JUDAS PRIEST — Invincible Shield (review)

JUDAS PRIEST — Invincible Shield album cover Album · 2024 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
The living heavy metal legends known as JUDAS PRIEST very well may be the longest running metal band in existence having formed in 1970 and never taking a leave of absence for all 54 years and has been unleashing one classic metal album after another. True that a few members such as K.K. Downing have gone by the wayside over the years and lead singer Rob Halford took a brief respite after “Painkiller” but ultimately upon his return in 2005 with “Angel of Retribution,” JUDAS PRIEST has been back and stronger than ever despite a few failed forays into experimental albums such as “Nostradamus” which weren’t exactly crowd pleasers but did offer an intriguing insight into the band’s more explorative nature.

It goes without saying that JUDAS PRIEST fans are headbangers and if these guys want to dabble in psychedelic prog indie rock with polka and Tuvan throat singing then they’d sure as hell better indulge those fantasies under a different band name. Luckily the band got the memo that they lost their true calling and with 2018’s “Firepower” the mighty PRIEST returned to what it does best and that is crank out anthemic arena quality heavy metal, the sound that put the entire metal world on the map in the first place. Well the metal royalty has returned six years after “Firepower” with a brand spankin’ new slab of molten metal ready to deliver the classic JUDAS PRIET goods.

INVINCIBLE SHIELD is the 19th studio album coming out exactly 50 years after its debut “Rock Rolla” hit the scene in 1974! Now THAT’S longevity and what’s even more amazing is that these guys sound more on fire than they did on that debut album that emerged a half century ago! Yes, it’s true! These guys sound exactly as they did in the 80s with razor-sharp dueling guitar attacks, a thundering bass and drum attack and of course the imitable metal god vocal prowess of none other than Rob Halford whose decades of shrieking and tearing it up at the mic has not taken a toll on his distinct singing style. Following very much in the footsteps of “FIrepower,” INVINCIBLE SHIELD does what most classic 80s albums offered and that includes: delivery exactly what the fans expect only change things up just enough to keep the album from sounding like the leftover tracks of the previous album.

It’s hard to believe that after all this time when metal has expanded into countless subgenres ranging from death metal and black metal to bizarre freaky hybrids such as trance metal and the J-pop induced Kawaii metal that JUDAS PRIEST would still be relevant in 2024 but the band has always offered such quality musical performances and in tandem with Iron Maiden is the old guard keeping the thundering heavy metal of yore going strong so many decades after its initial ascent to the throne of heavy music and while INVINCIBLE SHIELD hardly reinvents the wheel or offers a new direction for the band, what it does demonstrate is that JUDAS PRIEST is and still remains the master of this feisty in-yer-face classic heavy metal sound that even the younger generations seem to love when done as authentically and brilliantly as this classic slice of metal history in modern times.

Eschewing any excess experimentation and focusing on the heavy metal thunder of their legendary status, PRIEST is back with a aural assault of 11 tracks and an extra 3 bonus tracks on deluxe editions. Generating a frothing frenzy with the early release of the single “Panic Attack,” JP generated a visceral response that offered both a sense of disbelief that a bunch of guys in their 60s and 70s can still be cranking out such energetic metal as well as a sense of nostalgia for all the longterm fans who have been with them since the old days. Well INVINCIBLE SHIELD will not disappoint any classic PRIEST fans as the album gives the rabid headbangers exactly what they were hoping for in unadulterated classic PRIEST form. And like its predecessor “Firepower,” there may be no surprises lurking here but the consistency of the tracks will assuage the restless souls of diehard classic PRIEST fans.

Overall another great album in classic 80s heavy metal style from the masters of molten metal and living legends JUDAS PRIEST. Every member is firing on all pistons. The twin guitar attacks are up to snuff with all those addictive guitar sweeps and incessant groove pounding as well as the stellar bass and percussive rhythm section. The tracks are all instantly hook-laden and the classic variations of intros, outros, songwriting and contrast between segments reigns supreme. On top of that Rob Halford has lost none of his brash bravado and can still sing like a muthafucker hitting all the high notes and sounding like he’s at the top of his game, something that many singers cannot retain in their 70s.

If nothing else JUDAS PRIEST symbolizes the longevity of the heavy metal music paradigm because after all when the band was attacked in the 1980s by the religious zealots as inspiring suicide and Satanic worship, the consensus was that metal music was just a fad for the immature adolescents and that it would soon fade to oblivion. However after countless witch hunts and accusations of every possible path to the devil himself, JUDAS PRIEST has sallied forth throughout the decades without flinching. And to top it off it seems that the band are in no danger of slowing down any time soon. Could these guys become the very first centurial metal band? Only time will tell! So wrong the naysayers have been and so strong JUDAS PRIEST has become in keeping the flame alive of the old metal ways! All hail the PRIEST!
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Psydye wrote:
36 days ago
Agreed! :D
Pekka wrote:
37 days ago
Firepower was a real surprise and a pretty damn good album, but this one is even better.

siLLy puPPy wrote:
38 days ago
I loved Firepower too but this one has more going on. It's a huge comeback hit for them.
Nightfly wrote:
39 days ago
Loving this album.


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