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Judas Priest

Invincible Shield

Review by Gary Hill

The latest disc from Judas Priest, this is definitely a worthy entry in their catalog. In fact, I'd be surprised if it doesn't wind up in my "best of 2024" list by the time the year is over. I think it tends to start really strong and end that way, too. I do think it gets a little predictable and run-of-the-mill mid-album, though. Still, even mediocre Priest is amazing, and the weakest of this is better than mediocre. I'm not sure I'd land this above the last couple albums, but the group has been putting out such high quality stuff now, that it's hard to beat those albums. This is about at the same level as its predecessors, and that's pretty darned good.

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Track by Track Review
Panic Attack
The introduction on this feels almost proggy. There are still plenty of Judas Priest metal things at play, though. It even reminds me a little of the Turbo album at times during the later parts of the introduction. This works to fierce driving metal, but there are some other hints of Turbo that show up. The song is a strong opener and good addition to the Judas Priest catalog.
The Serpent and the King
Now, this thing in ferocious and on fire. I'm reminded of something from Painkiller. This is screaming hot Priest metal at its finest. I think this might be my favorite song on the album. The guitar soloing is so strong, too.
Invincible Shield
The title track is similar driving. It reminds me of some of the fiercer stuff from British Steel. I'm think of "Steeler" and "Rapid Fire." The chorus hook is definitely infectious. This is another winner on a particularly strong album. The instrumental break later in the track is so hot.
Devil in Disguise
This is less intense than the last few songs, but it's still full metal. It has more of a mid-tempo groove. It also is classic Priest. It's a strong, but a bit of a let down after that opening trio of songs.
Gates of Hell
Here we get another metal grind that's sort of middle of the road. It has some killer guitar work at play. It's another solid, but not standout, tune.
Crown of Horns
I really love the guitar work on the opening of this. It brings sort of a technical metal vibe. The rest of the track is a bit of a let down for me, though. If there's one that I find disappointing on the album, it's this one. It has sort of an arena rock vibe to it, and the lyrics come across as Christian rock. It's Priest, so it has merit, and the vocal hooks are solid, but this one doesn't work that well for me.
As God Is My Witness
Faster paced and meaner, this is a step back up from the previous number. It's another that's more along the lines of pretty standard modern Priest. That's actually a lot better than many bands, really. It's just not at the level of some of the rest here. The instrumental break is on fire, and the closing movement is awesome, too.
Trial by Fire
This comes in feeling like something from Sad Wings of Destiny, with a gradually building mode. This is definitely closer to the quality of the opening. There are some particularly tasty instrumental modes, and the whole tune rocks well.
Escape from Reality
This is another killer track. It has a mean texture to it and a lot of style. It's classic Priest, but with modern angles added to the mix. There is a section later that feels somewhat like classic Black Sabbath.
Sons of Thunder
The meaty riffing that gets this going is on fire. This is another that lands on the standout end of the spectrum. It's a driving monster that works so well.
Giants in the Sky
Another powerhouse tune, the riffs on this are so strong. This is a stomping metal screamer that is among the best here, but it also has a mellower movement later in the track.
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