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Ok, I'll start this review by saying that this album is NOT a typical Priest album... I mean, its very different from their other albums and that's the main reason why some people don't/won't like it.
Now, is the fact that it sounds different from Priest's other albums a bad thing? In my opinion, it isn't. I've always been a big fan of epic music and Nostradamus is one of the most epic albums I've ever heard. Yeah, the music on this album is very epic and its also very melodic, in fact, Nostradamus is probably Priest's most melodic album.
Anyway, lets talk about the songs now. I'll skip the interludes because they are pretty useless, I mean, they aren't bad at all, but I usually skip them unless I feel like listening to the album all the way through.
The first song, Prophecy, is one of the best songs on the album, it reminds a bit of Angel Of Retribution, it has a great main riff that is used during the verses and the chorus, the pre-chorus is quite dark and I like it and the chorus is good, but its not one of the best choruses on the album. The next song, Revelations, is even better, the verses are very epic and I love them, the song is very epic and symphonic overall (but so is most of the album). War sounds more like an interlude than a real song, but its a great one, it does sound like a war song, the chorus is very dark, but its not very original, I mean, the riff during it is the typical dark metal riff (you'll understand what I mean when you'll listen to it). After that, we have Pestillence And Plague which is a favorite of mine, a lot of people don't like the chorus because its in italian, they think its cheesy, but personally, I think that its one of the best choruses on the album, its very epic and Rob Halford's vocals during it are great. Next is Death, its quite forgettable, but it has a few great parts, the riff at 2:12 really reminds me of Death (the band), I mean, in terms of harmonies (I'm sure that Death fans will get what I mean)... The part at 5:12 is the best part for me, the synth sounds great. Conquest starts with a pretty catchy riff and like Pestillence And Plague it has a very epic chorus. The next song, Lost Love, is the first ballad on the album and its definitely a great ballad! Its very soft, but its simply beautiful. I'm not a big fan of ballads, but this one is very good. The first CD ends with Persecution which is the heaviest song on the CD, its good, but to me its one of the weakest songs on the first CD... Its one of the songs that sound the most like typical Priest, but you know what? I prefer the epic sound of the other songs.
In my opinion, the second CD is nowhere as good as the first one. Actually, it mostly consists of ballads. The first song, Exiled, is good, but its nothing special really... The next song, Alone, is MUCH better! Actually, its one of the best songs on the album, its a ballad, but like Lost Love from the first CD, its a great one and it has a really memorable chorus (one of the best on the album). Visions is one of the first songs that we all got to hear, when I first heard it, I thought that it was average and I still think that its average... Like Persecution from the first CD, it sounds quite a bit like a typical Priest song, but its simply nothing special, the chorus is very generic... Next, we have, in my opinion, the weakest song on the album, New Beginnings. It isn't bad, but its very forgettable, its just a very average ballad. The title track starts in a very epic way, a lot of people don't like the intro, but personally, I love it! Anyway, its one of the heaviest songs on the album, the riff under the verses really remind of the main riff from Painkiller (which can be a good thing or a bad thing) and the chorus is quite catchy. The last song, Future Of Mankind, is one of the best songs on the second CD, its very epic and the chorus is not overly original, but I love it!
Now lets talk about the musicians. I've never really cared about Rob Halford's voice except when it goes very high, but I have to admit that I like his voice on this album a lot, he doesn't sing very high as much as on the other albums, but his voice is very poweful! We all know that Tipton and Downing are great guitarists, I've always loved their solos, but I must say that I'm quite disappointed with their playing on this album... Tipton's solos have always been very memorable, but his solos on this album are not very memorable. A lot of the riffs aren't really incredible either... I mean, the album has a few great riffs, but the riffs are not what make the album good (the melodies are)... Oh well, to add some positive, a couple of the songs have very cool melodic (melodies, harmonies, ...) sections. Scott Travis is a great drummer and I guess that he's great on this album, but I don't know much about drumming... Ian Hill, well, he's Ian Hill. Last, but not least, the orchestration/keyboard/synth on this album is one of the best things about it! A lot of people think that Judas Priest and orchestration don't go together and maybe they're right, but without the orchestration/keyboard/synth, this album wouldn't be anywere near as good as it is. Its an epic album, it needs orchestration. Seriously, do you really expect an epic album to consist of guitar, bass and drums only?
What about the lyrics? Well, honestly, they aren't bad, but they aren't great either, they're quite cheesy, but lyrics have never been Priest's strong point. Personally, I don't really care about them... Yeah, I realize that the album is a concept album, but the music is great, so I don't really mind the lyrics.
So, overall, Nostradamus is a great album. Its obviously not Priest's best album, but, for me, its better than Rocka Rolla, the overrated British Steel, Point Of Entry, Turbo, Ram It Down, Jugulator, Demolition and Angel Of Retribution. Like I said earlier, its not a typical Priest album, its more epic than heavy, but who cares? Just accept that Priest tried something different. Listen to it with an open mind like I did, don't expect a second Painkiller.
Best songs (in no specific order): Prophecy, Revelations, Pestilence and Plague, Conquest and Alone.
Weakest songs: Visions and New Beginnings.