Metal Mofos’ Isaac Sauers gives us a holiday treat as he counts down 25 days till Christmas with 25 of his favorite must own metal and hard rock albums. Join us daily through December 25th to read the latest entry.
I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have been a Judas Priest fan when Painkiller was first released September 3, 1990. Judas Priest had fallen out of the metal royalty tree a little bit with two lackluster albums in Turbo and Ram it Down. Metal had changed some since Judas Priest released such classics as British Steel, Screaming for Vengeance, and Defenders of the Faith. Heavier stuff like thrash and death metal had come out and were gaining popularity. How could metal titans like Judas Priest keep up with faster, heavier counterparts? Easy. They turned it up to 11 and released the heaviest thing they ever had, Painkiller!
This was the first album to feature new drummer Scott Travis. Think a new drummer may not make a difference? You’ve probably never listened to this album. Just listen to the opening of the first track, “Painkiller”. It’s starts off with an awesome drum beat from Scott Travis before the rest of the band comes in. Delicious! KK Downing and Glen Tipton simply kill it, bass player Ian Hill holds it down like a champ, and Rob Halford comes out like a screaming (for vengeance, of course) banshee.
This album brought out a whole new Judas Priest. They were a completely reenergized band. There’s no room on this album for songs like “Living After Midnight” or “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”. This album is metal as we think of metal.
I couldn’t even believe this was Judas Priest the first time I heard this album. The song “Metal Meltdown” randomly came on my iPod when it was on shuffle as the song is included on their greatest hits album I had loaded on it. I was totally rocking out to this song and didn’t look to see who in the world it was until halfway through the song. I couldn’t believe it was Judas Priest! I mentioned earlier I couldn’t image what it was like to have been a fan when this album first came out. I actually can imagine it. I imagine myself pooping my pants because of how awesome and heavy this album is. It is a completely different sounding band in terms of heaviness. You could even call Judas Priest’s earlier work the dreaded “dad rock” term compared to the metal heard on Painkiller.
I find myself playing this album whenever I feel like listening to Judas Priest. Everything about this album is amazing. It’s a long way from their debut Rocka Rolla.
Painkiller could have launched a second coming of greatness for Judas Priest, but following a tour for the album vocalist Robb Halford left the band. This put a total derailment in the career of Judas Priest. The band remained dormant until 1996 when they hired Ripper Owens to be their new vocalist and released the album Jugulator. Rob Halford eventually rejoined the band in 2003, and Judas Priest last released an album in 2014.
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