'Now for something completely different,' so said Englander's Monty Python. Or, to coin a phrase from Judas Priest themselves,' You've gotta another thing comin.' The new Judas Priest work, the 2 CD st, 'Nostradamus' is like nothing you have ever heard before from this progenitor of classic heavy metal. 'Nostradamus' is epic in scope; its heavy metal wrapped up in symphonic arrangements, a great story, a brilliant, and his best, vocal performance from Rob Halford, phenomenal guitar majesty from K.K. Downing and Glen Tipton, and finally, tight and consistent rhythm work from outstanding bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis. Judas Priest has truly pressed themselves to new heights of imagination and innovation. 'Nostradamus' could easily be their best work in their long and outstanding history. Yes, I'm duly impressed.
You'll not find those classic and catchy metal numbers like 'Breaking The Law' or 'Electric Eye' on this work. This is more a rock or metal opera: a story is told with genuine progressions in style and substance. You would expect 'Nostradamus' to have musical renditions of his many prophecies, and you will find them here. Yet the work is more about the man, his life and how he was much maligned and misunderstood. (I don't give any credence to his writings for a moment; but the man and his writings make a great subject for such a project.)
The great thing about 'Nostradamus' is that you have classic Priest style ratched up a notch or two into more epic heavy metal. One listen to 'Prophecy' and you'll know its Priest: those signature guitar licks and Halford's distinct vocals. Yet this song along with many others, like 'Revelations' or 'Alone' mix generous amounts of keyboards and symphonic attributes. 'Revelations' brings some pleasing acoustic work about three minutes into the song only to be followed by patented Priest twin guitar attack. Other notable songs on the first disc include 'Death' where the metal is dark, heavy and foreboding. The style fits the substance. This is one thing Judas Priest has always done well, making the music's tone match the subject of the lyrics. You'll hear this in the musical arrangements of 'War' and the following 'Peace.' 'Conquest' is another fine track as music defines a marching attack with more twin guitar leads. On 'Lost Love' Halford simply shines on this ballad.
Moving on to disc two, Halford again brings his massive vocal talent on two notable pieces. On 'Exiled' the passion in his voice is majestic; and the song is symphonic and steady with subtle guitars and keyboards. If there is any song that defines Rob Halford's skills it is epic 'Alone.' This song was written for him: it's a vocal masterpiece which ends with some thrilling guitar work. As you move to the conclusion of the tale, Priest leaves some of their best work to the end. The title track has every bit of classic Priest that you know and love. The same could be said for the concluding number, 'Future Of Mankind.' Yet it's a microcosm of what you've been hearing throughout the album. Epic, symphonic, classic, and definitely Judas Priest metal.
Judas Priest's 'Nostradamus' monumental and massive work that will challenge your preconceptions about them. All that you love about Priest is here, but on a more epic and grand stage. I would not call this a masterpiece like 'Sad Wings Of Destiny' or 'British Steel,' because it does not simply fit their categories. 'Nostradamus' is a Judas Priest work like no other. That fact that they pursued something outside their usual comfort zone makes this a masterpiece. And, yeah, the songs are great too. 'Nostradamus' is the album that Judas Priest was destined (or prophesied) to make. Highly recommended!
- Craig Hartranft
Judas Priest's 'Nostradamus' monumental and massive work that will challenge your preconceptions about them. All that you love about Priest is here, but on a more epic and grand stage. 'Nostradamus' is a Judas Priest work like no other. That fact that they pursued something outside their usual comfort zone makes this a masterpiece.
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