It is almost unnecessary to introduce Judas Priest. This British band has played a monumental role in the evolution of heavy metal, not just in the sound but also the culture surrounding it. I refuse to believe anyone reading this is not at least familiar with the name Judas Priest. No? You are a fucking liar and I know it. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Judas Priest, you could spend a few weeks listening to everything released between 1974 and 1984 and be pretty set with the band’s sound. “Breaking the Law” could be one of heavy metal’s most recognizable songs next to “War Pigs” and “Ace of Spades.” With such an importance comes careful attention to maintaining legacy through controlled, time released records.
Though Judas Priest will forever live in the realms of heavy metal legend, any band, despite their membership status should have new records evaluated with the same set of criteria as newer bands — well, as much as is reasonable. Evaluating aspects like technical skill and energy will be always be at the mercy of age. With that said, a new record from an older band should be rated on the merits of the music rather than the band’s history. This is why Iron Maiden has succeeded through the ages and bands like Black Sabbath have merely kept their head above water. With that said, Redeemer of Souls, the 17th record from Judas Priest, offers many things including a rekindling of faith for Priest fans but only momentary entertainment for everyone else.
Aside from the shallow first half of the record, Redeemer of Souls is an average hard rock / heavy metal album. This is actually decent from a band with so much time spent in the spotlight but comes nowhere close to their heyday. Compared to the band’s previous futuristic progressive understudy project Nostradamus, the sound is geared towards classic heavy metal, which has become a hallmark for the band. With that said, the sound on Redeemer of Souls is not breaking any new horizons that haven’t been explored by the band and countless imitators since the 1970’s. With even that said, it is hard not to crack a smile at the album’s singles “Dragonaut,” and “Redeemer of Souls” which contains all the elements of a classic Judas Priest hits and, understandably, is why they open the record. Other songs, however, including the majority of the record, are disappointingly forgettable and probably entertaining to most people.
Album: Redeemer of Souls
Released: July 11th, 2014
Label: Sony Music Entertainment
Score: 4/9 Hammers