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I've tried twice before to review this; obviously both times prior were failures. I really feel strong for this album that I am not going to give up on getting through.
The album itself is quite hit and miss, the full power the album holds can only be sought if you listen very hard. The album itself quite long but the length though is not something to take to solely judge an album by, though it is quite a long album clocking over 100 minutes compare to Iron Maiden's "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son", that was only 43 minutes long and still delivered a hell of performance from all band members. Judas Priest's "Nostradamus" is different to that though, the way it delivers the story is more diverse and deep than "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" a lot of the songs are sang in the persona of Nostradamus himself, even if they are spoken in third person, lyrically the man telling the stories of the visions he has seen and the prophecies he has predicted is Nostradamus while in "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" only several of the songs were sang in the persona of the Clairvoyant character of the story in that album.
Because its different and that there's obviously so much to say, to tell about Nostradamus who unlike the character in "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" was at one point real. While not exactly on the point of the music itself, the story of the album is very important. When it comes to concept albums the story needs to be well though of and the songs need to tie in with one and other to create the atmosphere and that is what the intro songs are for, it adds to the length of the album sure, but I feel that they're essential to keep the album tight and focused.
The music itself is indeed Judas Priest; there are elements of "Sad Wings of Destiny" and "Sin after Sin" I can hear in the darker slower songs such as "Death" and "War" with the likes of "Angel of Retribution" in songs such as "Revelations" still prominent. It’s a long album and you need to listen carefully to appreciate it, its pretty much one of those albums that grows on you over time.
Though the album has its good points with the story telling and the performance, I feel like there's just something missing from it, something that could turn this album from a simply epic album into a masterpiece of music that should be worshipped for many years to come, maybes a fast paced song to contrast with the slow and mid paced songs, or a song depicting about how to this day, the name and prophecies of this prophet are talked about, just as he himself predicted in the opening song "Prophecy", either one would have made a perfect finisher to the album.
Apart from the fact I feel it lacks in some category, its still a fine album by a fine band, the eerie lower tone of Halford's voice in the likes of "War" and "Death" literally send shivers down my spine and more or less reminds me for some reason of early Black Sabbath, with the "doom" element in the riffs of those songs. There are though, still signs of the Judas Priest sound old and new in some of the songs, "Revelations" sounds an awful lot like "Hellrider" from "Angel of Retribution" in the singing style for example and "Visions" sounds like "Solar Angels" from "Point of Entry" with the roaring guitars working together, whilst vocally it sounds a lot like "When the Night Comes Down" from "Defenders of the Faith".
So, even for a lengthy album, even after almost 40 years, Judas Priest still have the ability to make some brilliant music and its not everyday you hear Nostradamus being brought back to life in these songs. Though the album lacks in some departments, I still salute it, I still love it. Though, if asked, I wouldn't dare choose a favourite, for there are too many songs to choose from, though if forced I’d choose Awakening/Revelations, or maybe The Four Horsemen/War, I could go on and backtrack my decision, but its just too difficult to choose from an album where there are so many songs I enjoy listening to, and that at the end of the day is all that matters, as long as you enjoy listening to, doesn’t matter who it’s by or what expectations one previously had, if it’s enjoyable, it’s worth it in the end.