In Praise of the Timeless Priest
January 29, 2017
Nick Ruskell examines the impact, attitude and accomplishments of metal’s finest, our Artist of the Month – Judas Priest…
Time moves on, things change, people change, movements come and go. Some things become of their time, dated. But for the truly special, age is merely a number, and what lives at their very core remains as fresh and sharp as the day it was first conceived.
This has never been truer than in the case of Birmingham metal gods Judas Priest. In 2017, there is still no band who embody the power, passion and life-affirming attitude of heavy metal than this band of leather-clad metal maniacs.
Forever pushing forward in search of new ground, the core of Judas Priest has nevertheless remained consistently simple, yet indomitably powerful. Their impact on the world of metal is beyond measure – they remain one of the few artists for whom even Metallica would step aside – sharpening and strengthening the genre’s sonic power with each successive album.
Thanks in no small part to Glenn Tipton and KK Downing’s trademark sparring twin guitars on songs like ‘Electric Eye’ or ‘Rapid Fire’.
Just listen to the backbone he helps form on early rager ‘Hell Bent For Leather’, or the way he and Scott Travis mix breakneck speed with pulsing sturdiness on the thrashing ‘Painkiller’.
And now with a relatively new iron in the fire, guitarist Richie Faulkner, replacing KK who departed in 2011, the steel doesn’t show signs of softening any time soon.
And their unwavering, never say die lyrical approach has never aged. Here, you have a band whose pioneering spirit has actually made real changes in the world, musically, aesthetically and culturally.
Now, in 2017, Priest remain a gleaming, shining monument to everything that makes this music so brilliant. But they’ve also never been more relevant. Younger bands looking for power, fury and fearlessness beyond simple pit-starting heaviness continue to look to Priest for inspiration.
At the 2016 Alternative Press Music Awards, Japanese cute-metal trio BabyMetal performed ‘Painkiller’ flanked by Halford himself, and even Lady Gaga has been highly vocal in her love for the band, praising Priest for inspiration, not least of all in the live setting – again, their importance cannot be understated.
But this is a two-way street of inspiration, and it is perhaps this that has kept Judas Priest at metal’s frontline for so long. They continue to appeal to new generations of metal maniacs because they themselves are metal maniacs.
Bring Me The Horizon, letlive., Electric Wizard, You Me At Six, All Time Low, Behemoth, Immortal… are all bands who have had the seal of approval, while the patch-jacket worn onstage every night features as many of these new faces as it does Judas Priests’ peers.
Such a champion spirit never grows old. And nor does the power or passion of Judas Priest.
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