After a supposed farewell tour a few years back, Judas Priest has replaced longtime guitarist K.K. Downing with young guitarman Richie Faulkner and developed a completely re-energized sound. As a result, Redeemer Of Souls might be one of the best Priest albums ever.
First off, the studio engineering is remarkable. Priest’s guitars sound ferocious, like having a wall of Engl Powerball II and Marshall amps in your living room. You can really hear the detail in these super-saturated tube stacks. Veteran axeman Glenn Tipton is still co-leading the band, but he gives young Faulkner tons of room to strut: Richie takes the blazing first lead in “Dragonaut” while Tipton delivers a baroque-style figure run.
Faulkner – who’s an admitted fan of Michael Schenker, Zakk Wylde, and Slash – cuts a bruising wah-wah solo in “March Of The Damned,” deftly balancing the blues and metal ideas. And “Down In Flames” delivers just about everything you’d want in a Judas Priest song: the riff, crunch, vocals, and a liquid-hot guitar solo to boot.
Bottom line: If your enthusiasm in metal has waned over the years, check this out. It’s an amazing re-boot of Judas Priest that could make you believe again.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s December ’14 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.