Released: Sep 3, 1990
Genre: Heavy Metal, Speed Metal
Number Of Tracks: 10
"Painkiller" is a qualified success - the album's Achilles' heel is its lyrics, which rarely depart from standard-issue odes to heavy metal rebellion and comic book/fantasy themes.
PsychoWolfD, on november 08, 2004 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Every true metal fan needs to own this album! Judas Priest is one of the kings of new wave of british heavy metal and 'Painkiller' is a great example. Their sound is the real metal sound, classic but extremely heavy at the same time. The two guitarists, K. K. Downing and Glenn Tipton, are the finest and in my opinion two of the many underrated guitarists in the world. I like how they sometimes switch on playing the lead part in some songs, while on some others its just Glenn doing the leads or something. Real cool. I loved the fast drum intro to the title track, "Painkiller". There were some cool keyboard sounds in epics such as "A Touch Of Evil" and "Living Bad Dreams". "Living Bad Dreams" is a bonus track in the remastered versions of their first 12 albums (I think it was 12), along with a live recording of "Leather Rebel". The bass wasn't too noticeable, but it shouldn't be disliked either. There was a 1-minute instrumental called "Battle Hymn", which was not at all a big deal, but it seemed to act as an intro to the track after, "One Shot At Glory", which was also good. // 10
Lyrics: One of the best singers ever to walk the face of the planet in my opinion is Judas Priest's Rob Halford! He proves to have a wide range of singing tone from somewhat low to extremely freakin' high! And it didn't sound that gay the way Halford does it either. (Ironically, Halford is a genuine homo...) I love the lyrics. "Painkiller" is real cool because its about a half-man/half machine 'painkiller' guy who rides his motorcycle called the Metal Monster and comes out of the sky when the world came in peril and saves humanity. A lot of sci-fi like elements in a lot of the songs, and a others depict dark fantasy, which is real inspirational and novel-like. The singing is best when highly sung, and the lyrics fit well with that singing and the music. I liked "Painkiller" so much I wanna cover it in a band, even though I only bought this album hours before posting this review. // 10
Overall Impression: This is a personal icon of true metal music! Best songs are "Painkiller", "Metal Meltdown", "Night Crawler", "A Touch Of Evil", and bonus track "Living Bad Dreams", which the guys from Priest said in the booklet that they didn't know why they didn't include the song in the album the first time, and that it could have been a classic then but Priest won't get any argument from me! That song rocked! Brilliant power in the sound and singing, definately! Get it now! Or face the wrath of the Painkiller! // 10
mrgringo94, on march 01, 2010 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: This is one of Judas Priest's best sounding albums yet. The insane drumming (Scott Travis of Racer X), with extreme double-bass action and Glenn and KK's shred style solos. All the songs are good, although many sound very similar to each other, which happens to lots of bands. Another problem is that you can't hear Ian Hill (on bass) almost at all.
Some words on some of the songs:
01. Painkiller: the title track and the heaviest song on the album. This song features double bass drums at their loudest, harmonizing guitars at thier fastest and Rob Halford screaming about the messiah for 6 insane minutes. This is my favourite song ever.
02. A Touch Of Evil: ahh, a Judas Priest power ballad. Something sort of new that of course, turned out awesome. The guitars sound haunting and Rob Halford delivers high pitched screams and whatnot...amazing.
03. Battle Hymn/one Shot At Glory: the best Judas Priest album wouldn't be complete without a combo like this. Just like on Screaming for Vengeance, once the beautiful instrumental intro is over, a kick-ass heavy metal song begins! // 9
Lyrics: Rob Halford delivers better than ever on Painkiller. He can still do the screams and he's still got the growl, and he makes every song an amazing experience. Some hardcore Judas Priest fans have complained about the substance of the lyrics, saying that a man that's half man and half machine and that rides a metal monster hardly fits in with other, older JP records. I can't say I agree, because a leather rebel and a touch of evil, sound pretty metal to me. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall, I am very proud to own this record. If it were stolen, I'd probably cry and buy it again immediately. What I love about it the most is its pure heavy metal feel. This album really shows that the guys from Judas Priest aren't posers and really care about the music they make. Yes, it is differs quite a bit compared to other Judas Priest records, but the direction they take with Painkiller is undoubtedly the right one.
