Saturday, July 12, 2008

JUDAS PRIEST: (1990) Painkiller (VBR)

From out of nowhere, Judas Priest suddenly revitalized themselves with Painkiller, in no small part because of new drummer Scott Travis, whose busy, virtuosic rhythmic base pushes Rob Halford, K.K. Downing, and Glenn Tipton to their most energetic and impassioned performances in an extremely long time. Songs like the title track, "Leather Rebel," and "Metal Meltdown" thrash like mad; Halford's shrieking and growling is positively frightening, as he uses his incredible vocal range to an almost King Diamond-like effect. But it isn't just the rediscovered power that makes Painkiller the band's strongest musical effort in ages: the elegant "A Touch of Evil," for example, is reminiscent of the progressive, intricately arranged pieces of their '70s work. Painkiller is a qualified success -- the album's Achilles' heel is its lyrics, which rarely depart from standard-issue odes to heavy metal rebellion and comic book/fantasy themes that sometimes cross the line into cringe-inducing silliness; it almost seems like a deliberate avoidance of any substantive content. Still, if you can ignore the lyrics, the terrific, raging performances make Painkiller Judas Priest's first truly satisfying album since 1982's Screaming for Vengeance; unfortunately, it would also be their last with Halford, taking some of the triumph away from their comeback.
--- by Steve Huey, allmusic

1. Painkiller
2. Hell Patrol
3. All Guns Blazing
4. Leather Rebel
5. Metal Meltdown
6. Night Crawler
7. Between the Hammer and the Anvil
8. A Touch of Evil
9. Battle Hymn
10. One Shot at Glory


[ pass = heavymetalbreed ]

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