Judas Priest – Invincible Shield Review

Epic Records

Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford are two of metal’s all-time greatest vocalists. Strong arguments can be made for either as the single best metal singer of all time. So it’s only fitting that Dickinson’s latest solo album The Mandrake Project and Judas Priest’s latest album Invincible Shield are being released just one week apart from each other.

The new record comes six years after Firepower. The pandemic was an obstacle in its creation, as were some health issues, but all that time gave main songwriters Glenn Tipton, Richie Faulkner and Rob Halford plenty of opportunity to perfect the songs on their nineteenth studio album.

Many of the songs are fairly complex. Opener “Panic Attack” has a section in 7/8 time, two bridges and two solos. The song about the darker side of the internet has a lot of instrumental parts, putting Priest’s musicianship at the forefront, topped with Halford’s potent vocals. “Gates Of Hell” is in a similar vein, with a lengthy intro and a killer solo.

The 72 year old Metal God can still crank up the falsetto, which he displays on songs like “The Serpent And The King,” the urgent “Trial By Fire” and the title track. There are no true ballads on Invincible Shield. The single “Crown Of Horns” has some mellower sections and a moderate pace, but it still packs a potent punch and yet another memorable guitar solo.

Most of the singles released so far are on the first half of the album, but the song that could have the most hit potential is penultimate track “Sons Of Thunder.” It begins with guitar shredding and then eases into super catchy riffs and an anthemic chorus.

The second half of the album has a lot of strong compositions. The flow of “Escape From Reality” has a bit of a Disturbed vibe and there are moments where Halford channels Ozzy. “Giants In The Sky” ends the album on a high note, with another memorable chorus and an intriguing acoustic solo.

In addition to the 11 songs on the main album, there are deluxe editions with three additional songs. They are anything but throwaways. “Fight Of Your Life” could easily be a single, and “The Lodger” is a unique sounding composition that’s cinematic and dramatic with Halford displaying a lot of texture and variety in his vocals. It’s worth spending the extra cash to get these tracks.

Legendary producer Andy Sneap, who also happens to be the band’s touring guitarist, is able to balance Priest’s power and intensity while still allowing for dynamics and more subtle sections. Knowing the band so well helps him elevate the production of Invincible Shield.

Judas Priest have now released albums in six different decades, an incredible feat. Through lineup changes, the ebbs and flows of the music industry and other challenges, they have proven their resilience. You can add Invincible Shield to the long line of excellent Priest albums, and let’s hope there are more in their future.

(released March 8, 2024 on Epic Records)

Heavy Music HQ Rating:

Watch Judas Priest – “The Serpent And The King” Video

One Response

  1. bobsala March 6, 2024

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