REVIEW: Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls (2014 deluxe edition – Disc 2)

NEW RELEASE

Part 2 of 2: Yesterday I reviewed disc 1 of Redeemer of Souls.  Today, the bonus disc!

JUDAS PRIEST – Redeemer of Souls (2014 deluxe edition)

Sometimes a bonus CD is made up of obvious castaways.  Other times, such as with the most recent Black Sabbath album, the bonus disc contains some serious gems.  I don’t know why everybody wouldn’t just go and buy the “deluxe” editions to get the bonus CDs, relatively cheap as they are.   For whatever reason, deluxe editions with bonus CDs flood the stores today.  Thankfully, Judas Priest put just as much effort and passion into these five songs as they did the 13 on disc 1 of Redeemer of Souls.

JPROS_0002“Snakebite” inhabits an 80’s-like Priest vibe.  Dare I say it?  This would have sounded at home on Ram It Down, but it’s better than that.  “Tears of Blood” on the other hand reminds me of “The Sentinel”.  This is one of my favourite songs on the whole Redeemer of Souls set.   There’s no reason a song like this shouldn’t be a single.  I don’t know how songs like this are selected for a bonus CD on a deluxe edition.  Granted, disc 1 of Redeemer is topped to the brim in quality.

Still in an 80’s Priest mold, “Creatures” boasts a catchy chorus within a heavy song.  (The title “Creatures” is short for “Creatures of the Night”, so I’m pretty sure they shortened it to avert lawsuits by G. Simmons.)  What is it that has injected this youthful rediscovery of classic Priest melodies and riffs?  Has Richie Faulkner re-ignitied the passion for writing those kinds of songs?

“Bring It On” is quite different from the other songs on Redeemer, but it certainly shares classic metal traits with them.  I could imagine a song like this going over quite well live.  Once again I ask, how does a strong contender like this get sent to the bonus CD?  “Bring It On” is a fist-pumper, pure and simple.  It’s uncomplicated by flourishes or production.

Finally, as if “Beginning of the End” wasn’t a proper album closer, comes “Never Forget”.  This quiet ballad is lyrically a poignant open letter of thanks to the fans:

We’ll play on to the end,
It’s not over, not over my friends,
We are together tonight,
Reunited for all our lives,
And we thank you all for it,
We will never forget.

Truthfully, this song gives me chills.  I think Priest get their point across.

JPROS_0003Before making closing arguments, I just want to briefly talk about the packaging and production.  I’m on record as being a fan of Mark Wilkinson, and his work here is primo.  Drawing on past characters as the Angel, Painkiller, and even Marillion’s Torch, here comes the Redeemer of Souls.  The art looks great on the embossed, metallic-looking outer cover.

Glenn Tipton and Mike Exeter produced Redeemer of Souls, and by and large I think they did a fantastic job of capturing all that is good about Judas Priest.  I find the mix to sound muddy.  Maybe the CD was mixed too loudly, or perhaps I’m just not playing it loud enough.  All I know is that I have a hard time hearing subtleties.

If Redeemer of Souls goes down as the final Judas Priest studio album, let it be known that it is a dignified statement.  The band clearly worked hard on it (not that they didn’t for Nostradamus).  Early feedback from fans is that they are by and large very happy with it.  This was in spite of some uninspiring early song previews.  When you listen to Redeemer of Souls, you will understand that it is not about individual songs so much as about the entire body of songs.  All 13 (or 18) tracks are part of a whole that is best enjoyed whole.

4.75/5 stars

17 comments

  1. Sometimes in any workplace, when employees are there for a long time they get set in their ways and it gets stale. When one quits or retires, a young employee can bring new ways of thinking and a fresh approach. Sometimes that person reminds the older employees that remain of why they started doing this in the first place. Richie Faulkner may have went in and let the band know how much he loves their music, and that he grew up listening to their early tunes. That may have begun the resurrection of that earlier style of Judas Priest. When the band had KK, they may have been always trying to better what they did before. With Richie they may have been reminded that it is ok to do things they did before, as if saying if it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it.

    This album must be totally awesome if you say it sounds muddy but you still give it 4.75/5. My guess is that you are not playing it loud enough.

    This is my suggestion for how to listen to this album the next time.

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    1. Brian, will do. Good advice.

      I agree with your assessment there. Richie is obviously a talented guy. He is also obviously a Priest fan. That’s often a very good combination when replacing a key member!

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  2. Yep this package has a ton of stuff. Really glad they all included it in one shot and did not release the a Ep of the second like 6 months from now.
    Kudos for them on that move. Tons of metal music!
    Fantastic back 2 back reviewing Mikey…….
    Kudos to u also!

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    1. Thanks man, it is a labor of love. When a band I love does well I wanna shout it out to the world, and that’s what I hope I did here, but honestly. I try to be as open minded as possible while still maintaining my critical opinions.

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      1. Well ya do a fantastic job there Fella!
        Yeah for sure I’m like you in regards to when a band puts out a solid record it’s like check this out like ADKOT By Halen I told everyone within ear shot how a great followup to 1984 it was…..
        On the flip side I remember trying to and convincing myself to like VH3….and than thinking I better keep a lid on this one!
        Hahahaha

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        1. I appreciate it Deke. I try to inform and entertain. Yes I do put a lot of hours into this blog of my own time but it truly is a labor of love.

          I have something to announce — I have completed a first draft on my review for Europe – Out of this World – by request of Jompa Wilmenius. Hope you like it. Poured everything I got into this one.

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  3. Yup, I gotta buy this.

    Also:

    We’ll play on to the end,
    It’s not over, not over my friends,
    We are together tonight,
    Reunited for all our lives,
    And we thank you all for it,
    We will never forget.

    This makes me think we gotta go to rama, Dude. :)

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  4. I feel some of the songs on the bonus disc are more Priest-like than some of the album ones. I can see why these maybe didn’t fit on the main album style-wise though but they are good tunes. Apart from the last one. I really didn’t like it at all.

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