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Heartbreaking - 10%

Sierro, February 3rd, 2005

WHY? That's the only word my tortured mind could muster after the last track on Angel of Retribution came to a close. A legendary band with killer albums under their belt, back from the dead with the one and only Halford returned at the helm...and THIS is what came out of it? What a horrible, horrible disappointment.

After waiting expectantly for a chance to give a listen to the newest album from one of my favorite bands, I finally got my grubby little paws on it and excitedly hit play. Judas Rising started slowly, gradually building up to an explosive riff that made me sigh nostalgically and think of classic Priest songs. After a great opening track, Deal with the Devil kicked in and I said to myself "Ah, Priest is back!"

Revolution came right after and after a promising intro, I waited for it to coalesce into that wonderful musical point that makes Judas Priest the classic band they are. And I waited for an entire four minutes and forty-two seconds before I realized that the song was over and there would be no point. And that's when it all turned to shit.

Each and every track from Revolution on was a pile of worthless rock crap. It dragged on, bored me to tears with lackluster riffing, lame-ass drumming and in many of the songs I was even disgusted with Halford's vocals. He has far too much talent to be reduced to a horrid mallcore reject. Those familiar with Halford's piercing high notes and dynamic range will be sorely disappointed by his monotonous vocal delivery on most of the tracks. Worth Fighting For nearly made me cough up blood with is sheer vileness, being reminiscent of a cookie-cutter pop rock track that wouldn't feel out of place on a Bon Jovi album. Demonizer attempts to revive the album, but the pace it sets is quickly destroyed when the riff-work is recycled throughout the song so many times it loses it's appeal. Hellrider suffers the same fate, and Wheels of Fire makes no attempt at interesting the listener by basically using the same riff throughout the song coupled with elementary drumming. Angel and Eulogy are so disgustingly boring I died a little inside. A ballad should add another level to the album, not be a tedious obstacle to work through. The solos on the album feel contrived. They feel interjected, as if the band added them simply because that's what metal bands are supposed to do, not in any effort to add texture to the song. They're nearly always located at the same point in the song (3/4 of the way through) and last for approximately the same amount of time. While technically not bad, they are neither impressive nor at least engaging. The album ended with the vomit-inducing Lochness where, alongside Worth Fighting For, Halford gives his most uninspired vocals. Finally, the torture was over.

It was clear how much of a loser this album was when I turned it off and I was in actual physical pain. Angel of Retribution is so bad, you feel as exhausted as if you had been running a 100km race, if not more so. It was an insult to not only my musical taste, but also to my intelligence. It was entirely too watered-down and formulaic, which is not what a good metal album should make you think. And, there's a difference between dabbling in rock n' roll style, which is what Priest has done in the past, and incorporating lackluster modern rock into a majority of your songs at the expense of originality. In order for me to EVER listen to this again, I'd either have to be insane or dead. It really isn't worth it for the two good songs, either. The only place this album should be found is at the bottom of a trash can. Waste. Of. Time.