Nostradamus Review

artist: Judas Priest date: 06/24/2008 category: compact discs
Judas Priest: Nostradamus
Release Date: Jun 17, 2008
Genre: Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
Label: Epic
Number Of Tracks: 23 (2CD)
Nostradamus is a departure from their previous speed-metal style and it's a direction hinted at in "Angel of Retribution."
 Sound: 8.1
 Lyrics: 7.3
 Overall Impression: 7.8
 Overall rating:
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 Users rating:
reviews (8) 91 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.7
Nostradamus Reviewed by: ShiverMeDan, on june 24, 2008
6 of 9 people found this review helpful

Sound: Judas Priest are one of the pioneering Heavy Metal bands, but that doesn't mean they've always been innovative. Sure, they've tried to keep up with the times and they've done it about two or three times (Painkiller and Angel of Retribution come to mind), but they never did anything to radically change their sound. However, their latest album surely breaks the myth that old dogs cannot learn new tricks. Judas Priest have managed to incorporate (and with great succes, might I add) a full orchestra alongside keyboards into their sound, giving an overall Epic Metal feel. They've seem to've actually worked with the orchestra, not just do the usual thing: play their set, and the orchestra tries to keep up. However, it's not without it's faults. I don't know why, but the band's also incorporated hints of pretentiousness which sometimes make the album feel accordingly, especially because of the intro pieces which are just too many, and out of only about half manage to do the job right, the rest just are plain iffy. Still, the sound is wonderfully constructed and the band really click with the orchestrations. In one word, the sound is just plain epic. // 9

Lyrics: Rob Halford is a shining example of how a Heavy Metal singer should be and deserves a spot right up there with Ronnie James Dio, Bruce Dickinson, King Diamond, and others. I know I'm not supposed to praise here, but it just had to be said. And the rule still applies at his age, since most vocalists break out their voices with age. So, his voice is fantastic still, let's move on now that we've established that. The lyrics are good, (not shining, but then again, we're used to that from Judas) but the whole idea of the story of Nostradamus sounds cheesy, and has sounded that way to me since I first heard about their plans. This is a completely subjective opinion and I assume it. If you, the listener, are OK with the story of Nostradamus, then great. But, be aware that there is a love song in there, in the middle. Why? I have no idea, it just doesn't fit in there, it makes no sense to me. Also, the lyrics border on iffy-territory in the intro pieces, but we covered those already. All in all, the lyrics are basically OK, but whether you'll like them or not, it's completely up to you. Note: Halford sings a bit in Italian on "Pestilence and Plague" and the last track has a spoken bit in French. Just to let you know. // 8

Overall Impression: Overall, if you're an oldie metal fan, you need to open your mind a bit. If you listen to the likes of Blind Guardian and other Epic Metal bands, this will fit right up your alley. This album is nothing like any other Judas Priest album, but that doesn't mean it's bad, it just means it's different, but it's still Judas Priest, mind you. Since I've got a relatively open mind, I'm willing to accept what they're doing on this record and give it a 9, but whether you, the listener can cope with a bit of pretentiousness and a few bad lyrics which is more than made up for with the massive sound the band's put together, or not, is completely up to you. Especially since this is not an album to listen on the run, you've got to listen to it completely, with only a few exceptions. These are Dawn of Creation/Prophecy (put them side by side, and you've got a killer song with an awesome intro and orchestration which encompasses the general feel of the album), and Nostradamus. I'll also pick Alone (for the epicness) and Future of Mankind (for the solo, or solos, rather). To conclude, Nostradamus is a shining album, which really proves that a band can evolve musically-speaking, and be bold, without it being necessary for them to completely revamp their sound. That's why it's called "evolution" and not "revamping". Depending on the type of Priest fan you are, this is either a must-have or mustn't-have-'cos-it-ain't-as-metal-as-Painkiller. // 9

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overall: 3.7
Nostradamus Reviewed by: UG Team, on july 07, 2008
3 of 19 people found this review helpful

