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Return Of The Metal Gods - 92%

Erin_Fox, October 29th, 2006

Judas Priest fans, the wait is finally over! The mighty Priest has come roaring back with a brand new Dual Disc that is absolutely stunning. From the killer theme of the cover and packaging to the “Reunited” DVD disc side to most importantly, the awesome actual album itself. “Angel Of Retribution” is a show stopping listen as the group once again joins forces with vocalist Rob Halford in order to create what could possibly be considered to be the defining Judas Priest album.

There is a vibe that flows through this record that gives you the impression that nothing ever changed with the band and the time Halford has spent away seems to have resulted in a bout of creativity and focus that is unparalleled in the group’s tenured history. This is a record that long time fans of the group have been hoping and praying for and it does not disappoint in any manner whatsoever. From the blistering metal anthem “Deal With The Devil” to the harmonic and truly beautiful ballad “Angel”, this album has everything that fans love about the band and then some.

Rob Halford’s high pitched scream seems to have a rejuvenated power on the first single, “Revolution”. Here, the vocalist uses his signature dynamics in order to create a powerful ambience that shows exactly why he is one of the most highly regarded singers in the history of metal. Speaking of history, Priest do much to rewrite their own history by nailing tracks like “Worth Fighting For” and “Judas Rising” with a feeling they only can create, expanding on sounds they originally created on “Stained Class” and “British Steel” to a high degree of success.

The massive, doom laden strains of the 13 minute tour de force “Lochness” in one song, manage to symbolize everything that this record, and for that matter, Judas Priest are all about. Powerful harmonies, crunching guitars of steel and gigantic beats all mesh perfectly on this track, summing up the album with an enormous point of exclamation that screams “Priest IS heavy metal!”

The DVD side of this disc is worth the cost alone, featuring interviews with the respective band members on the reformation of the metal gods along with some superb footage taken from the band’s 2004 “reunited” tour that show the band back on stage in fine form, Harley-Davidson, leather, spikes and all. This lengthy documentary includes clips of classics like “A Touch Of Evil”, “Diamonds And Rust” and a version of “Living After Midnight” which displays an enthralled crowd with fists firmly in the air pogoing to the song with savage intensity. The greatest part about the DVD is the opportunity to hear the members speak passionately in regard to the reformation, which makes for some truly memorable moments. As an added value, the DVD side also contains the entire “Angel Of Retribution” album in it’s entirety in enhanced stereo sound. While each individual track plays, a different screensaver featuring the astounding art which graces the album cover and liner is displayed. Although Priest is known for metal, well known as the band that originally took metal to its most extreme in the 70’s, they truly shine on the mellowest track you will find on “Angel Of Retribution”, the haunting ballad “Angel”. This cut is quite simply, one of the best songs the group has ever put together.

Omnipresent keyboardist Don Airey also makes a guest performance on the eerie “Eulogy”, bringing warmth to the track with a somber piano performance. As the preeminent godfathers of metal, Judas Priest manages to accomplish here what few others have, a reunion effort that outmatches the greatest works of their career. That in itself is no small feat for a band that has created so many classic songs.

“Angel Of Retribution” reestablishes Judas Priest as a heavyweight in the metal world, and for long time fans of the band this album will resonate with tremendous force for quite some time. All hail the metal gods!