On September 3, 1990, the best "painkiller" was discovered in metal. The "Painkiller" album by "Judas Priest"!!!
"Judas Priest" is without a doubt one of the bands that have shaped the metal world. True, "Judas" is not really one of the founding generation of the genre, but it was definitely there in the early years, influencing, teaching, and serving as a role model for the young metal bands that came after, from sound and musical style to appearance and performance.
And like any good lecturer in academia, "Judas Priest" was always changing, developing, and learning on their own, until in the early 1980s, they seemed to crack the formula with a streak of masterful albums like "British Steel", "Screaming for Vengeance" and "Defenders of the Faith" which raised them to the top of the metal world.
But just then, at the height of its success and popularity, "Judas Priest" presses the "Turbo" button and releases a commercial and synthesized album, which although we love it very much personally, managed to drive away some of its fans. And it did not end there, because the band's attempt to "fix while cruising" with "Ram It Down" almost led to multiple flips and a crash ...
The first to pay the price for "negligent driving" was veteran drummer Dave Holland, who was replaced by Scott Travis who had previously played with "Racer X". Beyond the fact that Scott has become the band's long-lasting drummer who plays with them to this day, his addition to the band was one of the factors that made this album one of the band's greatest and one of the most notable in Metal.
Travis brought with him a powerful drumming style and renewed energies, and although he was hardly involved in the creative process of the album, his influence was substantial and noticeable in almost every song.
Scott Travis' influence can be heard already in the first few seconds of the album, with the double bass and the powerful and crazy drumming that sets the tone for the theme song "Painkiller". Travis' increased BPM seems to pull the guitars of Glenn Tipton and K. K. Downing deep into Speed Metal, with one of the band's most powerful songs. It is not a coincidence that Rob Halford stated in an interview with "! Kerrang" magazine in 2013ת that this is the song that he is most proud of writing-wise. The "Painkiller" is a kind of cyborg, a metallic superhero, who appears on the album cover and came to save humanity from the forces of evil.
But this album is not just Travis of course, it combines edgy riffs, melodic solos, and an unimaginable singing ability that breaks the sound barrier in supersonic booms. Glenn Tipton, K. K. Downing, and Rob Halford are simply at their peak both in terms of writing and performance.
This album does not stop for a moment and does not give you a minute of rest, with an attack of chainsaw riffs, melodic solos, and powerful singing. "Hell Patrol" refers to U.S. Air Force pilots in the first Gulf War who bombed repeatedly in Iraq to prevent the firing of Scud missiles, the smoking guns of "All Guns Blazing" exploding at an insane rate of fire of Scott Travis and Ian Hill and all aimed for Destruction, "Leather Rebel" which is a sort of autobiography of Rob Halford and somehow manages to stay melodic and catchy despite the fast double bass rhythm, "Metal Meltdown" with the amazing guitar work of the duo Downing and Tipton on the verge of Thrash, the dark and heavy "Night Crawler" with The creepy recitation and chilling guitar section, the charged and melodic "Between the Hammer & the Anvil" and the warlike "One Shot at Glory", are all excellent songs that maintain a very high level, with a more or less uniformed sound and style.
But then comes the surprise of the album. "A Touch of Evil" is a song that is strange and different compared to the rest of the album and without a doubt one of its greatest. This song is the only one co-written with producer Chris Tsangarides, who wrote its lead riff. Unlike most of the tracks on the album, this song is full of synthesizers played by none other than Don Airey who is familiar to us from his work with Ozzy Osbourne, Gary Moore, and of course "Deep Purple". What a melodic and amazing solo, on the classical border, Tipton gives here, what a mind-blowing singing by Rob Halford that on the one hand is very melodic and delicate and even reminds us of himself in the song "Night Comes Down" from the album "Defenders of the Faith", and on the other hand is rough and powerful with high notes touching the sky. This song chills us over and over again and it is definitely not just the ringing of the bell in its opening. The title of the song and the lyrics give the feeling that this is a kind of dark song that speaks of black magic or acts of the devil and evil, but Halford surprised us and noted that it is a kind of love song.
Interesting to note, that the extended version of the album from 2011 includes another song - "Living Bad Dreams", which was recorded on the same album sessions, in which Don Airey also plays keyboards. This is a kind of quiet ballad, which is apparently left out of the album due to its slightly different style.
This album reached gold status only one month after its release and is currently selling over two million copies worldwide. But more than the relative commercial success, this album restored Judas Priest's relevance, which it lacked in the second half of the 1980s.
Unfortunately, it was then that friction began to emerge between the band members. Frictions that intensified due to Rob Halford's desire to start a side project. The rest of the band thought Halford should devote his entire time to the band, especially when they were regaining popularity. But growing pressure on Halford gave its signals when in 1992 he announced to the band members by fax, that he was leaving. Halford focused on his solo band "Fight" and his solo career in the following years, but will return to the mother band in 2005.