Album Review

Judas Priest - Redeemer of Souls

Released July 11, 2014
Steve Allanson
Redeemer of Souls is the SEVENTEENTH studio album from the veteran, English heavy metal band, Judas Priest. It’s their first album without their founding guitarist K.K. Downing. I’m not entirely sure if the presence of Downing would have improved this album at all, as it is a complete, and lazy mess.

The thirteen-track album starts off somewhat promising with songs like, “Dragonaut,” “Redeemer of Souls,” “Halls of Valhalla,” and “Sword of Damocles,” but none of them have strong replay value. The mythological themes presented in previous albums are still felt on this album at times, but their attempt to blend the sounds of the Painkiller and British Steel albums falls short and just creates an album that if you didn’t know who Judas Priest was, you’d think they’re a new band still trying to discover their sound.

The production value of Redeemer of Souls is between decent and atrocious. It’s as if Mike Exeter and Glenn Tipton got lazy halfway through the production of the album. Tracks like “Hell & Back” could have been promising if it didn’t sound like it was recorded in my basement with a “Rock Band” microphone.

On top of the production value, it appears that drummer, Scott Travis, got lazy during recording and said, "Fuck it, just program the drums." This could be, once again, a problem with the poor production and mastering. In certain songs the drums sound fake. Plus, if they did use programmed drums in parts of the album, I’d only assume it was influenced by Rob Halford’s participation with Five Finger Death Punch’s last album.

“Crossfire” and “Secrets of the Dead” bring a newer sound, somewhat reminiscent of the British Steel album; if the British Steel album was terrible. “Crossfire” really confuses the hell out of you with its repetitive Blues leads and poorly produced sounds. “Secrets of the Dead” sounds as if they decided more than halfway through the album that they wanted to sound like Black Sabbath. The track is very slow and doomy and Halford’s vocals reminded me so much of Ozzy’s that I had to double-check the album to make sure he wasn’t guest vocaling.

After a mess of poorly mixed songs Redeemer of Souls actually redeems itself with two solid tracks: “Battle Cry” and “Beginning of The End.” Still, neither of them have much playback value, but are the best songs on the album. Track twelve, “Battle Cry” finally speeds the album back up to Painkiller standards as well as offering the trademark face-melting solos we all loved Judas Priest for in earlier albums. Oddly enough, after giving us a head banger like “Battle Cry” the album closes with the slow, yet powerful track “Beginning of The End.”

Redeemer of Souls has its high-points but gives you absolutely no reason to come back. The tracks that have any promise get overshadowed by lazy and lackluster production value. There are some catchy parts and some masterful shredding, but be prepared to keep this one on your shelf for a long time.