23 Songs, 1 Hour 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In 2008, after four decades surviving the changing fortunes of heavy metal, Judas Priest are dedicating themselves to their hardest core fans with this elaborate collection. It weighs in at over 2 hours on 23 tracks and includes introductory pieces (“Dawn of Creation”), minor key laments (“Awakening,” “The Four Horsemen”), epic heavy metal riffing from Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing (“Prophecy,” “Revelations,” “Nostradamus,” “Death”) and, of course, lead singer Rob Halford’s gruff pronouncements and blood-curdling screams. Priest’s genuine magic has always been their ability to remain accessible even in their heaviest moments. They flirt with pop conventions but never succumb to them, and Nostradamus is filled with the heavy metal traditions they in part invented. The additional keyboards and strings throw them slightly off track and the over-serious tone and occasionally forced melodrama makes for unintentionally comic moments. But like any good supernatural trip, a certain willful suspension of belief is necessary to enjoy the ride. And with Tipton and Downing guitar soloing in lockstep, Priest hang on for dear life as well.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In 2008, after four decades surviving the changing fortunes of heavy metal, Judas Priest are dedicating themselves to their hardest core fans with this elaborate collection. It weighs in at over 2 hours on 23 tracks and includes introductory pieces (“Dawn of Creation”), minor key laments (“Awakening,” “The Four Horsemen”), epic heavy metal riffing from Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing (“Prophecy,” “Revelations,” “Nostradamus,” “Death”) and, of course, lead singer Rob Halford’s gruff pronouncements and blood-curdling screams. Priest’s genuine magic has always been their ability to remain accessible even in their heaviest moments. They flirt with pop conventions but never succumb to them, and Nostradamus is filled with the heavy metal traditions they in part invented. The additional keyboards and strings throw them slightly off track and the over-serious tone and occasionally forced melodrama makes for unintentionally comic moments. But like any good supernatural trip, a certain willful suspension of belief is necessary to enjoy the ride. And with Tipton and Downing guitar soloing in lockstep, Priest hang on for dear life as well.

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.1 out of 5
374 Ratings
374 Ratings
Metalrob4662

An Amazing Journey with Nostradamus

First off..I'm a Judas Priest fan since 1978 when I first heard Stained Class, now 30 years later I'm still a "Defender of the Faith", Priest have a produced a "Masterpiece"..I know some of you will argue this till the cows come home, but this is the kinda album I have been waiting for. It's alike a journey back to the early 70's with Sad Wings of Destiny, Rocka Rolla, Sin after Sin and so forth. There's no 4 chord "Hits" on this cd, Priest have really worked hard on making "Progressive" music on this album. If you want Painkiller, or British Steel then go put those albums on, because what you have here is a journey of Light and Dark Themes, some Agressive some very melodic and soft. Rob Halford has given you the perfomance of his life on this album, some beautiful compositions on this really make his voice shine. So if your into the more Symphonic, Progressive, Melodic Rock and Metal this will be to your liking. If you into the more Heavy Jugulator & Painkiller type then you'll be dissappointed...again I love Priest and I'm happy they did something different instead of the same old "Formula".
Highlights are:

Calm before the Storm
Nostradamus
Sands of Time
Death
lost love
Persecution
Exiled

InfinityXtwo

An evolution of the Priest's sound

Saying that Judas Priest are back in 08 with a vengeance may be an exaggeration, but Nostradamus-- at the very least-- proves that this classic band is not about to be a forgotten as a relic of metal past. More than a concept album, the band has created a true rock opera on a scale that challenges the grandiosity of any album before it.

But is it any good? The answer to that is subjective. First, you have to accept that Judas Priest is getting old and simply doesn't have enough energy to create another Painkiller. So, if you are a diehard fan of Judas Priest's screeching metal sound, you will probably hate this, because it is much slower. But if you have an open mind, or happened to LOVE "A Touch of Evil", you just might be able to appreciate Nostradamus the way I do. That's because Nostradamus sounds like it took that song, and expanded it enough to become the foundation for the entire album's sound. By listening to "Dawn of Creation" from start to finish, you will get an instrumental preview of the brand new elements that Judas Priest have come to embrace, which include classical intrumentation, orchestra, piano, and electronic beats. Yes, you read that correctly, but don't judge just yet. Where this album really shines is when these elements allow Judas Priest to--I don't want to say "transcend"--but, to effectively "break through" the typical boundaries of metal to create some fantastic music. Instead of straightforward, instant, head-bashing gratification, these songs provide a powerful experience that benefits from your full attention. As examples, songs like "New Beginnings" and "Alone" actually have emotional backbone, while others like "Revelations", and "Conquest", and "Nostradamus" sound more epic. "Visions" is great with minimal production as well.