Sound: Not many bands can be found guilty of trying out a new sound when they're pushing almost 40 years in the business, but such is certainly the case with Judas Priest, anno 2008. Almost two-or-so years in the making, Nostradamus is by far the most ambitious piece any of the members have been associated with. After making a much applauded comeback with 2005's Angel Of Retribution, I'm sure most of us were expecting Priest to play it safe, record competent but not very exciting metal albums and then be content playing a set composed of hits and a few new tunes on each tour. But, Halford & Co wanted to try on a new outfit, and seeing as I always encourage bands to stretch their wings and try new things, I'll do the same here. It's good to see Priest daring to try something new this late in their career, 'cause let's face it, they won't be around for much longer. As far as production goes, it's fairly good. And fairly good won't cut it for a band like Priest. KK & Glenn deciding to co-produce perhaps made sense from a band perspective, but in the end the sound is not up to the level we've come to expect. The two main causes for concern are the drum sound and the lead guitar sound. Where's the oomph in the drums, guys? Not only do they lack a bit of punch, but they seem somewhat lost in the mix, buried beneath the wall of guitars, Halford and keyboards, which is a shame. As for the lead guitars, I jokingly refer to this sound as "screeching for vengeance," because screech is exactly what it sounds like. Both KK and Glenn's leads sound completely out of place (I'm not talking about the actual playing here, but the guitar sound) in relation to the other instruments. As for Ian Hill, he hogs as much spotlight here as he does on stage. // 5

Lyrics: Judas Priest were never much for penning poetry (a few brilliant lyrics 30-or-so years ago aside), so opting for a conceptual piece where the lyrical side is very important is a very bold move. When writing a regular album, a few lyrical clunkers can be excused, but not so when you're penning an album telling an entire life's story. I doubt I'll offend many by saying that Judas Priest isn't a band you listen to because of their lyrics, and if you wish to enjoy Nostradamus, you better not care much for lyrics. Interviews given by the band indicate that they very much consider Nostradamus an incredibly interesting guy to write an album about, yet the words they put down to tell a story of his life are at times bad enough to make to me want to turn off the stereo and go for a walk. For starters, is Nostradamus, the bloke, really that good a choice for this album? He's a pretty well-documented guy, there's not much room to play around and write your own story, which makes the story-line fairly lifeless and in the end only makes the band seem lazy. Second, let's pretend he's indeed a very good choice for a concept album. Then why couldn't Halford come up with a better chorus than "I am Nostradamus?" Or maybe we're expected to fill in the blanks here. Halford never was much of a guy to create vivid stories with his lyrics, so that nigh every song is filled to the brim with predictable and dull rhymes along the lines of "face/race/soul/control" comes as no surprise. Most of the vocal melodies and lyrics come in short stabs of a half dozen or so of syllables at a time, which of course lends itself to stumbling, silly rhymes. Rob Halford has rightfully deserved his position in the metal pantheon for his vocal deliveries through the ages, but the old man does not have it anymore. There, I said it. I'm sure the Halford we remember is the one with the screams and high-pitched singing full of power, and when he let's it rip almost-like-back-in-the-day, he's still damn good. See Prophecy for some good singing with a bit of power and aggression behind it. Then we have the other side of his vocal spectrum these days - the soft, melancholic side. If his more aggressive side has suffered from his aging, then his ability to carry a soft melodic line has been nigh annihilated. His melodramatic vocal performances on tracks like Exiled, New Beginnings and Lost Love are bad, just bad, plain and simple. Unfortunately, this mid-power/mid-range singing dominates far too much of the album, and is often coupled with lyrics that are more fitting for the Sesame Street theme than a metal album. // 3

Overall Impression: Let's get it out of the way immediately -- Nostradamus is not a good album. I could just make my case based on the length of it, because at 100 minutes it's already a chore to listen to the whole thing without taking a break. Most albums these days shouldn't go beyond 50 minutes, so when you take modern-day Priest and double that length, it can only end in an utter trainwreck. Judas Priest are at their best when they churn out up-tempo rockers (a few songs in the vein of Beyond The Realms Of Death aside) that are around 3-6 minutes in length, and do we see many of these here? Nay. A handful of tracks can be called up-tempo, the rest are either plodding about in a steady mid-tempo, achieving little to nothing. Sure, there're decent highlights scattered along the way -- the title track is a decent rocker, if you ignore the keyboard intro and the patchy chorus, Prophecy has a nice, good groove to it and Revelations from the half-way mark is reminiscent of Priest in their best moments. But that's more or less it as far as highlights go. What Nostradamus is full off on the other hand is over-the-top, poorly executed melodrama. Judas Priest and their Nostradamus album can be described as old men trying to put on a pair of new leather pants that don't fit, but nor do they have the dignity to not wear them. In interviews leading up to the release of the album, the guys have obviously been speaking passionately about the quality of the album, how it's a unique album and that it'll be the first metal opera, and so on and so forth. I guess no-one bothered to tell them that Avantasia did a proper metal opera a few years ago? Contrary to what the band seems to think, albums that deliver epic storylines coupled with metal music and bombastic symphonic elements have been around for quite some time, and quite a few bands have managed to pull it off. Kamelot, Blind Guardian, Ayreon most recently, Queensrche, Dream Theater and several more may not have incorporated all those elements but they've taken on the task of delivering a complete story accompanied by metal music. And when put up against those releases, Nostradamus pales in comparison. Nostradamus ends up as an album in Priest's discography that it's best we forget. Overblown, pretentious and above all, horrendously executed, it makes several of their trendy '80s releases seem like masterpieces by comparison. Almost 30 years after Spinal Tap, one of the most influential and critically acclaimed metal bands of all time have crafted an album incorporating everything that Spinal Tap ridiculed. Now, all I want to know is if Nostradamus himself predicted this outcome. // 3

