Painkiller review by Judas Priest

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  • Released: Sep 3, 1990
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.7 (90 votes)
Judas Priest: Painkiller
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Sound — 10
When I was about nine years old, I had just begun playing guitar and my 16 year old neighbor, Bobby, took me over to his house for the afternoon. While I was there I heard Metallica's "Master Of Puppets" for the first time. At the time, it was the heaviest music I had ever heard in my life. I was knocked out and completely enveloped by it for years. The next time I felt that way about a record, was when I heard this for the first time. This album completely abandons the pop and synthesizer influenced songs that comprised the previous two albums, and Judas Priest return to making the heaviest metal in the world. The guitar tone of this album is compressed, distorted, and loud...to the point where the amps sound like they are on fire. It is also the first album to feature drummer Scott Travis who sounds like a drum god, playing on the kit of a drum god. The sound of this album defines heavy metal. The musical performance of this album is faster, heavier, and more intricate than anything Priest has done in the past. The solos are absolutely searing. Bands like Dragonforce can't even attempt to hold a candle to solo work like this. Glenn and K.K. are the greatest heavy metal guitar duo ever. Even as an elderly band, they still prove themselves as leaders. This album could not possibly get any heavier, it simply could not.

Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are epic! Not only do they flow with the music perfectly but they are creative and deep. The lyrical atmosphere of this album is enough to get lost in, even with an atomic assault of metal going on behind them. This is also possibly Rob Halford's greatest recorded studio performance. I can't help but wonder how sore Halford's throat was when the recording of this record was finished. His voice is like audible lightning in this performance. It is loud, high pitched, powerful, satisfying, and epic. With this album, Halford definitely establishes himself as king of Heavy Metal vocalists.

Overall Impression — 10
This is one of the heaviest releases is the entire history of metal. It is absolutely one of my favorite metal albums of all time, possibly being my favorite Priest record. I don't really have anything serious to criticize on it, it simply kicks ass! From start to finish, this album will deliver a straight overdose of searing musical heaviness, leaving all imitators in the dust. This was the perfect album to kick off the third decade of Judas Priest's career, although Halford would leave the band two years after this release. This album paved the road for the Ripper Owens days, bringing a new heavier, faster level to their sound. I have probably listened to this album (or at least the song "Painkiller") at the very least twice a week for the past five years. This album barely ever makes it out of my hands, let alone my collection.

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