Monday, June 23, 2008

Judas Priest-Nostradamus


There are so many ways I could approach this review. I could state that it has been 18 years since Priest have done a good album and that this streak will now continue on. Perhaps I could equate this album to feeling very hungry and then opening a refrigerator full of food that is all of the food is rotten and moldy. Or I could say that I didn't have to be Nostradamus to predict that this album was going to be poor. None of those really tell enough about what did or didn't happen on this album though. I should be judging this as a Priest album and I did, but I couldn't help but think about Iron Maiden while listening to this release. Maiden and Priest were arguably the two best metal bands of the 1980's yet now Maiden can do something like 2006's "A matter of life and death" which is full of epics and all of them work. Priest set out to do this two disc set filled with epics and quite honestly virtually nothing works on this album. So why is that? Well, I think it's because Maiden have long been about building their songwriting skills and adding on thus epics have become a natural progression for them. Priest had some tracks like "The Sentinel" and "Victim of changes" that were not epics per se, but they certainly use a certain amount of storytelling elements and they do it well. However these were exceptions because Priest were primarily about go for the throat metal rockers and that's what worked for them. That doesn't mean they can't grow, but you have to know your limitations or else you end up with two discs full of boring crud and some of the worst written material of the year. I thought Halford and Tipton were talking back around 1987-1988 about realizing that they shouldn't have used synthesizers of Turbo because it wasn't metal and it wasn't them. So why are they using synths again? I have no idea, but they overuse them and they serve to bore me to tears and lose my attention before the vocals or the main guitar riffs actually kick. I wasn't too big on "Angel of retribution" because I felt that it seemed forced yet Nostradamus is even less of a real Judas Priest album. That's sad because this band was so steady from the mid-1970's until the mid-1980's and it's shame to realize that they may not have another good album left in them. Just about every song just meanders around eating up time, but making no impression and largely feeling more like background music or bad horror movie theme songs. Like many fans I thought that when Halford returned to the fold that they would get back to form, but that hasn't happened. Honestly everything Halford did when he was out of Priest was at least good yet not that he is back in this band they can't seem to even get a spark going. I can't quite understand it and don't want to believe it, but unfortunately Judas Priest appear to have spent a long time making a real clunker.

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Blogger bob_vinyl said...

What do we expect from a band that had so completely abandoned true creativity years ago by hiring a guy who they found in a tribute band trying to sound just like Halford? I don't think we needed the gift of clairvoyance to see that the tank is empty for them as a unit.

To be fair, I haven't heard it, but the last album was pretty dull and when that's combined with a really stupid and clichéd concept like Nostramdamus, only disaster can follow. You don't have to predict the future to see the end of a great metal band, because it seems that it's happening now.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Jenn Doll said...

Sadly, I didn't even know they had a new release and now, I don't care to hear what it's got going on!

12:22 AM  
Blogger BeckEye said...

Hm, where have I been...I didn't even know Halford was back in the band.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Rhodeislandrock said...

I bought the album and I've listened to it extensively over the last week or so and I like it but I've needed to weed thru everything because it's a long listen and keeping focus for almost 2 hours is hard with all the musical interludes.

I guess I'm saying it's hit and miss and a grower.

The other thing I've noticed is that a lot of people are bagging on the band for trying a concept and making it so long. I wasn't sold on the Nostradamus concept but it's not the worst idea to come down the pike (listen to Mindcrime 2). I think the problem is as Mark stated in his review: most people are used to Priest being a "go for the throat" band with powerful riffs and hooks. Even though they had a few "epics", they aren't seasoned vets at it like Maiden.

I'm going to give Nostradamus a critical review next week but only after some serious listening time. I think there is a lot to like about the album but there are some problems as well.

BTW, Priest has continued to use synth guitars since Turbo. Listen to every album since and there is experimentation with them throughout, especially on Ram It Down and Angel Of Retribution. I can handle the synth guitars in moderation.

Heavy Metal Addiction

11:57 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Bob-I agree.

Jenn-You are not missing out on anything.

Beckeye-Well, it hasn't helped any.

Saying the concept idea here isn't as bad as Queensryche's Mindcrime 2 is like saying puke doesn't stink as bad as shit.
They have used synths outside of Turbo I know, but they didn't use them in moderation on the new album. This album just a big mess and it's due to very poor writing. It lacks any real hooks, style or power. Add onto that the fact that Halford doesn't ever really reach out with his voice and the horrible concept idea and you have a great big stinker on your hands.

This is Spinal Tap type material, there is no doubt it's that cliched and utterly rotten. Unfortunately it's just very sad it had to happen to one of metal once greatest and most influential acts.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Hard Rock Hideout said...

I love Judas Priest, and I have been hesitating to review this, hoping successive listens would change my mind. So far, it has not.

I am having a really hard time with Nostradamus.

Rob Rockitt
Hard Rock Hideout

4:33 PM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I at least went as high as 3.5 out of 5, but certainly this one's gonna alienate a ton of fans... I kept thinking of "Touch of Evil" with the synths comment, but whatever... At least your comment about Maiden maintaining flight (and everyone forgets that Brave New World and Game of Death aren't sloucher albums either) is on-point.

The biggest point about this album is that nobody who are Priest fans want to hear high art; they just wanna rock, period, the end.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

HRH-I can understand that.

Ray-It's going to alienate anyone who wants to hear solid metal and not some joke that's an insult to the fans and the band's once great legacy.

How high art is it to hide behide layers of emotionless guitar synths and some of the cheesiest lyrics this band has done? Seriously, when Halford started in on the "I am Nostramadus" lines I thought it was like some bad spoof that would be on an episode of the Simpsons. Only Priest tried to take this for real. Very sad.

Dont' blame the fans for wanting the real Priest, blame the band for putting out a two disc turd-a-thon and pretending it's some great accomplishment.

11:29 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

I haven't heard it yet (and I may never), but my money's on Metal Mark with this one. Before it even came out, everything pointed to it being a joke.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are pro-maiden or something and you obviously don't know what you are talking about. This album is a musical masterpiece. Multilayered, engaging, colourfoul and passionate another chapter in the Priest metal works book.

If you haven't heard it then shut up and don't judge it. Geez.

5:57 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Pro-Maiden? I'm for good metal which the new Priest unfortunately is not in any way shape or form.

Musical masterpiece? It fails on almost on almost every level.

Multilayered? You're kidding, right? Just because it's long doesn't mean they are doing a lot. It's doesn't do enough of anything except sound stale.

Engaging? One of the most dull albums of the year. They meander around doing very little.

Colorful? Please, they had three years to work on this and it's adouble dose or very boring pulp.

Passionate? It lacks any soul whatsoever. They choose a concept, set their sites on doing two discs and then filled it with some of the most lackluster dribble that has been created by a normally good band.

I have heard it several times and I judge it to be one of the four worst albums of 2008 so far.

6:44 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

You can't take anonymous comments too seriously. They aren't committed enough to their stupid opinion to even leave a name.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Kwaj Fish said...

Those are some pretty harsh words for JP's new effort. I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive via mail. Perhaps it was not money well spent? Then again, at least I did not go for the deluxe edition.

12:40 AM  

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