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Underappreciated - 86%

Nightcrawler, November 19th, 2002

Yes, this album is indeed very underappreciated. The members of Priest are all in an excellent shape on this album. Rob's vocals are unbelievable, the guitarwork is mindblowing, the bass is excellent and the drumming is insane.
The bluesy feeling from the two first albums still play a big role in the sound of this album, but the Priest is more and more turning to an all out heavy metal assault.

Sinner opens the album in a grand way with that classic guitar riff.
The song has a quite evil but still upbeat feel to it, with the classic bluesy 70's Priest touch. After the first vers comes the chorus, which has an amazing vocal performance.
The song also has three mindblowing guitar solos, some of the best they've ever done. It's an incredibly strong opener for an incredibly strong album.

Diamonds And Rust up next, a cover of Joan Baez. The song contains a very cool bass riff, which is very discrete but builds up the song very good.
There's no actual solo in the song, but some killer guitar licks.
The song is very good, but not in the same league as the magnificent opening. Although, on Live Meltdown '98 you can find a beautiful live version of this song, with some of the most emotional vocals you have ever heard.

Starbreaker opens with a killer drum intro, and soon the main riff kicks in. Very catchy and a really fun listen. Killer guitar work, and excellent drumming. Session drummer Simon Phillips was used on this album, and he's an amazing drummer, mostly because of his wide range. You could make him play the drum in any song by any band in any genre, and he'd sound perfect.
Another killer guitar solo is to be found in this song, which is not more than what you'd expect.

Last Rose Of Summer is the first of two ballads on this album. Pretty good song, but it could've been better.
The bass and guitar riffs are very emotional, and Rob's vocals are beautiful.
A very well executed solo is to be found, but maybe a tad too short.
It's unfortunate that they have to repeat "Last rose of summer" for what feels like hours at the end of the song.

Let Us Prey/Call For The Priest is the best song so far. Let Us Prey is a powerful beginning, with some killer melodies, and an immortal opening line: "Call for the priest, I'm dying!" Then, the song gets going with a blast.
The song is pretty much speed metal, with killer riffing, strong vocals, and amazing drums.
There's some beautiful guitar leads in the song, and a mindblowing solo.

Raw Deal is a pretty cool song. It's quite slow paced, with a drugged, bluesy feeling to it. The guitar riffing is among the best on the album.
The ending section of this song is among the strongest ever, right after Rob sings/screams "I gave my life, I am immortal!" From that part, the guitars speed up, and goes into a simply amazing bridge.
It then continues into the final part of the song. Rob screams like a madman, and the song is suddenly over. Very good song, this.

Here Come The Tears is the second ballad, and the better of the two. This is in fact one of Priest's greatest ballads ever.
Beautiful acoustic guitars, a dark and truly emotional vocal performance. Especially on the bridge, where Rob sings in his high-pitched voice, filled with melody and sadness.
The solo is beautiful, and it leads into the ending section, and slowly fades out into the final track.

Dissident Aggressor is opened by some weird sound effects, and a guitar riff slowly tuning up. Without warning, Rob Halford delivers a mindblowing scream, while the main riff kicks in.
Rob is divine all through the song, this is certainly one of his better performances ever.
This is the heaviest song on the album, and one of the best. It simply kicks ass from beginning to end.

On the remaster, you can find the bonus track Race With The Devil, a cover on the band Gun.
It's a rather decent track, with catchy riffwork, great leads, licks and a solo by Glenn Tipton.
There's also a live version of Jawbreaker on the album, but it's pretty bad. The opening is speeded up for no reason and it feels pretty disorganized.
The studio version is definitely better. But there is a raw feeling to the guitar riffs, which is probably the only improvement that has been made.
When Rob screams "Jawbreaker!" At the end of the song, you wonder what the fuck he's doing. It sounds like a rooster with something very big and uncomfortable stuck up it's ass.

Overall, the album is a very strong effort, and easily worth getting. The best songs are Sinner, Call For The Priest, Here Come The Tears and Dissident Aggressor, but all of the songs are very good.
This album is definitely recommended.