without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
I'm not sure why Judas Priest chose to go for a more radio friendly, road trip feeling hard rock approach for "Point of Entry", but it feels like a 180 degree turn from where they were, especially when you consider the direction that heavy metal was going with fellow countrymen Iron Maiden leading the way. True, their previous albums "Killing Machine" and "British Steel" boasted a cleaner production and radio potential, but they both clung to the metal speed of their late 70s material. With "Point of Entry", Judas Priest took those musical principles to their next step, resulting in an album that, in spirit, is not far off from their debut, "Rocka Rolla".
Not that this album is a total throwback, of course. For one thing, this album has a more consistent musical vision than "Rocka Rolla" could ever have. Obviously, the production is cleaner, and Judas Priest are at this point fairly comfortable with the idea of utilizing myriad sound effects in their production. But in spirit, this album is not far off from the spirit of their debut, in it's aim to make feel good hard rock perfect for airplay. "Don't Go" has an AC/DC feel in the music and Halford's vocal delivery and "You Say Yes", "All the Way", "Turning Circles", "Hot Rocking" and most of the other songs on this album would not be out of place if they were played on the Sunset Strip, while "Heading Out to the Highway" and "On the Run" feel like the song you play to footage of bikers traveling across the American desert. The only songs that appear to dissent from this platform are "Solar Angels" with a somewhat foreboding riff and fantasy lyrics, and "Desert Plains", where Halford's vocal presence is strong as ever, and he remains the highlight of the album. "Heading Out to the Highway also has a nice twin guitar solo worthy of K.K Downing and Glen Tipton's talents as musicians.
"Point of Entry" isn't exactly what one would call a fan favorite, and along with "Turbo", this album is usually ignored or derided by die hard fans. As with "British Steel", I feel like one's opinion would be based primarily on whether or not they can appreciate the type of sound Judas Priest is going for, let alone whether they can tolerate metal gods Judas Priest performing this sound. I can't give it my highest recommendation, based purely on personal preference, but I can't condemn it either. At the most, this has a few good ideas here and there, but it feels like a step back or two for Priest. Especially when you consider that this is the band that damn near revolutionized the heavy metal genre.
In the 1970's, Judas Priest was adored by their fans, but was maligned by music critics. Their heavy, angry, and fast heavy metal musical style was simply too much for a lot of people at the time, so for some reason, the band decided to take their music further. And by further, I mean they tried to make their music more pleasant-sounding to mainstream audiences. In doing so, they made a few sacrifices, and those sacrifices kind of watered down their music, and turned Judas Priest, a heavy metal band, into just a plain-old hard rock band. Still, it would not be their last time in trying to sell out, yet it certainly wouldn't be their worst.
For starters, there is the fact that the tempos on all of the songs on here aren't as fast as songs on previous albums. You never get a song that's as fast as "Exciter". In fact, the song "Don't Go" is actually pretty slow, a complete nasty surprise for any diehard fan. Time signatures aren't the only thing to be cut down to size with the making of this album. The band decided to cut back on using aggressive power chords to keep their songs driving. Instead, a few of the albums songs use basic chords to make a sort of late 70's hard rock sound. As a result, we end up with incredibly goofy, if not idiotic, songs like "You say Yes". It's a song that doesn't sound like anything you'd expect Judas Priest to come up with, even though they had hit the charts with "Living after Midnight" just a year earlier. "All the Way" is kind of the same way, too, and the cheesy factor of it is topped off with the way that Rob Halford sings the verses. It sounds like he's trying to sing a Creedence Clearwater Revival song or something. This really isn't like Judas Priest at all. Their fans expected the raw power and fast and aggressive tempos that they were familiar with, like in "Rapid Fire", not this.
Believe it or not, despite these shortcomings, there is actually something that can actually be enjoyed on this album. You can still find remains of the Judas Priest that we know and love on this album, unlike "Turbo", which would come five years later. "Hot Rockin'" is the closest thing we get to good old-fashioned heavy metal that Judas Priest is known for. Like I said, it's basically the track with the fastest time signature on the album. While it's not as fast as we hoped it would be, it still manages to have that same driving pace and sheer force reminiscent of "Breaking the Law". "On the Run" also has that Priest-style heavy metal vibe, for it's one of the few songs on here that features the crunching riffs that mirror anything on "Hell Bent for Leather". It's proof that while this album is a more commercial approach made by Judas Priest, they still have soft spots in their hearts for the music they made famous.
