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(Review) Judas Priest: Invincible Shield (Deluxe Edition)

As a child growing up in the 1980's, I can still remember the older kids who smoked out back behind the high school gymnasium.  They wore jean jackets covered in patches with names of heavy metal groups.  You knew they were tough, because these were the guys who listened to AC/DC, Ozzy, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Judas Priest and the like.  Meanwhile, I was just beginning to figure out my musical tastes, which initially ran more to the likes of Van Halen, Phil Collins, and Billy Joel.  There would be no jean jacket for me.

As time went on, my preferences evolved, and acts like AC/DC, Ozzy, and Metallica worked their way into the playlist.  However, even as my tastes expanded, Judas Priest never really grabbed me like the others.  I thought they were fine, but I only really knew the hits, followed Rob Halford's departure from the band in 1992 a little, and then his return in 2003, but they still never struck the same chord.  To each their own.

Fast-forward to late last year, and news comes out about Judas Priest releasing a new album, called Invincible Shield in March.  New music, some 50 years after their first record (and six years since their last release)?  What were the odds that this group of mostly 60 and 70-somethings could still deliver the goods?  That seemed unlikely at best, but then the singles started coming out, and friends, I stand corrected.  A half-century after their debut, Judas Priest has delivered another heavy metal album for the ages.

Produced by Priest touring guitarist Andy Sneap, Invincible Shield (Deluxe Edition) offers 14 tracks of blazing metal that will hold your attention right from the start.  "Panic Attack" is a terrific opening track, because it sounds like the start of a Priest concert.  It's exciting, it's ominous, and it's a terrific sign of what's to come.  The band immediately establishes that they are as tight as ever, and "The Metal God" Rob Halford is still in peak form, howling his way through this number.

The band grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go for the rest of the record.  Guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner shred their way through each song, while bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis lock in the bottom end.  Every track is sharp, with a small drop in tempo in the middle third of the record to let you catch your breath a bit before the frantic pace resumes.  Meanwhile, Halford touches on a variety of subjects, including politics, religion, and love.

Invincible Shield has an impressively clean and tight sound.  These songs could just as easily have been hits in the 1970's or 80's as well as today.  If you didn't know who it was, you'd never imagine how long these guys have been at this, when you hear the pounding aggression.  That energy makes this a perfect mix for your next trip to the gym.

Personal favorites are "Panic Attack," "Gates of Hell," "Crown of Horns," and "Trial by Fire," but the entire album is a win.  The bonus tracks are also mostly strong.  (It's not clear that "The Lodger" had to be included, but hey, one miss out of 14 songs is still impressive.)

Judas Priest confirms that heavy metal is alive and well.  If you're a fan of the band, genre, or just like adrenaline-pumping music, you'll want to get your own copy of Invincible Shield (Deluxe Edition.)  Highly recommended.


Judas Priest Invincible Shield Cover ArtHeavy metal at its best.  (pic via





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