(TheBRHM.com) We’re back for the “Best of the Decade” with the band that made me a metalhead: Judas Priest! We’ve done the 70s, we tackled the plentiful 80s, we dabbled in the 90s, and now we dive into the 2000s.
Judas Priest Rolls into the 2000s
The 2000s was kind of like the 90s where Priest didn’t have the beefiest discography that they did in the 70s and 80s. Mind you, this was a period where Priest really had to prove they still had it as they were closing in on 30 year as a band.
In that time, they’d seen speed metal, thrash, and power metal and the band inspired many acts that pioneered and thrived in those subgenres.
With three albums released in that decade, what was the best? As always we start at the weakest or the least impressive and end with the best album of that decade.
Still rocking with the impressive Tim “Ripper” Owens as the lead singer, this album was…I’d say it wasn’t exactly Judas Priest or what you’d want out of Priest. It was different would be the kindest way to put it.
Many reviews of Demolition was that it was simply a bad or weak album. Those reviews made he hesitant to give it a go but I did anyway—a few times.
While it didn’t wow me and it’s definitely at the bottom of my list out of all Priest albums, it wasn’t rock-bottom bad. If anything, it’s a mediocre album. It just sits a little past the middle of an out of a hundred scale.
I’m a big vocals guy and Ripper gave an amazing effort on the album and managed to pull some songs that just didn’t or would hit in any decade outside of the early 2000s to a spot where you’d have to really think “Was this a bad song?”
I think this album suffered from trends of the time. The late 90s and early 00s was a period for more aggressive rock—nu metal and stuff that came out in that period.
I’d say that the good thing about this album is that Priest was pretty much on time for a trend or influence in rock music this time around. The problem is that it was the wrong trend to indulge.
Priest should’ve just gone its own way or continued along the path set by Jugulator. Hell, it could’ve just did what our top entry did and brought it back to a modern version of the band’s 80s period.
Recommended Tracks: Cyberface, Metal Messiah
Following the next entry, Judas Priest had the singer they felt they could ultra epic with in Rob Halford. Honestly, I felt they could’ve done it with Tim Owens but he came in on a meh period for Priest in general.
Nostradamus was Priest flirting with Iron Maiden levels of epic and dropping a double disc concept album about the titular Nostradamus and his visions. On one hand, it’s an ambitious album that isn’t without some strong tracks. However, it’s a bit much at times.
It’s not that it’s a bit much sound-wise, I’m talking about the project as a whole. I don’t think I really needed Judas Priest to do a concept album Nostradamus—unless Nostradamus was going to be another Metal God in the band’s mythology.
That’s part of my issue with the album. When I rediscovered rock in the first half of the 2000s and really got into metal in 2005-2006, I went through Judas Priest’s discography from Rocka Rolla to Angel of Retribution. You get this idea of a band or act when you do this and you have an idea of what you like about them.
My thing has always been heart-pumping anthems and larger-than-life sci-fi characters—the Metal Gods—when it came to Priest. That’s what I want. If Nostradamus was a Metal Gods concept album, I’d been all over this and would’ve probably defended the album if it was mid. Yeah, I’ll admit it.
When I heard that it was a concept album about the life of Nostradamus it was like “OK, I mean, this isn’t what I wanted nor do I really care about Nostradamus but maybe it’ll be fine.”
In reality, it’s better than fine but I wouldn’t say it was great. It’s a solid-to-pretty good album that really depends on what mood you’re in. Or rather, when compared to Demolition it’s a good album and when compared to our last entry, it’s a solid album.
With that said, I liked the direction here. Epic Judas Priest can rock, the theme in this case was just not interesting. I was never bored to tears while listening because the music and vocals are both primo, the theme just did nothing for me at all.
Recommended Tracks: Prophecy, War*, Exile**
Best of the Decade: Angel of Retribution (2005)
Here we are! Of three albums released in the 2000s, the album featuring the return of classic line-up lead singer Rob Halford following eleven years away kicked right into the gear that an aging Priest should’ve been in.
When I originally went through their catalog, I read up on the history of band and even listened some of the solo projects that dropped in the period Rob Halford was away. Angel of Retribution isn’t going to blow you away since it sounds more 80s Priest with cleaner production and more experience.
As a matter of fact, I’d liken it to Halford’s 2000, 2002, and 2010 albums Resurrection, Crucible, and Made of Metal as far as quality and what to expect. Again, there’s nothing new or special here but there is a little speed and a decent amount of heaviness.
It was a good introduction to new fans who didn’t want start from scratch and a solid “Welcome back” for older fans who left after Painkiller to discover bands that would give them what they wanted: hard rockin’ Judas Priest. Sometimes that’s all you want when it comes to this band—for Priest to just rock hard and ride free and that’s what you get with AoR. It just comes with 00s production.
Of the three albums, this one was the most consistent without being either inconsistent, not good at all, or just a little too much. It’s a good album that doesn’t do too much but…rock. It’s not rocking at maximum level for a band of older, veteran rockers—I think their stuff from the last decade rocks harder—but it’s definitely their best work of the 2000s.
Recommended Tracks: Judas Rising*, Deal with the Devil**, Worth Fighting For*
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.