Sound — 9
Throughout their entire musical career, Judas Priest's live shows have been a spectacle to which all other heavy metal acts are judged and based upon. Besides the usual visually captivating stage effects, from Rob Halford's motorcycle to crowd-spanning laser lights and pyrotechnics, the renowned band seems to be musically stronger live (as hard to conceive as that may be). Their extended plays, expansive solos, and the occasional wild primal screams all lead to a wild listening as well as visual experience. With "Epitaph," this is no exception, as Judas Priest masterfully tears through a top notch setlist (further elaborated in the "Content" portion of this review). Rob Halford gives a noteworthily and inspiration performance throughout the entire concert. The now sixty-one year old lead singer still not only manages to hit those glass shattering primal screams that many fans have tried (and failed) to match alongside the studio renditions, but with that same strength and surging energy that is undoubtedly difficult to consistently hit night-after-night for four decades. Throughout the entire performance, Rob stays at the top of his game, the only time where he falters being when the band ends the setlist with "Painkiller." But the fact that he still even attempts to do nothing but scream for six minutes at his age is not only a testament to his musical ability, but his passionate desire to deliver exactly what the crowd wants to hear.
Content — 8
With their new live DVD of what was supposed to be their Farewell Tour (to the relief of fans worldwide, it is only their final world tour), you have the band captured purely in their element at London's Hammersmith Apollo Theater, as they tear through a masterful and generous 23-song set list comprised of tracks from all throughout the band's career. Judas Priest make an apparently conscious effort to play at least one song from every one of their studio albums (excluding the Tim Owens era), pulling out such deep tracks as "Never Satisfied" and "Starbreaker" during the set. And of course, you couldn't have a Judas Priest show without the band playing their quintessential metal anthems, including "Painkiller," "Turbo Lover," and "Breaking the Law."
Production Quality — 9
You can have a band that's absolutely on fire. You can have a band like Judas Priest pulling out all of their classic hits and some lesser known deep tracks. But if the production quality is poor, it affects the entire experience. This is how the production quality that comes along with this DVD is similarly standout. As soon as you pop the disc in, you feel as though you're right there in the front row, of course excluding the riled mosh pits that fans are accustomed to finding at a Judas Priest concert. This helps "Epitaph" fare as one of the best new live DVDs out there.
Overall Impression — 9
Judas Priest give their absolute all with the new live DVD, "Epitaph." It shows the entire band continuing to defy the laws of nature and rationality, as they dominate the stage with ever increasing power and passion that any fan will sit back in amazement at. For the fan who's been waiting for Judas Priest to pull out some of their lesser known deep tracks live, then this is a release to go for. For the fan who's been searching for a standout live JP DVD with top notch production qualities, then "Epitaph" comes highly recommended. And for that Judas Priest fan who hasn't had to the opportunity to catch the band live, this is as close as you're going to get to that awe-inspiring experience.