I strongly suggest that you don't listen to the album in order, however. One thing that holds this album back is the way the songs are arranged. While making sense plot-wise, musically... not so much. If you're like me you'll be bored before Act 2 even begins. By playing Nostradamus on random you get a more even mix of rock song and ballad.

In conclusion, this is a huge step forward for Judas Priest's sound in general, but it leaves much to desire in the metal department, which is somewhat disappointing considering Halford and co. are the "Gods of Metal" and all.

Paddlenround

An achievement!

It is not often that a band can exercise its creativity and break the mold they have created for themselves. Here we see a rock band whose name in Heavy Metal is recorded as one of the greats. Judas Priest are the stuff of legend. Yet, they have a formula. They make records with songs....until now.

"Nostradamus" breaks the mold Priest has forged over the years yet still retaining their signature sound. It is an epic two disc adventure collection that seemlessly blends from one track to another all exploring the story of the famous soothsayer. The story is unimportant. The artwork is unimportant. What is important is we have an amazing musical adventure done well and done with art.

Sure..some Priest purists will hate this. Sure...some critics will call this contrived or an attempt at legitimacy. In the end, this is about musicians getting together to create music. Judas Priest have given us a lot of great rock over the years and now the are giving us a musical accomplishment.

This is a worthy buy on so many levels. If you like good rock played by masters, you cannot go wrong. If you want to hear an exploration of how to take a musical theme to the next level, this is for you. It is not perfect but it is very very good.

Do not buy this to hear Rob Halford and his famous falsetto. He sings here and his voice is silky and well suited to the music. His scream sees very little time. This is not the same sound as that 80's sound and that is a good thing!

About Judas Priest

Judas Priest were one of the most influential heavy metal bands of the '70s, spearheading the New Wave of British Heavy Metal late in the decade. Decked out in leather and chains, the band fused the gothic doom of Black Sabbath with the riffs and speed of Led Zeppelin, as well as adding a vicious two-lead guitar attack; in doing so, they set the pace for much popular heavy metal from 1975 until 1985, as well as laying the groundwork for the speed and death metal of the '80s.

Formed in Birmingham, England, in 1970, the group's core members were guitarist K.K. Downing and bassist Ian Hill. Joined by Alan Atkins and drummer John Ellis, the band played their first concert in 1971. Atkins' previous band was called Judas Priest, yet the members decided it was the best name for the new group. The band played numerous shows throughout 1971; during the year, Ellis was replaced by Alan Moore; by the end of the year, Chris Campbell replaced Moore. After a solid year of touring the U.K., Atkins and Campbell left the band in 1973 and were replaced by vocalist Rob Halford and drummer John Hinch. They continued touring, including a visit to Germany and the Netherlands in 1974. By the time the tour was completed, they had secured a record contract with Gull, an independent U.K. label. Before recording their debut album, Judas Priest added guitarist Glenn Tipton.

Rocka Rolla was released in September of 1974 to almost no attention. The following year, they gave a well-received performance at the Reading Festival and Hinch departed the band; he was replaced by Alan Moore. Later that year, the group released Sad Wings of Destiny, which earned some positive reviews. However, the lack of sales was putting the band in a dire financial situation, which was remedied by an international contract with CBS Records. Sin After Sin (1977) was the first album released under that contract; it was recorded with Simon Phillips, who replaced Moore. The record received positive reviews and the band departed for their first American tour, with Les Binks on drums.

When they returned to England, Judas Priest recorded 1978's Stained Class, the record that established them as an international force in metal. Along with 1979's Hell Bent for Leather (Killing Machine in the U.K.), Stained Class defined the nascent New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. A significant number of bands adopted Priest's leather-clad image and hard, driving sound, making their music harder, faster, and louder. After releasing Hell Bent for Leather, the band recorded the live album Unleashed in the East (1979) in Japan; it became their first platinum album in America. Les Binks left the band in 1979; he was replaced by former Trapeze drummer Dave Holland. Their next album, 1980's British Steel, entered the British charts at number three, launched the hit singles "Breaking the Law" and "Living After Midnight," and was their second American platinum record; Point of Entry, released the following year, was nearly as successful.

At the beginning of the '80s, Judas Priest was a top concert attraction around the world, in addition to being a best-selling recording artist. Featuring the hit single "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," Screaming for Vengeance (1982) marked the height of their popularity, peaking at number 17 in America and selling over a million copies. Two years later, Defenders of the Faith nearly matched its predecessor's performance, yet metal tastes were beginning to change, as Metallica and other speed/thrash metal groups started to grow in popularity. That shift was evident on 1986's Turbo, where Judas Priest seemed out of touch with current trends; nevertheless, the record sold over a million copies in America on the basis of name recognition alone. However, 1987's Priest...Live! was their first album since Stained Class not to go gold. Ram It Down (1988) was a return to raw metal and returned the group to gold status. Dave Holland left after this record and was replaced by Scott Travis for 1990's Painkiller. Like Ram It Down, Painkiller didn't make an impact outside the band's die-hard fans, yet the group was still a popular concert act.