On the other hand, though, this is also Judas Priest's most commercial effort in the early 80's, therefore, there has to be something expected in more commercial music. Sing-along choruses appear in great numbers on "Point of Entry", and some can get irritating to some degree. You'll hear them in songs such as "You say Yes", "Don't Go", and even the hard rockin' "On the Run". At least the last one isn't as moronic as the chorus to "Turning Circles". That one's got an "a-ha, a-ha" that is repeated over and over, and usually when something goofy like an "a-ha, a-ha" or a "na-na" gets repeated, it causes the song to be a disgusting earworm. Priest has used sing-along choruses before, but never to the extent we have here on "Point of Entry". The sing-along choruses that do appear on the album aren't all bad, for "Heading Out to the Highway" still seems to be pretty decent, even with a catchy chorus. It's got kind of a nice hook to go along with it, too, and okay, I admit, the chorus is actually kind of decent, as opposed to "Turning Circles". I think the chorus of "On the Run" is even better, though, for it leans more towards Priest-style heavy metal than any other song on here.
Sure, this album has more of a commercial direction, but believe me, there is still some good on here. The album isn't terrible, in my opinion, it's just different. Yes, we get songs like "Don't Go" that don't quite fit, but at least we can enjoy a little bit of Judas Priest's magic while listening to the album. It's different, but it's definitely not the very worst Judas Priest album ever created, not by a long shot. At least "Point of Entry" tries to sound like Fleetwood Mac instead of Boy George, like "Turbo" would.
Of all the Judas Priest records up to and including Painkiller, Point of Entry probably received the worst rep. Turbo was more of a divisive side step, clearly it had some great songs and ideas, but not all fans were on board. With Point of Entry, it was more a case that it didn't have a blazing array of hit singles like the two albums before it. The band also moved a fraction further along the axis of accessibility here, and thus there's a bit more of a laid back hard rock vibe throughout the songs, even more so than was heard on British Steel. Clearly the band wanted to write an album of broad hooks and limited aggression, fit for cruising large open spaces like the implied desert/computer paper roadway of the (US) cover, and I think to that extent it's a success. But inevitably, it resembles its predecessor in having a selection of wonderful tunes offset by some obvious filler that proved anything but inspiring, and the ratio of the latter to the former is higher here.
"Heading Out to the Highway" is the only track that most people I know play any lip service to, a straight and somewhat dirty rocker with a glorious chorus that celebrates personal initiatives in life. Motivational metal, but the riffs aren't all that heavy despite the spacious, slicing tone Downing and Tipton draw from their axes. My favorite cuts are actually those in the middle of the record, "Desert Plains" and "Solar Angels". The airy picking and resonant vocals definitely feel like a desert blues, but especially in the former I love the effects created over the chorus and Halford's loner, drifting delivery. "Solar Angels" has some riffing patterns similar to "Heading Out to the Highway", and once again they throw a brief flurry of wild electronic effects which foreshadow Turbo but add a necessary atmosphere to balance out the rather predictable riffing. Of the rest of the songs, however, the only ones I pay much attention to are "Troubleshooter" for its fun, choppy hard rock riffing and "You Say Yes" for that climactic, if silly chorus melody. Others like "Don't Go'" and "Turning Circles" are bland and would be difficult to distinguish from bands like KISS or AC/DC if not for Halford's timbre.
