Judas Priest – “Painkiller”
Imagine my utter shock and dismay when I took a stroll through the archives of Teen Ink to find a disappointing lack of reviews of British heavy metal band Judas Priest. “Painkiller,” acclaimed as one of the band’s most prodigious offerings (and my personal favorite) was Judas Priest’s twelfth studio album.
Despite its having been released in 1990, this album remains one of the greatest “complete” metal albums. You can hit play on any track and be thunderstruck by the simple yet hard-hitting lyrics, electrifying riffs, and of course the breakneck finger-melting, mind-numbing solos that metal fans crave.
Judas Priest – “Painkiller” Essay Example
Things kick off from the get-go on the title track. Lead singer Rob Halford’s octave-defying vocal range gets you fired up for the impending march of the Painkiller (a fictional creation of Judas Priest that the song revolves around). Even though it’s doubtful anybody could replicate Halford’s astounding vocals (somewhat akin to King Diamond), you can’t stop yourself from singing along to the chorus: “He … is … the PAIN-KILL-ER! This … is … the PAIN-KILL-ER!”
And did I mention the drum solos? Scott Travis, following the departure of Dave Holland, takes his craft to a whole new level. He sets the groundwork for what makes this album a true classic.
Guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton are bloody madmen (I had to squeeze in a bit of British lingo). If you don’t believe me, go check out the tunes “Metal Meltdown” and “Hell Patrol.” To see these guys playing live must be a real treat, as I’ve ascertained from watching a few of their scarce concert videos.
However, don’t assume their songs are all expeditious for the sake of speed; they slow things down at the album’s end with the oft-underrated “Living Bad Dreams,” which brings a smooth rhythmic close to this breathtaking album. In my opinion, “Painkiller” takes its place at the top of the heavy metal regime alongside such greats as Metallica’s “Master of Puppets,” Iron Maiden’s “The Number of the Beast,” and Megadeth’s “Peace Sells – But Who’s Buying?”
Unfortunately, I can only recommend this album to those who have delved into metal’s roots, as I have found that Halford’s vocal styling can be off-putting to those unaccustomed to the genre. That said, if this album has somehow slipped by you, take a moment and give some serious thought to purchasing this unsung hero of heavy metal.
After nearly two decades, “Painkiller” is still the favorite of many a metalhead, and I can almost guarantee you’ll find yourself unable to part with it.