In the early '90s, Rob Halford began his own thrash band, Fight, and soon left Judas Priest. In 1996, following a solo album by Glenn Tipton, the band rebounded with a new young singer, Tim "Ripper" Owens (formerly a member of a Priest tribute band and of Winter's Bane). They spent the next year recording Jugulator amidst much self-perpetuated hype concerning Priest's return to their roots. The album debuted at number 82 on the Billboard album charts upon its release in late 1997. Halford had by then disbanded Fight following a decrease in interest and signed with Trent Reznor's Nothing label with a new project, Two. In the meantime, the remaining members of Judas Priest forged on with '98 Live Meltdown, a live set recorded during their inaugural tour with Ripper on the mike. Around the same time, a movie was readying production to be based on Ripper's rags-to-riches story of how he got to front his all-time favorite band. Although Priest was originally supposed to be involved with the film, they ultimately pulled out, but production went on anyway without the band's blessing (the movie, Rock Star, was eventually released in the summer of 2001, starring Mark Wahlberg in the lead role). Rob Halford in the meantime disbanded Two after just a single album, 1997's Voyeurs, and returned back to his metal roots with a quintet simply named Halford. The group issued its debut in 2000, Resurrection, following it with a worldwide tour that saw the new group open up Iron Maiden's Brave New World U.S. tour, and issue a live set one year later (which included a healthy helping of Priest classics) -- Live Insurrection.

In 2001 the Ripper-led Priest issued a new album, Demolition, and Priest's entire back catalog for Columbia was reissued with remastered sound and bonus tracks. In 2003 the band -- including Halford -- collaborated on the liner notes and song selections for their mammoth career-encompassing box Metalogy, a collaboration that brought Halford back into the fold. Owens split from the group amicably in 2003, allowing the newly reunited heavy metal legends to plan their global live concert tour in 2004, with their sixteenth studio album, Angel of Retribution, to be released the following year. In 2008 the band released Nostradamus, a sprawling, two-disc conceptual piece that charted the life and times of the famous French seer. On December 7, 2010, Priest broke the news that their upcoming Epitaph world tour would be their last. The following month, however, they clarified that they were not disbanding, announcing that they were working on new material. Before the tour began, founding member Downing left the band over differences with the other members and their management; he was replaced by Richie Faulkner.

Priest worked on their new album during the tour, which ran until 2012. The album's release was delayed several times, but it was eventually announced that it would see the light of day in July 2014. Entitled Redeemer of Souls, it was described by Priest as a traditional, crowd-pleasing return to their roots, and went on to become the group's first Top Ten album in the U.S., landing at the number six slot on the Billboard 200 chart. A lengthy tour followed, and in early 2016 Priest issued the concert album/DVD/Blu-ray Battle Cry, which featured highlights from their August 1, 2015 performance at Germany's Wacken Festival.

Judas Priest began loosely demoing ideas for a studio album in 2016, but didn't enter the studio as a band until a year later. It wasn't until January of 2018 that they announced to the press and social media that they'd completed Firepower, their 18th studio album. They revisited their original, organic way of recording, with the entire band playing together at the same time in the studio. They underscored this by enlisting producers Tom Allom -- who worked on all of the band's records from 1979 through 1988 -- and Grammy-winning veteran Andy Sneap. In a press release, Halford explained, "Tom Allom has got this classic metal thing, and Andy is a bit more of a 'modern metal producer'," adding, "I think to get this balance between that classic old-school metal to what Andy's world is was just a remarkable coalescence."

In January of 2018, the band announced the March release of Firepower with a teaser video for the single "Lightning Strikes" and news of a forthcoming world tour. In February, guitarist Tipton -- diagnosed with Parkinson's disease a decade earlier -- announced that it had progressed to the point where he had to retire from touring. Sneap would fill his slot on the road. Former guitarist K.K. Downing, who claimed he was shocked that he wasn't asked to replace Tipton on tour, asserted in public that "Sneap's role was actually much more than as a producer on Firepower" -- i.e., he actually played Tipton's parts on the album. Halford took to the media to respond, saying that "everything that you hear from Glenn on Firepower is the amazing Glenn Tipton." He called Downing's accusation "completely superfluous" and "a thousand percent false." On March 2, Judas Priest released the lyric video for second single "Never the Heroes." Firepower was issued on March 9. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato

ORIGIN
Birmingham, England
GENRE
Metal
FORMED
1969

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