Sonically, this is an album that favors the convertible owner. Roll down the top and just let these songs pound off into the dusty night as you race down the dusk. Internal landscape stereotyping lends me to believe that this would be a far more effective album for a road trip in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada or California than the band's native United Kingdom. But then, that makes sense, because they wrote and recorded this on the summery Mediterranean isle of Ibiza, and it definitely carries that seasonal aesthetic to it even if it seems better suited to larger stretches of desert than an island. Unlike the previous records, this was more of a sporadic creation of mood, and in a way it's more conceptually unified and consistent than most of their records (save the 1990 magnum opus Painkiller). The guitars and vocals are set just right in the mix, the drums solid and comfortable, the bass taking a backseat to the rest. I wasn't impressed with the leads on this disc but then neither was I all that enamored with them on British Steel. In one ear, out the opposite.
Point of Entry is indeed one of the least impressive of Priest's early offerings (about equal with Rocka Rolla in quality), but I feel like the negative reactions are often misrepresented or overinflated. It's still an enjoyable disc if you're in the proper mood or environment to experience it, even if the riffs and vocal hooks don't match up to the five albums leading up to it. Hell, I'd still take this in a heartbeat over any of the middling-to-crappy studio efforts the band released post-Painkiller, but there's no denying that around 50% of the content is stodgily average for a band who's prior ambitions launched them into the metallic stratosphere. If you're not on a desert drive, with time to kill, then there's not much reason to visit more than a handful of the songs. The lyrics are in general quite pedestrian. I should point out too that all of the best tunes here are remastered for the Metalogy boxed set compilation (2004) where they sound superior.
After the success of Living After Midnight and Breaking the Law singles from British Steel, Priest went for an album in a similarly radio-friendly style, taking those two songs as their inspiration. And, to give full credit to them, some of the songs on here are pretty good - Heading Out to the Highway and Hot Rockin', in particular, are decent up-tempo pop-metal pieces which wouldn't have seemed out of place on the previous album or as B-sides to the preceding singles.
However, that's not to say the album doesn't have issues. Fact is, the third single - Don't Go - is a plodding clunker, a stab at precisely the sort of classic rock delivery the band had otherwise left behind after Rocka Rolla. A similarly retrogressive approach can be heard on Turning Circles, Desert Plains - and, for that matter, most of the rest of the album. This is a disappointment considering that even on the commercially-leaning Killing Machine and British Steel the band had still managed to forge ahead and continue to expand the boundaries of metal, whereas this time around they seem happy to simply retread old ground and mimic more typical classic rock styles.
This difference is probably why this album gets a bad rap from Judas Priest fans, because going from British Steel to this is admittedly a bit of a shock, but I wouldn't say it's the absolute failure that it's often painted as. The fact is that even though it's a classic rock-influenced pop-metal album, it's a classic rock-influenced pop-metal album performed by Judas Priest, and even though they were giving their creativity a rest this time around, the musicianship on display is still second to none - and Heading Out to the Highway is a catchy song. But even though I would say that Point of Entry is a notch better than Rocka Rolla, I'd still rather listen to any of the albums between them rather than this one or the debut.
OK, OK. Point Of Entry IS a step down from British Steel. The predecessor, to me, was one of the best Priest albums- it was heavy yet had a small commercial touch to it, but in a good way. Point Of Entry takes the commercial sound further- unlike British Steel, you can CLEARLY hear it on this album.
Generally in most cases, the more commercial a record is (in metal), the more it will get slated by fans. That's probably the same with Point Of Entry, but it's still unmistakably Priest. Rob Halford's voice is instantly recognizable. Glenn Tipton and KK Downing's guitars here isn't half as impressive as most of their other works (Painkiller is lightyears ahead). The riffs are still in tact, and are still generally memorable, but when compared to the riffs contained in British Steel, they aren't as catchy, heavy or impressive. This also goes with the solos. Then again, most of the songs on here all mid-tempo. With that said however, all the guitar parts are still pretty decent.
The album kicks off with 'Heading Out To The Highway'. This is not an up-tempo opener like the large majority of Priest albums, but it's easily one of the best tracks on here anyway- good riffs, catchy hooks and choruses, great vocals. I think 'Heading Out To The Highway' is one of the strongest points here, and also a highlight of the band's '80's period.
