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My, my... what do we have here? Could this be... no, it couldn't be... it is Priest, after all... wait... no, this can't be! This can't possibly be the same band who wrote "Victim of Changes," or the same one who so elegantly covered Joan Baez's "Diamonds and Rust," or even the band who came up with "You've Got Another Thing Comin'." They're too good for that. Surely they wouldn't disappoint their rabid fanbase, right?
This is worse than Metallica's blunder. It's worse than Diabolus in Crapsica. It's even worse than Heretic. What we have here, quite simply, is possibly (actually, likely) the worst sellout the world has ever known. To think that Judas Priest, the righteous Gods of Metal, would create such an abomination is a disgrace - no, a kick in the groin - to everything heavy metal, and good music in general, has ever stood for. Never before or after has there been such a shameless conformity to trends, and there likely never will be. This, not Slipknot, and not Job for a Cowboy, is the absolute worst piece of steaming mule dung the bowels of the music industry have ever spewed forth.
Halford - the godly, the amazing - has become nothing more than a degenerate and lifeless glam singer. He never screams; he never shows any range. He's constantly in the high register, and not in a good way. Ian Hill, an underappreciated bassist, gets the treatment he deserves, but at the worst possible time. He plays nothing but eighth notes below the guitars for the entire album, and probably would have been better off not playing at all. Dave Holland does no wrong, if by wrong one means straying from a boring and typical heavy drum beat characteristic of the worst of glam rock. K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton lose all of their soul, all of their heart... everything they churn out is glam of the lowest quality. This, by far, is the worst performance any of them has ever done, and probably will ever do.
The album opens up with "Turbo Lover." Now, what could anyone expect from such a title but boring glam? They say not to judge a book by its cover (or a song by its title) but it really doesn't apply in this case. What you see is what you get - trendy glam with all the requisites: dumb, bland instrumentation; soulless vocals; obnoxious lyrics - and this one even comes with a crappy, uninspired "solo." This is the song that would immediately become a "hit" back in the mid-eighties, what with every idiot on the street blasting stupid Winger songs from their car radios.
With such a terrible opener, it couldn't possibly get much worse, right?
Again WRONG. Next we are subjected to "Locked In," which is pretty much the same thing, except without the, ahem, "catchiness." Once again we have love-obsessed glam lyrics, and some more terrible instrumentation. You can pretty much expect to hear the first song again, for the most part. And then... it just gets worse. The next two songs are filled with the one and only... teenage angst! Yep, it's just "you just DON'T UNDERSTAND!" written a bunch of different ways. And "Parental Guidance" is the worst offender. Wait, since when does Judas Priest play pop punk? It's like Green Day fused with blink-182 and AFI and every other craptastic band you can think of in that style, only a hundred times worse simply because it's coming from a notoriously awesome (at least in the past) heavy metal band. Check this line out: "You went through the same thing too!" If that's not the most angsty line in history, then nothing is. It's enough to make you puke out your intestines. More follows suit with "Rock You Around the World," "Hot for Love," and "Reckless."
Then there's "Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days." Think washed-up era AC/DC at its worst, combined with stolen riffs from every other rock band out there, then amplify it by a hundred orders of magnitude. Now you've got this song. It's so shamelessly copied, it might as well be a cover song. And even then, it wouldn't be a cover of Priest caliber.
And what's this? A ballad? Could this be the saving grace of this total sellout? Perhaps a "Beyond the Realms of Death," a "Before the Dawn?" No, it's not. In fact, it's a power ballad - of the most ridiculously cliched type. Starting with a synth intro that unsuccessfully attempts to be brooding, the song drags on for six minutes and should end much, much earlier. It is the most irritating song on the entire album (a veritable feat).
All in all, Judas Priest's Turbo is the album of choice for one who wishes to end his miserable existence by smashing his head against a wall in disgust. Thankfully, the band would improve a bit on Ram It Down, writing a couple of real classics - but they would not truly redeem themselves until 1990 with Painkiller.
Take this as a lesson - the bigger they are, the harder they fall.