Another long overdue Live album from Judas Priest. This set is also awesome, the best tracks from Angel & Nostro as well as great concert classics. Great to hear these amazing metal songs again and the new tracks fit in perfectly. Amazing Priest live.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
Great record. Doesn’t matter if Rob never sings a high note again. He still sounds great singing in a lower register.
This is one hell of a live metal album! It’s Priest at their most ferocious. I’ve only listened to it 3 times so far but the first thing I noticed was that Priest haven’t sounded this heavy since `The Sinner’ & `Victim Of Changes’ from Unleashed In The East.
From the very start of the album (Judas Rising), the album rocks so hard & heavy and demands to be played loud. Watch out though – the low bass-rumbles may disintegrate your speakers.
This is the most evil-sounding I’ve heard the band sound live and I’m sure Satan and Tony Iommi were sitting there together smiling at every show.
`Dissident Aggressor’ is the perfect example of the `Sabbath-style’ heaviness that is present throughout the album and is a personal favourite. I’d only ever heard this track live when I saw them on this tour and was blown away with it’s power.
The album is so consistent that I seriously can’t single out any highlights. The only song that may to be out of place on this set, although it’s a good track, is `Riding on the Wind’ – it just doesn’t seem dark enough with everything that surrounds it.
Yes, Halford can’t & doesn’t try to reach the notes he once did – at least not on a constant basis. However, his lower register vocals are still very effective and still irreplaceable (except maybe on ‘Painkiller’ which no one can sing)- respects to Ripper Owens for a great job in the interim.
Tipton & Downing haven’t lost touch – and the drumming…..what can I say – Scott Travis is brilliant, and together with Hill are an awesome rhythm machine.
One of the best decisions made by the band is that they have avoided cramming on the album the `always present on live albums/dvds’ songs like `You Got Another Thing Comin’, `Breaking The Law’, Living After Midnight’ etc. although they did play these songs on their last 2 tours. This makes for a much-welcomed and refreshing song list instead of the usual repetitions many bands deliver with live albums.
One thing that may annoy people with this album is that the songs are taken from different shows from their last 2 tours and the end of each track is faded out between songs. This does take away the atmosphere & continuous flow of a live show and i’ve now lowered my star rating from 5* down to 4* from my original review based on this reason.
All in all, it still is a really great and essential live Priest offering.
After nearly 40 years of recording and performing, Judas Priest continues to deliver the goods while not falling into cliche-laden posturing that turns many “classic rock” bands into cartoon caricatures that pound out the same tired arrangements while playing gigs on the summer rib cook-off circuit.
With four of the 11 tracks from the last two albums – Angel of Retribution and the vastly underrated Nostradamus – and seven cuts dipping deep into the back catalog, there is an eclectic mix that generates powerful electricity. Rob Halford basks in glory with an incredible performance on Painkiller, but it’s bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis who “rocka rolla” by breaking through the wall of sound on Riding on the Wind and Prophecy.
Rarely do live albums drift away from the comfort zone of cranking out fan favorites while easily (lazily?) helping to fulfill the number of titles required in the contractual deal with the record company. Judas Priest breaks that mold.
With song recordings scattered across the Angel of Vengeance 2005 and Nostradamus 2008 tours this is not such much a complete live show rather a greatest live moments of those tours, a collection of live souvenirs if you will. Indeed the songs have not been connected to run as one show and all of these recordings are stellar as is the band performance in delivering them. The band has also recognised there is a fair bit of live Priest in the back catalogue and have chosen to represent more obscure songs on this release which directs it to the hardcore fan.
Things kick off with the awesome “Judas Rising” and the band hits you in the face like a brick wall of sonic metal glory. Underpinned by some fantastic bombast from drummer Scott Travis’s foot work are the classic flurries of KK Downing and Glen Tipton’s awesome monolithic riffs and of course Mr Halford’s Metal God vocals. Surely this track is what heavy metal really is all about. Close behind is “Hellrider” and it is equally metallic titanic. Great start.
“Between the Hammer And The Anvil” lumbers out of the crypt gates before bursting into life and is a spirited rendition of the “Painkiller” classic, complete with intro chants of “Priest, Priest, Priest” from a rabid crowd. The burst of fret work still sends tingles down the spine. Possibly veering into a more commercial vein is “Riding on the Wind” and Rob provides us with his customary screams. Workman like but fun all the same.
Not to be cowed by critics comments made around 2008’s concept Nostradamus release we receive the first of two songs on offer from that CD. I wasn’t a fan of the studio version but “Death” works well in a live setting with Rob sitting upon a throne telling us the tale of man’s fate. Supported in the live arena by synths and ominous chiming church bell, it has more edge here. The vocal just works better when not as contained and when bouncing off an arena’s walls. Glad they included it, will probably make many go back and give the Nostradamus CD a re-play.
“Beyond the Realms of Death” is sublime as always, mind you I don’t think I have ever heard a poor version from the band. Perhaps one of the most influential of true metal bands you know when you are listening to Realms just how many bands and songs they have templated and influenced. Rob sings this again with passion and conviction. A highlight in the band’s songwriting career and certainly one of my early favourites on this release. It proves you can be sensitive in delivery in metal and still hold your audience by the throat. Great stuff.
“Dissident Aggressor” is always welcome and this is a punchy and up beat version, though I miss that signatory siren wail note from Halford at the opening. It is followed by the shrill winds that howl outside announcing “A Touch Of Evil” has arrived. Easily a crowd favourite with the fists raised and the chants of “hey” against the mighty riff this is a great song. Again a great version on offer here, even though it doesn’t stray too far from the studio version with the exception of a few vocal affects added for good measure. Nice guitar solo too.
“Eat Me Alive” sounds like it was lifted from the “Defenders” tour, but its “Prophecy” which was the opening number on the Nostra-Tour that is a late highlight. Again in the live setting this stuff just works better, Rob’s vocals have more grit and edge and although there is synth work and backing tapes at play the whole song is much more stripped so you can hear the guitar riffs. In this way it is far more palatable to the metal fans ear and sounds less removed from what you expect from this band.
“Painkiller” has become the Priest song that modern day fans crave to hear at Priest shows and this version features a vocal that sounds like Halford is spitting razor blades. Over all it is THE ultimate speed metal song, what with pounding bass and drums, blazing guitar tradeoffs, banshee vocals its the best way to finish this CD.
Overall no weak moments, those hoping for a full live show may be disappointed, but I for one think this is a great bookend to two great tours and recommend it fully to any lover of legendary British metal glory. PRIEST, PRIEST, PRIEST, PRIEST!!!!