'Don't Go' is not as interesting. The verses are quite heavy but there's something about this song's chorus that reminds of AC/DC. 'Hot Rockin' is often regarded as a highlight, and I agree. 'Turning Circles' is one of the most mainstream numbers on here, and probably one of the worst songs here. The song-writing is still decent however, and it's a good radio-metal song. 'Desert Plains' is also very commercial-sounding, but a great song and also has some of Glenn and KK's best riffs on the album.
'Solar Angels' is another strong point with some nice clear vocals from Halford and a great solo. 'You Say Yes' easily has the most catchy riff and maybe some of Halford's most impressive vocals on the record. 'All The Way' isnt very memorble, but 'Troubleshooter' finally take things a bit heavier and end the album nicely.
There a lot of faults with Point Of Entry. The main reason is just the fact that most of it fails to impress, unlike British Steel, or this albums follow up, Screaming For Vengeance. But, at the same time, for the most part, it still sounds like Judas Priest, and the songs are all decent radio-friendly metal numbers.
I think this is an album that grows on you the more you listen to it. I was very disappointed at first, but then I think British Steel, Screaming For Vengeance and Defenders Of The Faith are all incredibly strong releases. I still think this is worth checking out as it isn't the worst '80's Priest album either.
Released between their greatest commercial successes in the form of British Steel and Screaming for Vengeance, Point of Entry seems to have ended up as the forgotten cousin in the Priest discography. While a success in its day, it hasn’t stood the test of time well, and frankly it’s not hard to see why.
That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with it per se. Far from it in fact. The songs on here are mostly decent hard rock tracks very much in the vein of Killing Machine/Hell Bent for Leather and British Steel. The problem is that it comes across as more of the same.
It’s like listening to an entire album of the lesser known songs off British Steel but without anything that leaps out and grabs you as immediately and effectively as the distinctive riffs from Breaking the Law or Electric Eye. It’s hard to be more specific about tracks, because they’re mostly good but all so forgettable.
Ironically, the album doesn’t really kick off until it reaches the bonus tracks, which are available on the 2001 remaster. Thunder Road is to my mind the forgotten classic of 80s Priest. It’s also another example of the bizarre bonus track choices made with these remasters, as it was actually recorded during the Ram it Down sessions!
So while it doesn’t belong on this record, Thunder Road nonetheless shares the outstanding production and song writing on the inconsistent but occasionally brilliant Ram it Down. It starts off sedately enough, then dives into a long sequence of traded solos and vocal brilliance that has to be heard to be believed. In short, it’s a highlight.
The other bonus track is a live recording of Desert Plains that takes the fairly bland and pedestrian original and injects it with immensely more power and energy. One wonders how Priest keeps dragging up such obscure live tracks yet hasn’t made a decent live album since the 70’s. It’s worth hearing, but don’t buy the album for it.
In short, Point of Entry is a ‘listen and forget’ sort of album. It’s not bad, but it’s nothing special either. Pick it up if you see it cheap or you’re a Priest completist (in which case, good on you). Otherwise, don’t panic.
... but not especially good.
This one takes a lot of pounding even from hardcore fans of the band, and it's pretty easy to see why: this record is the culmination of the pop-metal style pioneered by the band on Killing Machine. It's also the last record Priest would create in that vein; following the critical failure of this album upon its release the band would return with a 'vengeance' on the follow-up. Nevertheless, Point of Entry is not bad for what it is, and I regard it as far superior to the other 'infamous' album by this line-up, Turbo.
The most famous track from this album is also the opener, and "Heading Out to the Highway" is just as good as any other opening track that Priest has recorded. It captures succinctly the feeling of traveling through the desert to escape from the modern world, a feeling that any metalhead worth the title can agree with. The next track, "Don't Go", is much more atypical of Priest, with a strange clockwork grove to it which has earned it the hatred of many fans. I thoroughly enjoy it nevertheless, even the oddly proletarian vocal delivery of Halford. "Hot Rockin'" closes out the trifecta of singles from this album, and it sounds essentially like a slightly more metallic successor to "Living After Midnight" from the last album, with the same vapid party theme and the same instrumental virtuosity.
