RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Judas Priest -- Redeemer of Souls (Deluxe Edition)
Epic Records
www.judaspriest.com

Rating: A-

THE PRIEST IS BACK! 

That should be enough to get you to go buy their new album titled Redeemer of Souls, but just in case you want more, I will continue. 

THE PRIEST IS BACK! 

Hardcore fans worried that Priest without original guitarist KK Downing would suck (remember the albums without vocalist Rob Halford?).  Classic Rock Revisited is proud, thrilled, honored and excited to announce that...well, you can see this one coming can't you...

THE PRIEST IS BACK! 

Okay, KK is gone.  He didn't want to be in the band anymore.  On Priest’s Epitaph tour, they replaced KK with Richie Faulkner and the new blond-haired, leather wearing guitarist proved the band was still Priest. 

Richie had HUGE leather pants to fill but he did so with ease.  However, entering the studio without KK is a different animal altogether.  Are you kidding?  Really?  Priest record a studio album without Downing?  Many hardcore fans thought, “This is just not right. Can Glenn Tipton write cool ass guitar parts with Richie?  Will Rob and Richie mesh?  Will the rhythm section of Scott Travis and Ian Hill fit in with the young upstart six-stringer?  Will he actually help create these songs? Will it SOUND like Judas Priest?”

The answers to these questions are YES, YES, YES, YES and YES. 

"Dragonaut" opens the album sounding like something that could have been on Sin After Sin.  Next up is the title track, "Redeemer of Souls" which would be very much at home on Stained Class.

"Halls of Valhalla" starts out and seems like it may be an example of what I call Spinal Priest (remember the song “Lochness’ anyone?) but then the guitar players kick in...yep, Glenn and that blond- haired dude named Faulkner and this song suddenly cranks up to 11 and becomes one of the best on the disc. 

"Sword of Damocles" is lyrically soooo Halford.  Musically, once again, classic JP.  The album continues with riff-after-riff of that special brand of Judas Priest Metal.  The guitars on this sucker are tight and tasty.  The lead playing is outstanding.  While Richie and Glenn do little harmonizing on their instruments their interplay is very strong and each song has a well thought out and executed solo included.  Behind them, Hill and Travis pound out the backbeat allowing the music to grow and expand. 

Vocally, Rob Halford is amazing on Redeemer of Souls.  He sings a lot in his midrange voice, which is a range that he sounds so unique in.  Sure, his scream is what made him famous, and he still let’s loose now and then, but he gives a vocal performance on Redeemer of Souls that relies on emotion more than flash, resulting in one of his best vocal recordings in his illustrious career. 

"Down in Flames" is one of the best tunes on the album.  The guitarists play complex parts and intertwine their energies so well that it is mindboggling that they have not been playing together longer than they have. 

"Hell and Back" is a run of the mill Priest rocker...nothing wrong with that.  It starts slow and builds and Rob kills it...you know, the usual Priest-type stuff.  "Cold Blooded" starts out and sounds--I better not say this--a bit like early Iron Maiden that is until Rob comes in.  This could be a leftover from Nostradamus as it has that dramatic tension to it.  That leads us to "Metalizer" where Rob opens it up with that classic Halford howl.  This one is sure to be a huge hit if they trot it out for the tour.

"Crossfire" again sees great guitar interplay.  "Secrets of the Dead" is an eerie song that...and I am getting redundant here, harkens back to the early days of the band.  "Battle Cry" is another Stained Class sounding tune with amazing guitar soloing that is best described as rhythmic, metallic and for lack of a better word, killer!  

The album ends with "Beginning of the End" which starts out slowly and emotional and retains a softer melody throughout.  The song ends the album on a mellow note, allowing the listener to reflect back on the entire piece of music they have just experienced.  Redeemer of Souls is a throwback to the days when one listens to the entire album as an entire piece of work. 

With the deluxe edition, however, the music is not over.  The bonus tracks on the additional disc could have easily made the cut.  Of the five bonus tracks two are very strong.  "Snakebite" has the swaggering Metal flavor to it while "Never Forget" is simply a great song.  This is an ode from the band to their fans, who Priest have never forgotten. 

Redeemer of Souls is a great addition to the Priest catalog.  They still have a fire and passion for their music and their fans.  Creating quality music is one of the most important things in their lives.  Every member of Judas Priest, including the new blond-haired guy, is committed to excellence.  

While there is no commercial hit song ala "Breaking the Law" or "You've Got Another Thing Comin’" when one takes Redeemer of Souls as a whole they get the heart and soul of Judas Priest in 2014. 

That about covers it.  The review is done.  It should be obvious to you that we are recommending that you click on the following link to purchase Redeemer of Souls today, like right now: http://www.amazon.com/Redeemer-Souls-Deluxe-Edition-Priest/dp/B00K6D1FZU

Oh...there is one more thing needed to sum up this review nicely and that is to simply say…

THE PRIEST IS BACK! 

By Jeb Wright

Redeemer of Souls Track Listing:
Dragonaut
Redeemer of Souls
Halls of Valhalla
Sword of Damocles
March of the Damned
Down in Flames
Hell & Back
Cold Blooded
Metalizer
Crossfire
Secrets of the Dead
Battle Cry
Beginning of the End

Bonus Tracks:
Snakebite
Tears of Blood
Creatures
Bring It On
Never Forget

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