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“We’re changing the image,” Judas Priest’s Rob Halford told Creem Magazine in 1986. They didn’t. They haven’t. Judas Priest may not have pioneered the leather studded, whiskey guzzling and motorbike riding image of heavy metal, but they’ve sure as hell owned it.
For those not plugged in the venerable outfit have been on ice for the last few years, but in 2018 they return. Again, they’re casting the fantasy spell of metal with new album Firepower. This eighteenth studio effort comes self-described as “fourteen tracks of pure and highly inspired metal.”
We’re not entirely what ‘highly inspired’ could mean but ahead of this latest record the Priests have given fans a taste of what’s to come with a new video clip and track titled ‘Lightning Strike’. This new number is an energy rush to be sure, replete with pummelling rhythm and way-over-the-top guitar lines. It may be a lesson in classicism, but Judas Priest aren’t taking things half-measure.
Also of note is they’re pairing with producer Tom Allom who worked alongside the band from ‘79 to ’88. With Allom the group cut a series of recordings which many consider to be their most definitive albums. But this time around Tom’s also sharing duties with another luminary metal recordist Andy Sneap.
It seems that the alchemy between the two generations of iconic producers has gotten the band more than a little excited. “Tom Allom has got this classic metal thing,” Halford enthuses in Firepower’s accompanying press release. “And Andy is a bit more of a ‘modern metal producer’ but his thinking is a little bit different to Tom’s. And I think to get this balance between that classic old school metal to what Andy’s world is was just a remarkable coalescence.”
The verdict’s still out on the album, but as far as ‘Lightning’ goes these guys aren’t missing a beat. Firepower will be dropping Friday, March 19 via Sony Music Australia. You can pre-order the album on CD or limited edition vinyl at JB HIFI here or digitally via iTunes here.
FIREPOWER TRACK LISTING:
02. Lightning Strike
03. Evil Never Dies
04. Never The Heroes
06. Children of the Sun
08. Rising From Ruins
09. Flame Thrower
11. Traitors Gate
12. No Surrender
13. Lone Wolf
14. Sea of Red