Judas Priest – Invincible Shield

133

What do you think of first when you hear the name Judas Priest? My immediate thoughts are of leather and spikes, hard hitting riffs that have only gotten heavier with time, the vocals of the one and only Metal God, Rob Halford, and the pulverizing drum work of Scott Travis. I would also venture a guess that many of you thought the same, or at least something fairly similar. The good news for those of us that love their music is that these Birmingham based Heavy Metal Warriors have returned with yet another outstanding release on Invincible Shield, which is available now!!!!

Artist: Judas Priest

Release Title: Invincible Shield

Label: Epic Records

Release Date: March 8th, 2023

Location: Birmingham, England

Written By: Tom Hanno of Tom’s Reviews

Invincible Shield is the first album since 2018’s Firepower, an album that I absolutely loved. I feel that this new album is even more exceptional, as it incorporates vibes from across their amazing career. These songs were all created with a veritable avalanche of cascading riffs and incredible guitar solos provided by Ritchie Faulkner and Glen Tipton, and the most rock solid foundation a band could ever have, which is thanks in no small part to the bass playing of Ian Hill and the drumming of Scott Travis. Then there’s the outstanding vocal performances put in by Rob Halford, whose 72 years on this planet have done very little to diminish the immense talents that he has.

One of my three favorite songs is “The Serpent And The King”, which is a throwback to 1990’s Painkiller album. That record was the beginning of the new era of Judas Priest, it displayed a thrashier, heavier sound and attack than what their 80’s output did. What blows me away about this song is Rob Halford’s vocals, it’s just amazing that he is still able to hit those highs that he’s always been known for. The guitar playing is on point, but that’s no surprise, Ritchie and Glen are two of the best players and songwriters in the genre.

“Devil In Disguise” opens with a riff that takes listeners back to the golden age of Judas Priest, yet feels extremely up to date as well. I love how the pre-chorus incorporates a great vocal melody, leading into the actual chorus with expert precision. The riff is badass, the harmonies are slick, and the lead break is well thought out, and quite memorable.

“Escape From Reality” is another of the top three tracks. The verse uses both a distorted riff and a clean part on top of that, and the sound the two create is absolutely incredible to my ears. Rob puts in a wonderful performance throughout, and I thought that Ozzy was guesting when I first heard the song, but it’s Rob showing us even more of his immense talent. This is a stellar track from start to finish!

“Giants In The Sky” is dedicated to two of the most revered musicians to ever pick up a microphone, or as is the case for one of them, a microphone, a bottle of Jack, and an overdriven bass guitar. Lemmy Kilmister and Ronnie James Dio need no introduction to those of us who are grizzled, Heavy Metal veterans, and this track’s lyrics pay homage to those two men with grace, and respect for what they’ve done within the fiery landscape that is the Metal genre. The music is full of groove, and should keep you moving as the song plays on; this may actually be one of the most groove heavy tracks on Invincible Shield.

The slower section brought up hints of “Victim Of Changes” from their Sad Wings Of Destiny album, which is my all time favorite Priest song, adding in even more greatness to a song that I already loved! Rob sounds so good here, and the guitars are interesting, but not so complex as to be overbearing.

“The Lodger” takes the top spot as far as I’m concerned, though I have seen others say that it doesn’t quite fit in with the other 13 tracks on the Special Edition, but you people saying that are wrong, dead wrong. While I do concede that this is a different sound than the rest of the album, it does still fit into the tracklist as a whole. What I love about it is that it’s probably the most memorable track on the album, so much so that I’ve found myself waking up in the middle of the night with the track playing on a loop in my head. The chorus is absolutely infectious, and as usual, Rob’s performance is crafted to suit the song perfectly.

Before I let you all go, I’d like to shine a light on an accomplishment that has been made with the release of Invincible Shield, one that puts Judas Priest in a position that no other Metal band has ever been in. They are the first, and only Metal act to release albums 5 decades apart!!! Their first album, Rocka Rolla, dropped in 1974, and 50 years later Judas Priest shows no signs of slowing down with Invincible Shield. As fans of these iconic musicians, we all owe them a hearty congratulations on this massive milestone!!

Other Standout Tracks: “Trial By Fire”, “Invincible Shield”, and “Gates Of Hell”




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *