Published Jul 08, 2014From the very opening of "Dragonaut," it's hard to hear Redeemer of Souls as anything less than a triumphant celebration. It can be stated without hyperbole that Judas Priest occupy a peerless position of influence and reverence in the metal genre, with a rock-solid and immediately identifiable aesthetic that has now thrived for 17 studio albums and 40 years. However, only a few years ago, it seemed that the deeply beloved band might be teetering at the edge of its own twilight; after the release of Nostradamus in 2008 and the subsequent departure and retirement of founding guitar player K. K. Downing, it seemed that Judas Priest might slip into oblivion after the Epitaph tour. But it was not to be; with the addition of Richie Faulkner on guitar and a fresh surge of energy and enthusiasm, the band is not only back from the brink, but positively slaying.
Unlike the conceptual rock opera project that was Nostradamus, Redeemer of Souls is pure metal joy, full of surging anthems, martial stomps, unbridled passion and huge, crunchy production values. "Sword of Damocles" is carried along on a tide of power metal vitality, and the riffing on "March of the Damned" is a thing to behold. With so many of the old gods tumbling down, there's something deeply comforting in knowing that Judas Priest still reign. (Epic)