JUDAS PRIEST — Painkiller (review)

JUDAS PRIEST — Painkiller album cover Album · 1990 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
The twelfth Judas Priest album Painkiller, released in 1990, marked the end of an era (at least for a time) for the band. It was the last album they'd put out for seven years and afterwards singer Rob Halford left the band. In hindsight this could well have been the last Judas Priest album. In my opinion even though they've managed to put out a further five albums in the years since (two with replacement singer Tim Ripper Owens), this is also the last truly great Judas Priest record. Painkiller is a fan favourite, something not many artists can say about their twelfth album. Yet the oddest thing about Painkiller is that it's actually one of the oddities of Judas Priest's seventeen album discography. Judas Priest are a heavy metal band, but Painkiller is Judas Priest's only power metal album. Some (or perhaps most) might like to refute that statement (it's Judas Priest so it's got to be heavy metal right? - wrong) and I have to admit, this is very old school sounding power metal (but consider this, (Euro) power metal technically wasn't that old in 1990), and maybe it wasn't called power metal at the time (I couldn't tell you either way, as I was 4 in 1990) but I like to think that I've heard enough power metal bands of all shapes and sizes in my 28 years to recognise a power metal album when I hear one. And I certainly hear one when I listen to Painkiller.

Of course Ram it Down did offer a sneak peek of what was about to be unleashed on Painkiller, notably with the song Hard as Iron, but I don't think anyone could have expected the band to produce such a career defining album that even eclipsed early favourites like Sad Wings of Destiny and Stained Class in 1990. K. K. Downing and Glenn Tipton deliver fast riffs against new drummer Scott Travis's impressive drumming while Rob Halford delivers what is, in my opinion, the vocal performance of his career. Lyrically Painkiller is actually a bit, well, silly if you know what I mean, but man Rob is in his element screaming his head off on the title track. It's a Judas Priest album with no bad track (there are usually one or two on even their best albums are aren't quite as good in my opinion) and it's also their most in your face metal release. While the title track will always be the absolute must hear from the album, Leather Rebel, All Guns Blazing, Metal Meltdown, Night Crawler and One Shot at Glory are all equally good, with the rest of the album only a marginal step behind.

Should twelfth albums really be this good? Should band's best records really be so different to their established style? Probably not on both counts, but these leather rebels did it, giving fans a metal meltdown with all guitars blazing. You can't stop the Painkiller. An oddity in their discography for sure, but also the best Judas Priest album, easily.

Attribution: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/judas-priest-painkiller-t3832.html
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more than 2 years ago
666sharon666 has the right to describe this album as a power metal album in her review regardless what your opinion is.
more than 2 years ago
It's not a power metal album!
666sharon666 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
@Unitron, no, I'm not a major fan of Nostradamus. It's always seemed a bit drawn out and full of filler to me. It's not a bad album by any means but I'd still rank it bottom end of their stuff with Demolition, Turbo and Point of Entry.
adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Judas Priest were a band I ignored (or some reason) for a long time. It only took one listen to this one to convert me though. I definitely agree that this is their best.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
The pain must DIE!!!!
more than 2 years ago
Love it.
Wish Gamma Ray or Machinehead would cover "One Shot at Glory"

Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Nice review, Painkiller is also my favorite along with Nostradamus. Unfortunately, not many people like Nostradamus.
bartosso wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Nice review. It's my first metal album, still have the cassette I got from my cousin when I was 10 or so. I haven't listened to it in ages! It was released the same year I was born ^^


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