JUDAS PRIEST — Painkiller (review)

JUDAS PRIEST — Painkiller album cover Album · 1990 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Phonebook Eater
9/10

The shape of Heavy Metal to come.

Judas Priest are one of the great Heavy Metal bands of all time, and they were so even before 1990. “Painkiller” then was the icing on the cake. One of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed albums by the band, this album represents a milestone in Heavy Metal music because of it’s broad influence it had on bands that followed.

“Painkiller” is definitely the heaviest, fastest, ground shaking album of the band: the drums are of a pounding nature, the guitars are beastly heavy and don’t hesitate in delivering chaotic, messy solos, for the most time perfectly executed. Halford’s screams have never sounded so sincere and ideal for the moment. The resulting music is a sort of Speed Metal sound, because of how relatively faster this album is compared to the other Judas Priest albums, where there was much more of a NWOBHM influence, especially the albums of the eighties.

With ten tracks Judas Priest bring together an amazingly solid album, full of fast moments; but they never sound the same one another, and there is a lot of variety between the melodies, and each song sounds different. Starting from the opening song, the title track: there is the perfect handful of potent rhythms, amazing drum section, chaotic guitars, and a perfect pitched Rob Halford; this track is now a milestone for Judas Priest fans and an immense Heavy Metal classic. The other tracks are not of lesser quality: “Metal Meltdown” is extremely catchy, yet strong and powerful in terms of sound, “All Guns Blazing” is probably the fiercest, most alarming track, while “Hell Patrol” and “Leather Rebel” have more traditionally paced rhythms and less shouted vocals. The second half of the album too presents great gems, like the emotionally daring “Touch Of Evil”, and “Night Crawler” and “Between The Hammer and The Anvil” are catchier, more melodic songs that still don’t loose the punch.

With such a bunch of tracks, “Painkiller” cannot be less than a masterpiece: a landmark album for Heavy Metal music, in particularly because of the shaping it did to a lot of the music to come.
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