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overall: 6.7
Nostradamus Reviewed by: monkey of doom, on june 28, 2008
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: For over 30 years, Judas Priest have crafted some of the most important albums of the Heavy metal timeframe. After taking a few years out from their last album, the often criticised but solid Angel of retribution, Priest return with something a bit different. Nostradamus is Judas priest's much coveted concept album. It deals with the life and prophecies of a man who was often persecuted for his visions and beliefs. This is a bold step for Judas priest, musically, it is a departure. Keyboards are prominent in the mix, with Priest shaking off their old style and trying a new symphonic approach. Considering it's a double album, I was a bit worried as to how much filler there would be. I was so excited to finally get my copy in the post. How awesome is this going to be, I thought. Judas Priest making a concept album about a very interesting idea. In fact, I think I screamed like a little girl when I came in from work to find the lovely brown package, waiting for me. Excited is not the word. Now that I've listened to this album at least 10 times back to back, I can safely say I was right to be worried about the length. // 7

Lyrics: 23 tracks is a hell of a number, I wonder what Priest were trying to do with this. Had this Double CD been cut down into a single album, I probably would be much happier. I absolutely despise most of the interludes and intros on this album. There are some rare moments of clarity during these but for the most part they are completely unnecessary. The intro track to Visions is an exception to this. it's probably one of my favourite points of the album actually. But that is a diamond swimming in a sea of crap. Lyrically, strangely enough, this album is probably one of the strongest Performances Priest have ever done (hence the 7 score for this section). Sure, there is a bit of repetition but it remains inspired in places and descriptive as well. Halford commits a strong vocal performance although it is disappointing in places. My one gripe is the lack of Halford's patented screams and high vocals. Vocals are mostly in the mid range. The guy is old though so I let him away with that. But it is a small gripe nonetheless. // 7

Overall Impression: Standout tracks include Prophecy (The chorus makes me laugh), Persecution with its raging vocal delivery, War, Visions and its intro and the title track. Conquest and the future of mankind are sort of okay. That is 7 tracks. 7 out of 23 that hold my attention. You may know where this review is heading. I'm disappointed by the gods of metal. Nostradamus is overindulgent, bloated and the majority of it is mundane. Can I also say that there seems to be very little in the way of awesome musicianship on this record? Travis seems to be bored most of the time, Ian Hill is Ian Hill, and Glenn and KK seem to be lacking on this record. Most of the tracks are mid paced, plodding towards some anti climax with rubbish uninspired riffs. The guitar solos are just not there. And when they are, they are wasted on crappy tracks like Awakening. I hear shades of Painkiller in places, and tones of stuff like British steel. But it's not enough. What I'm trying to say is this, Some parts of the album are awesome but the majority is diluted turd. I've been listening to Defenders of the faith and Painkiller religiously these past few weeks (the best records Priest have ever done). I know Priest are trying to do something different with this but I hope they get back on track. Angel of retribution wasn't a bad record (despite what many would say) and I'd like to see them regress to that state of writing. It was more like the old albums. I get what Priest were trying to accomplish with this but goddamnit, I'm indifferent to most of this album. And it pains me to say so. // 6

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overall: 8
Nostradamus Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 20, 2008
1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: Judas Priest took 2 years to craft this CD. When a band of their stature takes this long to make a CD, one expects a certain level of quality. Nostradamus, for the most part, delivers. Nostradamus is a concept album, sprawling over 2 discs, and just under 2 hours long. The band, has once again reinvented themselves, slowing things down a bit and adding synths and orchestrated parts. In the interest of keeping this review down, I will skip the rest of the story, and music. If you liked songs like Lochness, Nightcrawler or Beyond the Realms of Death, then you will love this CD. // 9

