DualDisc Label: Epic Records
Everyone new it was destiny, a matter of time, the band knew it, the fans were waiting, well it happened, Rob Halford has returned to Judas Priest to reform the classic lineup. The band that invented the heavy metal look, and arguably the sound, is back. As Rob states in the documentary DVD, they reformed in a very English way, sitting there having a cup of tea and nonchalantly mentioning getting back together, then it just happened. The passing years were a mere blink of an eye and it was time to pick up where they left off, and they did.
Angel Of Retribution brings everything right back into focus for 2005-the trademark Halford vocals, the dueling twin lead guitars, and the no-guts-no-glory lyrics, its all back in a big way with this new album. There are some nice surprises as well. On one side of the disc is a CD and the other a DVD with live footage, a documentary on their reformation, and the entire album once again in 5.1 surround sound. How could you ask for more? You really cannot and Epic Records has truly done a superb job with this release. It comes on the heels of the tremendous career retrospective boxed set Metalogy, which brought the boys back together in the first place.
"Judas Rising" kicks off and sets the tempo rather quickly as Halford is screaming at his high-pitched best then the bands shifts into overdrive. It makes you wish the entire album had the feeling and energy of that one song; alas-it is not part of the deal folks. This is a solid album, whether its one of their best, time well tell. Some of the hell bent for leather Priest shows up, although it is the new razor like edge and clean sound that technology brings out that I appreciated. If you have heard the remastered albums, you will love this one. "Lochness" may be a bit overindulgent and over the top clocking in at 13:29, but its nothing but vintage JP.
The cover sports a metallic angel spreading its wings while stepping out of the flames making all in human form pay for their mistakes, forcing those of us that have faltered to live by the law of accountability. The story continues, it is nothing new, but oh, it's so sweet. If you are a metal head you have to hear this album then make your decision, was it worth the wait? I say any great band is well worth the wait, besides, Halford released some fine solo albums along the way and another young vocalist, Ripper Owens, got a chance to strut his stuff. Everybody wins and we all go home happy, let us rock, amen.