds gradually with the whole band emerged in this beguiling aura that is "Loch Ness". It may sway towards operatic pomposity, but it's a brave attempt at achieving greatness on a mythical scale. No one knows what lies beneath, but as JP professes it could be 'The Terror Of The Deep'

"Angel Of Retribution" proves that experience can be an important factor when producing great albums like this one.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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