Lyrics: Rob Halford, what can I say? Even as he approached 60, his vocal skills are still daunting, mesmerizing, even positively scary at times. Tracks such as Death really push his vocal ability to the limit. This time round, he drops his trademark wail-scream for more dramatic, deeper repertoire, but his scream does come up, and it's relatively intact. The lyrics are typical for a late era Judas Priest release, basically they are corny, cheesy or whatever term you prefer. But the lyrics do tell the story of the life of Nostradamus. // 7

Overall Impression: Nostradamus is a departure from their previous speed-metal style, their commercial metal arena sound, and it's a direction hinted at in Angel of Retribution. CD highlights, for me, include: Prophecy, Death, and the truly menacing Alone. CD lowlights include: conquest and the tragic pestilence and plague. If this CD were lost I wouldn't hesitate to buy it again, no matter how much filler other people say there is. // 8

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overall: 8.3
Nostradamus Reviewed by: littleKID, on september 18, 2008
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: This is the two CD version of Nostradamus. Judas Priest is one of the most influential british metal bands, tied with Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. Their sound is similar to Iron Maiden yet has an essence that Maiden can't get. This legendary metal band has given some of the best contributions to this genre with works like British Steal, Painkiller, and Nostradamus. I am a huge fan of Judas Priest and this album made me worship their high voltage rock even more. the sound is great. The songs are mostly metal songs to the bone yet there are ballads like lost love. In one of the best songs of this album there is the explosive War that includes a very good mix of sounds. Basicly the structure of this CD is: one heavy sound then one that is sort of an soft interlude that introduces their next song. The sound in this album is really great and the guitars are really good most of the time. The singer, Rob Halford adds some amazing screams in the songs, and the drummer: Scott Travis has amzing skills. With this album Judas Priest proves that they are the bosses of heavy metal. // 8

Lyrics: As I said the singer has great skills. The lyrics really are just an addition yet they go really well with the rythms of the songs. The lyrics do not vary a lot they basicly talk about Nostradamus. If you actually do pay attention to the lyrics you notice that they actually are good but do not talk about something that other metal bands talk about. // 9

Overall Impression: This album is not as great as the awesome painkiller, and british steel. This is a good album though although it was not well accepted by the critics given the album mostly 7 out of 10. Here is my impression of some of the best songs from this album. War: this song starts with some exploting drums and are soon followed by the voice of Rob Halford that gives this song the Metal sounds many bands look for. This song however can't be compared to their best songs. The song basicly stays the same throughout the whole song. Persecution: this song stars with a guitar riff that is very quiet and then is followed by with an explosion of drums and guitars and of course Rob's voice. This song is actually quiet good and is one of the best songs in this album. Exiled: the song starts with drums and some chorus voices and then is followed by some string instruments and then comes Rob's voice accompanied by a soft guitar. Later in the chorus the distored guitar comes in and disapears again afterwards. The song basicly follows this structure and has some solos in between. Visions: this is for me the best song in the album. It starts with a distorted riff then there is a brief acapella part then the guitars comes in again. The song has a very good chorus that is very crowd accepted. The song is overall good and if it would be a little better it could be only compared with Gods. Nostradamus: this song is not that good but gives the album it's name right? The album should be called visions. The song however is almost as good as Visions. Although by the time you get to this track you've had enough with the same riffs, melodies, solos, and lyrics. If I would lose this album I would not buy it again, instead I would by Death Magnetic by Metallica or All Hope is Gone by Slipknot. This album was still worth the listen. // 8

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overall: 9.7
Nostradamus Reviewed by: guitaringsailor, on june 30, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: In my experience lately when these great old bands like Judas Priest, Motley Crue, Metallica and bands alike (in greatness) there's been a slight disappointment because the bands doesn't sound like them anymore. But Nostradamus really sounds like Judas Priest. The riffs are heavy and the two guitar sound is exactly what you want to hear! The solos are awesome it is obvious that Tipton and Downing have been playing guitar for a while and they know what they're doing. The harmony interludes are really cool and everything between slow and melodic to really fast and tight! Apart from that there's a lot of violins in the songs and that makes a massive sound. And once I got used to it it was really cool! The album is a story in two acts in short it is about a man who lived in France in the 16th century. He studied to become a doctor but after he was thrown out of the university due to being involved in manual trade, he started making prophecys and predictions. Later he gets hired by the French court to make horoscopes. The album is basically his life's story in metal. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics are good especially when you've read the story of Nostradamus and they really mean something that has to do with the tale of the album which is cool! Rob Halford is really awesome on this record he still has the metal voice that he always had even though his age. I'm not a vocalist but I can recognize something good when I hear it and this is great. This album continues to prove what a great singer Rob is. // 10