"Turning Circles" opens with a strange guitar line that sounds almost to me like something an alternative rock band would play, but quickly evolves into a tolerable, if not especially memorable, slow burn. "Desert Plains" is one of several oddball songs on this piece, sounding interestingly enough like late-60's psychedelic rock ala Iron Butterfly recorded somewhere in Death Valley (note: this album has a definite 'arid' atmosphere, and does a pretty good job capturing it). One of my favorite tracks on the record. "Solar Angels" opens with a tremendous chugging sound before erupting into an even sunnier psychedelic rapture than the preceding track. Halford's vocal delivery has rarely been more emotional or powerful than here, and combines with the music to create what I can only call a sun-baked, spiraling cathedral of sound. This, together with the previous song, is my favorite cut on the album.
Unfortunately the record takes a tremendous dip in value with the last four pieces, with not a single song being note-worthy. "Troubleshooter" seems to be regarded in certain circles as a 'lost classic', but I don't buy it. "On The Run" is occasionally listed as a fan-favorite also, but it sounds to these ears as a fairly generic piece of power-rock with an interesting vocal line which alone redeems it from mediocrity. None of these cuts are particularly bad, just not rave-worthy. This would itself be admirable -- if this were not Judas Priest.
On the whole, I'd not recommend this to anyone not already a fan of the group. It has quite a few gems, but also a lot of baggage. I will say in its favor that it is not nearly as 'poppy' as many make it out to be, and sounds more experimental than anything else. A worthy buy for the long-term Priesthead, but it's not going to be winning any converts any time soon.
One of the most often derided Judas Priest albums, Point of Entry marks the precise moment when the band stopped sounding like themselves and became mostly indistinguishable from the brunt of 80’s hard rock acts like Krokus, Helix, and Foreigner. Though the shift to the hard rock sound began as early as Killing Machine, this album was the full realization of that movement. The result: a poorly written and uncharacteristically unoriginal Priest album that while catchy enough that it isn’t rendered unlistenable, still sticks out like a sore thumb in what would otherwise be a strong era in the band’s history.
For an album that was designed to be commercially appealing, it has an ironic lack of hit singles when compared to the band’s other 80’s albums. The only real hit is album opener “Heading Out to the Highway.” Rightly so, as despite the song’s simplicity, it’s catchy enough to stand up to past classics like “Living After Midnight.” Unfortunately, this simplicity, while charming here, will soon become overly apparent in the succeeding tracks. All the songs have very simple structures. All the songs have simple riffs and solos. Worst of all, the songs all have terribly simple drumming. Dave Holland, acquired for the British Steel album, proves himself to be one of the worst things to ever happen to this band. While his plain, fill-fearing style was tolerable on that album, his lack of talent becomes painfully apparent on subsequent albums, Point of Entry included. The effect is a bit diminished for this album, but only because nobody else is performing up to standard either. Glen Tipton and KK Downing write the bare minimum in riffage with not a memorable solo between them; playing generic hard rock leads that Angus Young could oust even on a bad day. Ian Hill plods along unremarkably, as usual. Even Halford fails to utilize his high register or his ability to write convincing, memorable melodies.
But even with the mediocre presentation, a few gems still shine through the rough. “Heading Out to the Highway” is obviously one of them, while the upbeat, catchy “Hot Rockin” is less so. As previous reviewers have stated, “Solar Angels” is one of the album’s highlights, being the heaviest and featuring one of Halford’s better vocal performances. “Desert Plains” is also indicative of the band’s past glory, carrying a bluesier atmosphere than most of the tracks on here. The rest, other than the blatantly straightforward yet subtly groovy “Don’t Go,” is textbook definition meh. Hair metal Judas Priest style, without the metal or the style.
Like most of the mediocre albums I review, I can still jam out to this without shame. But it’s not an album that I would ardently recommend, especially to fans of the heavier, better Priest albums. Hey, at least it’s better than the Owens years…
Judas Priest has had their share of ups and downs in the opinions of many, be it the Ripper Owens years according to core Halford enthusiasts, the Turbo album according to fans of their heavier music, or this album due to its implicitly light subject matter and heavy amount of rock elements. “Point of Entry” is different from its recent predecessors “British Steel” and “Killing Machine” primarily in that it contains a lot of radio friendly and repetitive rock songs with rather fluffy and happy lyrics. When one forms an opinion on any album, one must obviously take into account personal taste, and in the case of this album one must have an equal affinity for NWOBHM and LA style cock rock.
