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Judas Priest - Turbo

Another "Judas Priest" album released on April 14, 1986, is "Turbo".

Yes, this is a magical day for "Judas Priest" as two of its albums were released today 6 years apart.

But such a great difference between these two albums, especially compared to the previous and excellent album the band released two years earlier - "Defenders of the Faith".

This is perhaps Judas' most commercialized album, it is full of synthesizers, not real ones, but the kind that is produced using a guitar effect called "Guitar Synthesizer". This album was the subject of criticism from fans and critics, but we just love it and we are here to change your minds about it.

This album was originally supposed to be a double album. It was even supposed to be called "Twin Turbos".

After the end of the demanding tour to promote the previous album "Defenders of the Faith" in 1984, the band took a long break without performing. For a whole year, the band did not perform, except for taking part in the tribute show "Live Aid". This long period allowed the band to write materials that would suffice for a double album.

The material written for the album matched the change in the music world of the mid-1980s. On the one hand, the topics of writing were addressed among other themes like love and romance. Second, Judas emphasized commercialized and synthesized sound. It is interesting to note that the change in musical style was accompanied by a change in the looks of the band. Hair was puffed up and leather clothes were lengthened and changed to match the prevailing trends of the 1980s.


Eventually, it was decided to filter out the much-recorded material and release only one album that would include the most accessible and catchy material, and would simply be called "Turbo", with the rest of the material saved for the next album "Ram It Down". Which of the two is better? In our opinion without a doubt "Turbo", despite the synthesis and commercialization!

During the writing period, Rob Halford experienced a crisis in his love life, which was also accompanied by increased drug and alcohol use. He underwent a quick and effective rehab process from which he came out even stronger, but this obviously delayed the recordings.

As we mentioned, this album is probably the band's most commercialized and synthesized album, but we have no problem with it, and even vice versa. We really like this diversity in the sound of the band so much appreciated and loved by us. There is no other album like this for Judas in all of its mighty repertoire so it always stands as "Rose among Thorns" and as an album that we always love going back to.

As for the synthesizers, one must first understand the period in which this album came out, most of the bands went through some process during this period and Judas chose to do it in an original way and instead of adding keyboards moved the guitars of Tipton and K. K. through a guitar synthesizer effect. Iron Maiden did the same about six months later with the album "Somewhere in Time", with Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and even Steve Harris passing their "Destroyer instruments" through the commercial effect, and what a blast of an album this was!!!

The synthesizer effect can be felt from the first note of the album, in the intro of "Turbo Lover". Some of the band fans who listened to the album in real-time did not understand what was going on with their beloved band, especially after a strong album like "Defenders of the Faith". But the deeper you went into the "guts" of the album, the more we were blown away by this sweet magic. This is the first song written for the album. The band rented a house by the sea in the city of Marbella in Spain and began writing the materials for the album. Tipton brought with him a guitar synth effect and Halford recalls that he pressed the pedal and the sound that came out from the guitar is exactly the same sound that is heard right at the opening of the track. The jaws of the people in the room just opened wide and they immediately realized that this is the direction they wants to take the album to. This effect sound was exactly like a turbo engine that had just been ignited and it was clear to them that it was also going to be the name of the song and of the album. This sound of the guitar effect is so overwhelming that even the band's toughest fans who protested the commercial style on this album, roar their souls out as soon as it is heard at the band's performances. The melody and the sound of this song are so good that even the great opponents of this sound manage to forgive and forget.

The second track on the album - "Locked In" is another catchy song released as the second single from the album. And how beautiful the "classical" and melodic solo in this song is, which is initially played by the two guitarists simultaneously, and later splits with a lead by Tipton, arguably one of the great solos the band has released. And what an amazing sweep-picking technique there is here. And if we're honest for a moment, then except for the synth solo in the song's intro and background vocals, this track screams "Screaming for Vengeance" from the melody and the overall vibe.

"Parental Guidance" was released as the third single from the album and was written as a protest against the censorship and war of attrition waged by Tipper Gore and the "Parents Music Resource Center", led against "Judas Priest" and others, just for daring to write about non-conservative topics and include blunt language. It is interesting to note that the song "Eat Me Alive" from the previous album was also directed against the same Mrs. Gore and the same organization.

The band chose to open the other side of the vinyl with an interesting choice - "Out in the Cold". A quiet song with the most synthesizer sounds you will hear on the album. What a long and special intro, even the sounds of the drums here went through an effect designatmatch them to the sounds of the synthesizer. But when the song erupts out in 1:29, paradise erupts along with it. What a tremendous song, what emotion in Halford's singing, what an amazing and sweeping melody, and what a full sound and rich production.

The song "Reckless" was requested by the producers of the "Top Gun" movie to be included in the film's soundtrack, but Judas refused, as they thought the film would fail and also because it meant giving up the song and not including it on the album. Just imagine Tom Cruise riding the motorcycle to the tune of this special song that seals the album.

Needless to say, this album was Priest's most successful album to date and it held that title for a good few decades until 2015, when the band released "Angel of Retribution". Songs from it climbed high on the charts and the clips from it took MTV by storm.

What's beautiful about Priest is that despite the relative success of this album and even though it made the band enter mainstream charts and radio0 with its catchy and commercial production, that success did not cross their minds, and they immediately recovered and returned to produce their great masterpiece "Painkiller".

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