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Ah, yes. The hated Turbo. The much maligned Turbo. Accused of everything from being glam to murdering infants, I was much surprised to find my head banging in a quintessentially 80's sway. Ok, I'll easily admit it's not typical Priest. The songs DO sound dated and very mid-80's. Yeah, it is VERY cheesy. But hey, when has cheese stopped a self-respecting Priest fan? Their entire sound is based around being the most ridiculous band around. There are a few dud songs here, but this is not just a radio rock album. There are a few gems on this album, one of which appears towards the end (Reckless) and another that appears right squat in the middle of the album (Out in the Cold.)
Lyrically, I'll admit, this is hard to take seriously (is Priest ever easy to take seriously?), but that doesn't hinder my appreciation of this album. Halford sings his heart out as always, so WHAT he's singing is irrelevent. Halford's still Halford, Tipton is still Tipton, and KK is still KK. While most of the songs here are mid-tempo, they're still a fun bunch. This is not Judas Priest's most musically deep album, and it doesn't seem to warrant as many repeat listens as other albums, but I still catch myself rocking out to more up tempo songs like "Locked In" or "All Fired Up". This music wouldn't sound out of place in, say, Back To The Future or its ilk. It's great to listen to, and like most of Priest's post-1980 catalog will get you energized. If they performed these songs live they wouldn't sound out of place in the middle of the usual setlist.
This is Judas Priest's most commercial album, but do not let that deter you from enjoying this. There are kickass guitar solos on Turbo, and, to put this plainly, Judas Priest will blow whoever their competition is clean out of the water. I've seen them live, and they always find a way of completely owning the competition. This is the case with Turbo. It's mid 80's radio metal, but it completely demolishes the competition still, proving that whatever Priest decide to do, they will usually come out on top in the end. Besides, British Steel is almost or equally commercial. Despite my personal feelings on the matter, it's usually hailed as a JP classic.
At the end of the day Judas Priest are good songwriters. They're good at writing catchy, rocking, and heavy songs, and even on their more commercial ventures, they still manage to put out an album full of what we expect from Priest: catchy licks, molten steel guitar solos, energetic drumming, powerful and ear-splitting wailing from Rob Halford, and Ian Hill standing near the back, doing his thing, and chicken-necking the whole time. I understand a little trepidation about the "radio" feel of Turbo, but it's worth it to leave our self-consciousness at the door and rock out to Turbo.