Note: It probably looks biased to give this album such good scores, but if one album deserves it, this is the one. // 10
shredder_666, on december 20, 2006 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Amazing sound! This album was recorded beautifully in the studio. One hundred percent raw and loud. In my opinion, the heaviest Judas Priest album ever released. This is the first Judas Priest album with drummer Scott Travis. His drumming is much faster and heavier than previous drummers Les Binks and Dave Holland. His drum tracks are the key to the heavier tone of this record. The guitars are recorded with heavy distortion and very loud. Last, Rob Halford screams higher and louder than he has in any other record. His vocals are so high pitched that the album might blow out your stereo speakers if you listen loud enough. His full potential of screaming is reached in this record. Also, for such a loud and blatant record, it is recorded so well, you can understand the lyrics and music very well. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrics have the usual Judas Priest tinge to them. Although, some of the lyrics really stand out. Leather Rebel and A Touch Of Evil are both lyrics that will blow you away. They are very epic and go very well with the sound. Another very good lyric is the bonus studio track Living Bad Dreams. Living Bad Dreams is one of the greatest songs ever written by Judas Priest and when you hear it, you will wonder why they decided not to release it. Halford's vocals flow so well with the lyrics and melody on this record. It is almost the best vocally recorded album I have ever heard. Every song on here will blow your mind, and that doesn't happen with many albums. // 10
Overall Impression: This is seriously the most underrated album by Judas Priest. Not very much credit has been given to this record. Ignore the critics, this album is amazing. This album can't be compared to any other Judas Priest record, because this is where they really stepped forward. This is also one of the heaviest albums ever released by man. This one belongs up there with Master Of Puppets and Reign In Blood. This is a serious headbanger's album. Even if you already have the original release, I strongly urge you to go out and buy the remastered version. Any Judas Priest fan has to hear Living Bad Dreams. If you don't have the record, I'll make it simple. Go out and buy it. I would buy it a thousand times over. // 10
Mindcrime1038, on august 07, 2007 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 10
Lyrics: 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. // 9
Overall Impression: 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! // 10
guitfiddleRR, on october 07, 2010 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 10
Lyrics: 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. // 10
Overall Impression: 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. // 10
unregistered, on january 06, 2011 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: At the dawn of the 90's, Judas Priest were'nt looking so good-their past albums were a complete disaster, one a pop-influenced record, Turbo, that sounded more like Poison than Priest, and the other an ultra-heavy, but unoriginal metal album made completely out of fillers. However, with this album, Priest proved they were still going strong. With ex-Racer X skinsman holding up the back end pounding it on the drum set, and Rob Halford screaming like a witch on the first track, Painkiller over Glenn and K.K.'s soaring riffs and solos and Ian Hill on bass, this album is probably one of Priest's most impressive and certainly their heaviest record in a while. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrics are creaive and talk about fire and imagery of evil demons and metal. Rob Halford's tone is perfect, and obviously, on this album sets the scene for thousands of falsetto-crazed thrash metal bands such as 3 Inches of Blood, Cradle of Filth, and Andy Deris' Helloween. To compliment Halford's banshee. // 10
Overall Impression: Judas Priest totally killed all other bands with this release-Metallica'sBlack Album was certainly not as hard-hitting as this, Megadeth was beginning to evolve into a more punk-influenced sound, Slayer were fading into the 90's with less memorable hits, and Iron Maiden were encountering problems with Bruce Dickinson resulting in less-memorable albums.
01. Painkiller-10/10-Memorable, exremely powerful, and filled with great solos.
02. Hell Patrol-8/10-Good marching beat, but a little less memorable than the other songs on the albums.
03. All Guns Blazing-7/10-Nice vocal introduction, but less memorable riffs and drumming than the rest of the album. More of a filler song.
04. Leather Rebel-10/10-My favorite song on the album. Fast, heavy, and filled with great lyrics. Probably my theme song.
05. Metal Meltdown-10/10-Enters with memorable dual guitar solos and fillers with a great chorus and great drumming.
06. Night Crawler-8/10-Pretty intense with great solos and double bass drumming. Just not a standout.
07. Between the Hammer and the Anvil-9/10-Another powerful song with a great chorus, solos, harmonies, and a great scream.
08. A Touch of Evil-10/10-A slower, memorable song that sounds like somthing that would be featured in a movie or something.
09. Battle Hymn-7/10-Kind of pointless
10. One Shot At Glory-8/10-This one kind of leans towards the classic priest sound rather than the new, really heavy edge Priest have crafted on this album.
Overall, this album is a great album, but with a few tracks to ignore. // 10