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Where's the metal? - 72%

freeman667, May 14th, 2009

So the story has already been told to death; that about Priest’s increasingly
commercial direction after ‘Stained Class’ and the pop-metal sound and synthesized guitars which were used for this recording. The end result of this is an inconsistent Priest album structurally – most of the tracks have at least a couple of solid sections, but the pop elements which are prominent in several tracks serve to weaken and limit the potential for the sound, especially during the choruses of “Rock You All Around the World’ and the terrible ‘Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days’. With this said, the synthesized guitars are mostly prominent in some intros and solos, such as “Hot for Love’ and ‘Turbo Lover’ respectfully, but don’t really get in the way of some screaming heavy metal riffs to form the backbone of this underrated Priest album.

‘Turbo’ begins with the title track, ‘Turbo Lover’, which is probably the most unique song on the album due to its slow buildup, relatively deep and melodic vocals and incredibly catchy solo. This might be the best song on here – the riff at about a minute and a half in kicks the song into high gear, and the epic chorus and cheesy lyrics drive the point home. Also definitely worth watching is the music video for this song, for the epitome of mid-80’s cheese. ‘Locked In’ has a nice opening riff and lead (again with those heavily synthesized guitars) before turning into a midpaced rocker, the verses of which can almost be described as speed metal due to that riff :-) Again, an excellent chorus here melodically, albeit with cheesy as fuck lyrics. Also worth mentioning is Ian Hill’s consistent pummeling of the low end. The opening section of the title track as well as the verses of ‘Locked In’, have some excellent rumbling bass work and a few little runs here and there.

This is the point where a lot of fans turn on this album, and it is definitely understandable. Aside from possessing a decent main riff and another catchy-as-fuck chorus, the riffless verses and uninspired vocal performance by Halford definitely sink ‘Private Property’. Dave Holland is pretty much a Lars here as well, pure plodding beats and generic fills (fills?). Again, ‘Locked In’ is a great example of how a more complex drum pattern could have loaned a more metal touch to it, and turned the verses from a ‘tap your foot’ to a ‘smash your head’. But here, he is at his worst with a drum score that would make ‘The Unforgiven’ look like ‘Bleed’ in comparison. ‘Parental Guidance’ is much more of the same, good chorus (as far as sounding like Whitesnake goes) but a complete lack of riffs, aggression, speed or anything resembling metal aside from the decent solo.

Although those last two songs certainly blow and are not metal, the next song ‘Rock You All Around the World’, is a sad attempt at some speed and fails even more than those. This piece of shit fails miserably on almost all counts. And that includes the ok opening riff and the good solo section. The repetition of the chorus is vomit-inducing, and I skip this track almost every time I have listened to this album save for when writing this review. Weak drumming, complete nonexistent bass lines, lyrics which read as though they were written by a cretin, and that damn stupid fucking chorus. This song makes me that angry, and is a perfect example of the several failures of this album. Lucky for me, things pick up again with ‘Out in the Cold’. Showing for the second time (after the ‘Turbo Lover’ solo) that the synthesized guitars can be effective, the intro is epic and melodic and sets the tone for the dark and well crafted ballad. (“I feel as though I’m out in the cold!”). A great solo and redeeming, heavy metal song later, the track is over and I am satisfied

Unfortunately, the rest of the album does not live up to this, and for the most part, sucks as bad as the worst of ‘Demolition’ and ‘Point of Entry’. ‘Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days’ (not typing that again) is easily the worst song on here, with its AC/DC, plodding verses, the second worst chorus on the album. No redeeming features here; even Halford sounds like shit during this one, and the drumming is of course absolute crap. ‘Hot for Love’ has a bit going on with that ‘Defenders’ style opening riff, but turns into another ‘Private Property’ during the verses and has a boring, terrible chorus. The rest of the song feels drawn out, and “Reckless’ does nothing to fix this. Aside from a decent opening riff, it is basically the most forgettable song on here, and definitely the most mediocre and middle of the road. Here the album ends, in an unspectacular fashion. Sure, there was some magic on ‘Out in the Cold’ and the first couple of tracks, but was that worth having to listen to boring, derivative tracks like “Rock You All Around the World’ and that other crappy AC/DC ripoff?

With the 2001 remasters came several bonus tracks which were from the ‘Turbo’ sessions but were left out for one reason or another. The score for this review however, will not take these songs into account seeing as they were not included on the original release. Of these, I have heard two, ‘Red White & Blue’ and ‘All Fired Up’. The former is an awful homage to their home country, but it is full of cheese and bad production, as well as a complete lack of riffing. Had this been on the final album, it would be amongst the worst. However, the other track is a complete enigma. Why ‘All Fired Up’ was left off ‘Turbo’ remains a mystery to me. Fucking brutal speed metal! Awesome opening riff, devastating verse riffs, soaring vocals by Halford, and holy shit, this song is definitely in my top 5 for Priest! Having heard it after buying the reissue of this album a couple of years back, it has been in heavy rotation anytime Priest is on. Had this been included on the album, it would have been the best track far and away, and would’ve pushed this review up a few points. It would have worked so much better ending the album than “Reckless’, or provided a speedy afterthought to ‘Out in the Cold’ instead of the worst song on here. These are the mysteries of life and death.

So as I said, overall, this is pretty bad. I’ll give it a 72, because despite the pop, most of the songs are at least catchy and pleasant to hear. It’s not like having to endure Mudvayne or Poison or anything like that. Songs like the title track, ‘Locked In’ and ‘Out in the Cold’ make this worth listening to though, just skip past songs 5 and 7. And for god sakes, check out ‘All Fired Up’!!