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Judas Priest- a name known by all metalheads. Releasing quality work like Stained Class and Sad Wings of Destiny, they helped define the image of metal. 3 years after releasing the ho-hum album Angel of Retribution, they have completely wiped the slate cleaned, using a new formula and releasing the concept double album Nostradamus. The music is something completely new for Judas Priest, and some hardcore fans may groan in nostalgia for the old Judas Priest.
However, they have nothing to worry about. The music is still powerful, as usual. They used an orchestra and keyboards for some of their songs, which is something definitely out of the ordinary. There are 23 tracks total, with most of them having short, 1-2 minute introductions. Of the 14 tracks that are not interludes, most are straight up heavy metal, while some constitute as ballads.
Now, onto the music itself. The first album starts out with a short symphonic introduction, then it goes into Prophecy, which is straight up metal. It’s got heavy riffs, and Halford show’s he’s still got that vocal range. It doesn’t feel like a traditional Judas Priest song- it’s got more of an epic and mysterious vibe. Solos are present, and then an acoustic, calm interlude comes up. The next song, Revelations, is full of energy. This is the first symphonic heavy metal song that pops up on the album.
The rest of the album continues in a similar fashion. An interlude with Halford doing his thing, following a kick ass song (in most cases). I have a problem with Pestilence and Plague though- the chorus gets repetitive and in my case, gets on my nerves. The first ballad on this album is Lost Love, which is a pretty slow, beautiful (if not cheesy) song. Overall, the first Act was pretty damn good, especially for a band as old as Judas Priest. Some favorites include Persecution, Prophecy, and Death.
The second album picks up where the first album left off. In this point of the story, Nostradamus has been tried at court, and is exiled. The album starts off with an ambient introduction, flows into Exiled, a slow, yet heavy, song. I personally found this unmemorable, but still decent. The next song starts off slow, then it starts to pick up the beat. It sounds like a traditional heavy metal song, but it doesn’t go with the flow in this album. Nevertheless, it’s still a fine song.
At first I thought to myself “WTF? The first part was awesome, what happened to the second part of the album?” But then the action starts kicking in, with Visions. It’s upbeat, full of power, and it’s very catchy. To me, this is when the second Act starts to pick up its act. The next few song follow the same, powerful formula, especially the title song and Future of Mankind.
And now to the lyrics. All I can say is WOW. I’ve never known that Judas Priest can write lyrics and intelligent as these. Not that they don’t make good lyrics, it’s just that these are…amazing. I give my kudos to them. Just read them over, and they revolve around an interesting concept- Nostradamus’s life, his life after he was exiled, his death and how the world realizes how right he was; these people had to do some research on his life.
Get this album. It’s a great album made by the legends of metal. It has great music and lyrics. Other old and legendary bands have made some pretty good albums in their later years (Iron Maiden, A Matter of Life and Death; Celtic Frost; Monotheist), but you’d never believe that after over 40 years, Judas Priest still have it, and they still deliver.
Pros- new formula (maybe not a pro for some) which feels powerful, Prophecy, Revelations, Visions, Nostradamus, Future of Mankind, first Judas Priest concept album, Halford still has it.
Cons- Too many fucking interludes, more solos here and there wouldn't hurt.