“Don’t go”, “You say yes”, “All the Way” are among the more repetitious of the cock rock mix on here. The riffs are fairly simple, there is very little variation, and the primary focal point of the arrangement is the vocals. Halford’s vocal interpretation on these are mostly a mid ranged to somewhat high approach, but nothing quite like the high end screams heard on “Beyond the Realms of Death” or the aggressive low end approach of “Delivering the Goods”. “Turning Circles” and “On the run” are the happiest sounding of the bunch, the former being all but completely removed the stereotypical metal image of aggression, while the later is heavily blues inspired but with a solid high end performance by Halford.
“Hot Rocking” and “Troubleshooter” are also cut from a more cock rock format, but contain the necessary balance of riff variation and lead majesty to make them a cut above the rest. The former in particular is an enjoyable listen if you like up tempo early 80s rock with plenty of soloing. The latter carries some resemblance to the other 5 songs, but has a stronger chorus and a bit more variation amongst the various parts. One truly sad aspect of this band that is further magnified amongst all 7 of these songs is the utter lack of bass work.
Among the more metal tracks on here we have all the essential elements for a set of Judas Priest classics. “Heading Out to the Highway” has the edge over all the songs on here in the riff department; this was definitely a fine way to start the album. “Solar Angels” is the heaviest track on here, from the phaser driven guitar intro to the slow and straightforward song that follows. “Desert Plains” is my personal favorite from the bunch, mostly because Iron Savior has written several choruses similar to this one, “Wings of Deliverance” being the most similar though quite a bit heavier.
Core fans of Judas Priest mostly tend to hate this album because of the lack of heaviness and aggression. But for those of you who liked bands such as Motley Crue, Dokken, and the Scorpions there are plenty of songs on here that are highly comparable to what they did during the 80s. If you like your metal hard and heavy, the best place to find the 3 truly metal tracks on here will be on the Metal Works 73’-93’, so unless you are a rabid Judas Priest collector that would be the place to go. People may rip on this release, but I like it and still occasionally pop it in for extended road trips.
This album is undoubtedly Priest's worst, worser than Turbo, Demolition and Jugulator combined. The strangest part about the album is that it starts off incredibly - 'Heading Out To The Highyway' is an awesome catchy opener although it too shows a more streamlined side of Priest. After hearing this track, I had (falsely) believed that all the critics were wrong. If this was what the album was like, it would definetly have joined its legendary predecessors on stage. Unfortunately, every other song on the album with the exception of On The Run are easily among Priest's worst. You pretty much get this right off the bat after the opener, Priest deserve a huge thumbs up for being considerate enough to tell the listener right away that they're going to suck, and do a really thorough job of it. 'Don't Go' is among the albums worst songs (an honour indeed!) with an incredibly repetitive half-riff and irritating vocals - this is a failed attempt at the antics of the psychedelic 70's. In fact, that's what a lot of the album sounds like - pseudo psychedelic 70's rock. Songs such as 'Desert Plains', 'Solar Angels' and many moments on the album are a complete blues-fest with a lot of meandering riffing in a failed, vomit-inducing attempt to rehash the glory of acid rock.
The entire album is boring, meandering, repetitive and has no place in a discography of a band like Priest. 'You Say Yes' has gay written all over it, with some horrendous sugar pop tendencies strewn all over it. 'Troubleshooter' is probably the worst song on the album and a top contender for worst Priest song ever along with other abominations like 'Abductors' (Jugulator) and 'Last Rose Of Summer' (Sin After Sin). Quite a tough contest indeed, as Priest may very well be (with the exception of their efforts till British Steel and Painkiller) the most inconsistent band ever and have a fetish for ruining albums with some totally vapid songs that have absolutely no place in it. We pretty much have nothing to cheer about except the opener and the closer. On The Run finishes the album off rather strangely. After all the sewage we've been through listening to this wreck, we've come upon a gem which ranks among Priests best! With an amazing vocal delivery, soaring chorus and great riffing this one just burns the entire album to ashes and flys away - leaving you stunned and unable to recover.
