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Judas PriestInvincible Shield

6th March, 2024
Priest is Life

Nineteen albums down? You would think Metal Gods Judas Priest would be waltzing their way out of the scene conducting nostalgia tours for the rest of their battle-jacketed lives.

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Judas Priest, one of the oldest and proudest institutions in heavy metal, are one of the rarest. They defined the genre in 1976’s Sad Wings of Destiny, redefined it in 1980’s British Steel, and re-invigorated metal with a hard-swallow Painkiller during the EDM/gangsta rap wilderness of 1990.

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Most bands of Priest’s vintage will produce one scene classic—two if they’re lucky. Ignited by the inclusion of wunderkind guitarist Richie Faulkner, 2018’s Firepower was another career landmark in a band already choc full of them. So how does follow-up Invincible Shield compare? Oh, it’s good alright.

Though opener Panic Attack gathers pace with ominous synths ala the Turbo era, Tipton and Faulkner unleash a battery of hard driving riffs, neo-classical licks, and our favourite Metal God Rob Halford’s heartstopping shrieks punctuating cheeky lyrical wordplay they’re renowned for. For Priest fans, you know this is going to be something special. The Serpent and the King could’ve been a lost Painkiller cut, bounding along like a freight train infused with arena-wide singalong choruses. What strikes this reviewer is their attention to detail and flourishes; Travis Scott’s drumming prowess as integral to the mix as anything on strings or larynx. Invincible Shield is the ultimate expression of Priest – strident guitars, unrelenting twin-lead attacks, guitar heroism worthy of a million medals, Halford singing about battles and invoking the blessing of spirits on high: “Priest is power / strength in union!” Six and a half minutes of trad-metal perfection.

Horns up, metalheads. Priest rides once again!

No Priest hallmark goes unpolished here, with producer Andy Sneap buffing it up with crisp yet dry production. We’re treated with bass heavy biker anthems (Devil In Disguise, Gates of Hell), Halford’s dramatic balladry coupled with the band’s sense of the cinematic and epic honed on a down-and-out Crown of Horns. They wink and nod to the Accept-style speed metal they helped create through As God as My Witness, and unleash a spiritual successor to Breakin’ The Law, a scrappy young lads against the world tale spun in Sons of Thunder replete with macho call-and-repeat chorus. Giants in the Sky, a fitting tribute to fellow fallen Gods Lemmy and Dio, thumps one right in the chest thanks to big ole bluesy riffs and doleful flamenco strings, and Halford’s soul lamenting, “If you only knew just how much you mean to me / and how your love gets me through the day / I’m not alone when you care / It’s someone who’s always there / You always do / Help me pull through / You’re never far away!” I’m not crying, you’re crying, shut up.


Is Invincible Shield as earth-shattering as its predecessor? Not quite. Does it live up to their legendary canon? Absolutely. It’s proof positive you can teach an old God new tricks, and then some. Horns up, metalheads. Priest rides once again!

STICK THIS NEXT TO: Iron Maiden, Saxon, Accept
STANDOUT TRACKS: Panic Attack, Invincible Shield, Giants in the Sky

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