Judas Priest - Nostradamus

Judas Priest – Nostradamus


Attempting a two CD concept album could be seen as either self indulgent or brave from Judas Priest.

Written by: Dangerzone

ARTIST: Judas Priest
ALBUM: Nostradamus
SERIAL: 88697307082
YEAR: 2008
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Rob Halford – vocals * K.K Downing – guitars * Glenn Tipton – guitars * Ian Hill – bass * Scott Travis – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dawn Of Creation (sc) * 02 Prophecy * 03 Awakening (sc) * 04 Revelations * 05 The Four Horsemen (sc) * 06 War * 07 Sands Of Time (sc) * 08 Pestilence And Plague * 09 Death * 10 Peace (sc) * 11 Conquest * 12 Lost Love * 13 Persecution * 14 Solitude (sc) * 15 Exiled * 16 Alone * 17 Shadows In The Flame (sc) * 18 Visions * 19 Hope (sc) * 20 New Beginnings * 21 Calm Before The Storm (sc) * 22 Nosatradamus * 23 Future Of Mankind

RATING: 50/100


Judas Priest Background

Attempting a two CD concept album could be seen as either self indulgent or brave from Judas Priest.

With a career approaching forty years, and an album about the life and times of the prophet Nostradamus? Plus a running time of over 100 minutes one has to wonder.

I’m from the old school, the concept of the album leaves me somewhat cold. It’s the music which does the talking and that’s the critical factor in determining the success of Judas Priest’s 16th album.

In total there are 23 total tracks, 14 regular tracks and 9 short cuts (which we will refer to in the tracklisting as ‘sc’. Ed), many of which are lead-in instrumentals.

The process of sitting through each of these is quite a task. And to be honest this epic stance is reminiscent of Iron Maiden‘s overdrawn adventures. It’s one that Judas Priest haven’t attempted to this degree in their career.

The results are sometimes uneven. There’s an abundance of mid-paced tracks plundering the orchestral keyboard approach to maintain that 16th-century atmosphere. But often the music is steeped in the sound of early Judas Priest, a treat for all long-time fans.

The Songs

This will test the most ardent of Judas Priest fanatics. I’m sure not many will appreciate the depth to the Nostradamus storyline, which admittedly failed to move me.

Instead it’s the heavy doom filled riffs of ‘Death’ which I’m more prone to picking up on. And those with a taste for ‘Sad Wings Of Destiny’ will definitely enjoy this.

Fast tracks in the traditional Priest style are few and far between. Two examples being the rampaging title cut, Judas Priest at their heaviest. It’s another take on the ‘Painkiller’ sound they’ve been wreaking havoc with since 1990.

Secondly, ‘Persecution’ moves at speed, mixing 80’s riffing with deft keyboard touches and the expected endless soloing from Downing and Tipton. An instant classic, especially with Halford screaming himself into oblivion.

I thought I’d been transported back to ‘Turbo’ when listening to ‘Revelations’. A high tech affair with more of the keyboards which run the show through the whole album. More of this can be heard on ‘War’, which pushes the orchestration into orbit.

Slower tracks like ‘Lost Love’ and ‘New Beginnings’ reach ballad levels. Something Judas Priest dabbled with earlier in their career. I assume more than a few metalheads will be screaming for more faster tracks.

Pestilence And Plague’ has a massive gallop in its steps. It recalls Manowar‘s recent operatic bumblings, and it’s only the guitar solos which save some of these unnecessarily overlong compositions.

Many of the numerous instrumentals are atmospheric, such as ‘Solitude’, which could be from the 1974 debut. But those could be easily skipped at the same time due to them being filler, despite the intentions of atmosphere.

‘Conquest’ is an anthem in the making, but the constant keyboards take away Judas Priest’s real power sorry to say. ‘Visions’ is a classic happily, vintage Priest chorus straight from any era. It’s markedly 80’s, the riffs chugging away nicely.

Album closer ‘Future Of Mankind’ works because of the lack of keyboards initially. But they soon creep in, and this gives it the Iron Maiden vibe of all their recent albums.

The best instrumental is ‘Calm Before The Storm’, which takes the best of Judas Priest’s slower 70’s work and combines them all into two minutes. ‘Dream Deceiver’ meets ‘Beyond The Realms Of Death’.

Too many tracks however are similar in structure, ‘Alone’ and ‘Exile’ both slow and building up as they go. But they are stifled by keyboards and the lack of real aggression, which clearly wasn’t the blueprint for ‘Nostradamus.’

In Summary

It took repeated listenings for me to form a proper opinion of this without being overly critical. A labour of love for the band obviously, years in the making, and a bold attempt to break new ground. Like Iron Maiden however the lack of shorter 3-4 minute songs with metallic urgency detract from the concept here.

Judas Priest, as they did with 2005’s ‘Angel of Retribution’, have welded a compendium of sounds spanning their whole career into this double album. But it veers too heavily into the band’s softer side.

The odd exception excluded, the title track for instance, is what most want to hear, but it’s in short supply. This is far from awful, I just don’t know if it’s what metal fans really want from Judas Priest.

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