Painkiller review by Judas Priest

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  • Released: Sep 3, 1990
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.7 (90 votes)
Judas Priest: Painkiller

Sound — 10
Priest is back! After the release of the strangely commercial Turbo, boring Priest Live, and woefully underwhelming Ram It down, it was begining to look like the Gods of Metal were begining to die down. That was until 1990 when the band adopted their new drummer Scott Travis and decided to return to their Metal roots but in a new direction. Thrash and speed metal were at their peek at this time and so Priest saw them as good bases for their new album. In 1990 Judas Priest took the metal seen by storm with their incredible Painkiller. There have been few Metal albums that have measured up to the what might be considered "perfect", and Painkiller is one of those few. The sound of this album is empowering and musically refined to a point that you would sware that everything before or after was a lame memory. If one listens to Turbo and then Painkiller it is astonishing to realize that these albums were released by the same band. To briefly sum up the sound of Painkiller: this is what metal should sound like.

Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are basically the only aspect of the album that could be considered to its "detriment". The lyrics are a bit cheesy on some parts, or rather generically reminiscent of what one would expect of a power metal album (fantasy, praise to metal, etc). But in no way are these lyrics bad. They are poetic and perfectly fit with the musical aspects of the songs. Rob Halford took his vocals to a totally new level on this album. With all of the high pitched screaming and leather throat vocals on this album your going to be saying "James Hetfield? Iron what?". Rob took everything that was preconceived about what a metal singer would and should sound like, and ate it alive. This album is lyrically predictable, but powerful.

Overall Impression — 10
In comparison to many other metal albums Painkiller is undoubtedly a gift from the metal gods. The power and musical perfection of this album will have you begging for more. It is difficult to describe in words how awesome this album is. Everysong is perfect. From the mind blowing opening title track, to the inspiring Battle Hymn/Last Shot at Glory. The speed of Leather Rebel, the pure evil of All Guns Blazing. The Defenders reminiscent Metal Meltdown, the drumtastic Hell Patrol. The beastly Night Crawler, and the empowering Between the Hammer & the Anvil. Every song on Painkiller is pure Metal perfection. Painkiller should remain next to Metallica's Master of Puppets and Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast as one of the best metal albums of all time. Judas Priest lives!

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    You can take your Poison, Cinderella, and Motley Crue and shove them up your ass. Those fake metal bands don't matter anymore.
    Well I see why you'd criticize Poison and Cinderella, but Motley Crue?! They may have had some pretty rough times but I loved their new album and the sound they've always had! How are they at all fake metal? Anywho, Painkiller is the best Judas Priest album. Ever. :]
    Shame Halford could never do painkiller live, so they used lots of studio magic on his voice on this album. Check out the live videos from 1990/91 if you don't believe me! I saw them this year and it sounded alright when i was there, but i listened to the video and it sounded embaressingly bad! Good album though, i prefer priests late 70's stuff more.
    This is exactly what Heavy Metal should sound like. You can take your Poison, Cinderella, and Motley Crue and shove them up your ass. Those fake metal bands don't matter anymore. JUDAS PRIEST - LIVE, LOUD, AND PURE HEAVY METAL!!