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Not bad... - 73%

Uebermensch, January 26th, 2008

... but not especially good.

This one takes a lot of pounding even from hardcore fans of the band, and it's pretty easy to see why: this record is the culmination of the pop-metal style pioneered by the band on Killing Machine. It's also the last record Priest would create in that vein; following the critical failure of this album upon its release the band would return with a 'vengeance' on the follow-up. Nevertheless, Point of Entry is not bad for what it is, and I regard it as far superior to the other 'infamous' album by this line-up, Turbo.

The most famous track from this album is also the opener, and "Heading Out to the Highway" is just as good as any other opening track that Priest has recorded. It captures succinctly the feeling of traveling through the desert to escape from the modern world, a feeling that any metalhead worth the title can agree with. The next track, "Don't Go", is much more atypical of Priest, with a strange clockwork grove to it which has earned it the hatred of many fans. I thoroughly enjoy it nevertheless, even the oddly proletarian vocal delivery of Halford. "Hot Rockin'" closes out the trifecta of singles from this album, and it sounds essentially like a slightly more metallic successor to "Living After Midnight" from the last album, with the same vapid party theme and the same instrumental virtuosity.

"Turning Circles" opens with a strange guitar line that sounds almost to me like something an alternative rock band would play, but quickly evolves into a tolerable, if not especially memorable, slow burn. "Desert Plains" is one of several oddball songs on this piece, sounding interestingly enough like late-60's psychedelic rock ala Iron Butterfly recorded somewhere in Death Valley (note: this album has a definite 'arid' atmosphere, and does a pretty good job capturing it). One of my favorite tracks on the record. "Solar Angels" opens with a tremendous chugging sound before erupting into an even sunnier psychedelic rapture than the preceding track. Halford's vocal delivery has rarely been more emotional or powerful than here, and combines with the music to create what I can only call a sun-baked, spiraling cathedral of sound. This, together with the previous song, is my favorite cut on the album.

Unfortunately the record takes a tremendous dip in value with the last four pieces, with not a single song being note-worthy. "Troubleshooter" seems to be regarded in certain circles as a 'lost classic', but I don't buy it. "On The Run" is occasionally listed as a fan-favorite also, but it sounds to these ears as a fairly generic piece of power-rock with an interesting vocal line which alone redeems it from mediocrity. None of these cuts are particularly bad, just not rave-worthy. This would itself be admirable -- if this were not Judas Priest.

On the whole, I'd not recommend this to anyone not already a fan of the group. It has quite a few gems, but also a lot of baggage. I will say in its favor that it is not nearly as 'poppy' as many make it out to be, and sounds more experimental than anything else. A worthy buy for the long-term Priesthead, but it's not going to be winning any converts any time soon.