Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Judas Priest Delivers!

All it took was about three seconds into the evening’s opener, “Rapid Fire.” That was all it took before a massively huge smile worked its way onto my face. Three days later and I’m still in awe, Judas Priest is Heavy Metal.

The band was in the middle of a tour celebrating their seminal ‘British Steel’ album and by playing said LP in its entirety they celebrated in style. Over the past few years it seems like the ‘band performing an entire album’ thing has either been a smash success or a case of biting off more than they can chew. I’ve seen my share of both and think Judas Priest fucking nailed it!

What impressed me the most was, like the album itself, the evening was a crash course in everything Heavy Metal. ‘British Steel’ as you know features fast songs, melodic songs, anthems and more genre defining riffs and screams than you can shake a stick at. These elements brought forth live? In a word it was perfect.

The band (Vocalist Rob Halford, guitarists KK Downing and Glen Tipton, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis) were in top form throughout the nearly hour and a half performance, they didn’t waste time, they didn’t wander they did not stray, they delivered a heads down Heavy Metal attack of the highest order! Halford was in top form, he was more mobile than I’ve seen him in years and the intensity he performed with was unreal!

During the show I started to mentally come down on Heaven and Hell/Sabbath. Why? Well at first I was so into ‘The Devil You Know’, I really thought it was the long lost Sabbath classic-in-the-making. A few months on, I cannot even stand to listen to it. Maybe this will change, but I doubt it.

The thing that got me disappointed was the fact that there are no upbeat/uptempo tracks, it’s all mid paced and while I love that style, twelve songs all the same tempo makes for a dull as hell record.

Watching Judas Priest, soon to be in their 40th year as a group, slay and annihilate was like a light went off in my head. These guys understand that Heavy Metal still needs to have some fast moments. Speed is still a part of the equation, Sabbath seem to have forgotten this. Sure we’re comparing apples to oranges with ‘British Steel’ and a 2009 released Sabbath record, but I think you understand what I mean.

Whitesnake opened the show and were a total disappointment. I've been a fan of the band since around 1984 and fully realize that era of the band is dead and gone, but the 'Snake pretty much blew! Yeah, we got "Slow And Easy", "Love Ain't No Stranger" and "Crying In The Rain" but they were all modernized and weak and I could not wait for them to be done!