Overall Impression: The album is only parted in two acts, the two discs. So that when you listen you'll just hear the songs going into each other and the impression of the album being an ongoing story and not just a bunch of songs put together. The songs really work together that way and there are even themes that come back in different songs and I love that! It's hard to say which song is the best or the worst of the tracks because the are all more as one long song which is cool. This also makes it hard to listen to only one track at the time so it's really an album to put on when you have a couple of hours when you just want to enjoy music and then listen to the whole story as one. If the album was stolen I'd find the bastard who did it and kick his ass and take it back. Since money is everything I don't have I probably wouldn't buy a new one, I have all the songs imported in iTunes but if I didn't have that I'd definatly buy a new one. // 10

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overall: 8.7
Nostradamus Reviewed by: hunter260859, on july 01, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: On the first song of this album you get the impression what the album is going to be like, Epic and with a hint of Doom. There's a lot going on in this Judas Priest Album. They've gone back to the keyboard roots of their Turbo but this time they did it correctly. K.K and Glenn on top of their game once again, They've got more technical than their previous albums. Incorparising Sweeps, Tapping and full out shredding into their solos. Most people think this is bad since they're not sticking to their soulful solos or their previous albums but believe me their still kicking around in songs such as Future of Man kind. Now to talk about the tracks of the album. There are 23 tracks on the album over two discs, It clocks around 105 minutes in total. Many of the songs though are intro pieaces and not full out songs. But all the songs mesh well together creating a continuous atmosphere aswell as telling a story. Some songs to look out for our. This said I felt that they should of maybe cut down the album a bit since you can lose the feeling off the song, ect. // 9

Lyrics: Lyrics where never Priests strong points but in this album it's taken a turn for the better. Though their are still some cheesy lyrics like all priest albums, these go into more depth are more logical and have meaning. All the songs tell a the story of Nostradarmus's life and how it unfolded with him getting these Visions about what will happen in the future to his counter with the plague taking his familiy and being exiled because of his visions. Rob's vocals are nothing short of spectacular with this album. Though he doesn't scream as much as he used to he still pulls out some great banshee esque screams such as in the title track. He's developed this deep and doom feeling repitoir which goes perfectly with this album. // 8

Overall Impression: I feel that this album is priest returning to their older roots with such albums of Rocka Rolla and Sad wings of destiny. Anyone else think that Calm Before the Storm sounds like Run of The Mill from Rocka Rolla. Though they've gone back to their older roots they've managed to keep in touch with the modern side of music. incorparising some speedy and thrashy tracks. The things I love about this album are. It's something new and they're not falling into this trap of becoming repetive like some of the other big named bands. The things I dislike about this album are the fact that is does clock a lot of minutes and you can't really listen to a single track on it's own. Also I wish the guitars would be a little more clearer since they're quite muddy in some parts of the album. If this was stole I would run to the store and buy it again and listen to it as soon as I got in. // 9

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overall: 8
Nostradamus Reviewed by: IYanoplathizoI, on february 17, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: To me the sound is well balanced, letting the listener hear the whole range of instruments that have been used. Most of the songs have a sort of "introduction", that is usually very operatic type and I think that during these, normally short, snaps of what skils the band has in other branched of music you really do gain a sight into what a variety of music Judas Preist has aspired to produce in this album. // 9

Lyrics: The band, I think couldnt have picked themself a harder topic to write about and most areas seem to fit into the music well, bar a few of the nasties involved in the faster vocals. However the range of material was, saddly limited as I am sure the band was not looking to produce a sort of musical sotory of nostraduma's life and the lyrics do find themselves becoming slightly repetetive throughtout songs and the subject iofthe lyrics doing the sam throughout the whol two albums. // 6

Overall Impression: Hell yes would I buy again! I would pay just to have a few of my faverote songs back! I dislike some of the lyrics, like just about everything else and love the overall feel of the music. I think that in branching out like they have don Judas Priest have opend up hte way to a path where, I hope that, they could really perfect making this type of music. // 9

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