Well, the album can be summed up with three words - boring, repetitive and awful. If you have the remaster, it contains two nice bonus tracks - Thunder Road and a live version of Desert Plains. Thunder Road is a nice hard rock number that should have made it onto the album. Desert Plains which is quite boring on the album absolutely slays live. Priest have always been one of the best live bands out there, live even their worst stuff shines through. This is due entirely to the bands contagious energy when they perform with the guitars, vocals, drums and in other words everything on absolute overkill. In fact, the definitive versions of the songs on their studio releases are the live versions - such as Tyrant, which ruled on Sad Wings but was turned into a juggernaut in Unleashed In The East. So one would do good to hunt down as many Priest bootlegs he can, they're better than the studio releases!
In conclusion, stay clear of this release. Download Heading Out To The Highway, On The Run and the two bonus tracks and that's all you'd ever need from this wreck.
Okay, so no one likes this one, I'm a Priest fanboy for giving it a score over 40, blah blah, this album is fucking good. After "British Steel", Judas Priest were under hard pressure to create a follow-up, but instead of going in the same direction as their last two albums, they completely wander off the beaten track (recognize that, and you get a cookie) and instead do what most would call a pop-metal album, which is not entirely unjustified.
The melodies and songwriting in general is quite upbeat and, so to speak, poppy. "You Say Yes" begins with a rather merry intro riff, and "Turning Circles" is probably the lightest non-ballad song they ever did, and "Troubleshooter" is the nicest sex song they ever did. But god damn it, I don't care, cause the songs are for the most part really fun and catchy.
And this is what Judas Priest do. They don't always move on the track that is certain to give them success - sure, "Turbo" experimented with glam metal when the genre was at it's peak, but at that point they were already big enough, they've no use to sell out. They're keeping an ear open for what's going on and stay open minded, but they never stray from their own path. That's what makes this band so special. The first true Heavy Metal band still remains the greatest, and on this, their sixth studio album, they keep the Priest legacy true by trying something different instead of what people expect, and it turns out alright, although admittedly one of their weakest releases to date.
There are some total fucking winners here, and I'll be dealing with those first. First off, the opening track and definite highlight on here, "Heading Out To The Highway", is just amazing. The lyrics that just scream of independence and the right to do what you want, coming from the Priest's own repeated hellraising nights of booze and acid trips, and the song reflects that perfectly with powerful riffs smacking you upside the head in the "Grinder"-vein and a powerful upbeat mood, complete with a mighty singalong chorus and one of those divine leads that Glenn and KK do so amazingly good! Yes, another magical Priest moment here.
Shortly after, we also have "Hot Rockin", an energetic, rocking tune which makes you wanna just go to a kick, headbang and scream your heart out. Viciously underrated it is, too, and I can't figure out why, it's vintage Priest.
These are the definite highlights, and the fastest song on here.
Some other noteworthy songs are the moody "Desert Plains", the LSD-laced "Solar Angels" and the powerful "On The Run" (Listen to that vocal delivery! I've said it before and I'll say it again, Paul Baloff is the Satan of Metal, and Rob Halford is the Metal God), three very memorable midtempo numbers. The previously mentioned and incredibly upbeat and nice "You Say Yes", the gay-reference filled "All The Way" and the cliché sex song "Troubleshooter" are just huge barrels of fun that I personally have a hard time not thoroughly enjoying.
"Turning Circles" and "Don't Go" are probably the weakest songs on here. "Turning Circles" has a pretty mediocre melodic riff that can get annoying after a while, and "Don't Go" has the same problem with the highlighted bass line, and overall these songs definitely are among the weaker material in Judas Priest's catalogue.
Nonetheless, I may be the only one to say so but this is a damn good album, it it's my personal opinion that you can never go wrong with Judas Priest. Stay metal, keep the faith and be awesome.