Thursday, January 28, 2010
JUDAS PRIEST "PAINKILLER" (Columbia)
Every great metal riff was written by either Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. It's an indisputable fact. Everything that exists now, every genre of metal gracing the planet past, present or future, owes its entire existence to one of those three bands. The only real reason for me reviewing this record is to tell you that it's awesome and you should own it. Because it is, and you should. Some further elucidation: this album was released in 1990 and was a tremendous reinvention for Judas Priest. A few years behind the birth of thrash metal Priest doubtless felt the need to compete in order to stay relevant; stupid, yeah, but when your back's against the wall it's amazing how focused you become and what you find yourself capable of. This is the ultimate power metal album-every riff is a fucking destroyer and they're all fast as shit. It's as melodic as Maiden could hope and as frenzied as Slayer hotwired on crack. Just listen to the opening drum fill on the title track and tell me that shit isn't levelling in the best possible way. This album is merciless in its true dedication to the undying spirit of METAL. Every cliche is exploited for maximum effect, even the cliches that Priest themselves authored and the only feeling throughout is one of deathly seriousness. This was a band with something to prove in 1990-that metal was timeless and born of the earth, that the ideals behind the music were as true today as they were in 1970. Every track here rocks. There is not a dull minute. From the 100 or so guitar solos that trade off during "Painkiller" to the double bass ridiculousness of "Metal Meltdown", from the almost-silly tale of Lovecraftian terror and all out melodic shredfest of "Night Crawler" to the bombastic reverb laden death stomp of the crushing "A Touch of Evil", this is a metal fucking masterpiece. Shitty nostalgic metal revivial bands try to replicate this sound today but they can't because they're seeing it through a prism of irony and a dream of easily moving units-there's no honest belief in the power that this music has. And it is powerful. You would do well to kneel before the twin axes of K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton, and you'd be even better advised to pay some sort of tribute to the godly Rob Halford, because they made this kingdom, this massive metal landscape built out of blood and sweat and years of toil and dedication. This is true metal art and it is peerless.