Redeemer of Souls is the new song by heavy metal legends Judas Priest, ahead of the release of the album of the same name on July 14th.
It’s the first new Judas Priest song since 2008’s Nostradamus, and also the first since the departure of founding guitarist K.K.Downing left the group in 2011 and was replaced by ex-Voodoo Six guitarist Richie Faulkner. The song has all the elements of the classic Priest sound, such as the strong operatic voice of Rob Halford which is much better than expected, a good deal of catchiness in the riffs and the chorus, as well as a strong melodic guitar solo, and there’s a strong sense of enthusiasm and passion coming through. But although it contains these elements, what it lacks is power. It might be unfair to ask them to recreate the power and sheer epic sound of Stained Class, or Painkiller, but the track is a little flat, especially in the chorus. It’s a little too melodic and commercial sounding, and although he sounds good over the rest of the track, on the chorus Rob’s voice is lacking in energy somewhat. And although the riffs in the track are catchy, but they’re not particularly fast, they seem to plod along without reaching the powerful sound of earlier output. It’s the same with the solo, it sounds nice and melodic, but its ultimately a bit too slow and a little uncreative compared to others in the Priest canon, it’s not even close to Beyond the Realms of Death.
Ultimately it’s a decent enough track, and it sounds about as good as you would expect Judas Priest to sound in 2014. With most of the band members being in their sixties it’s a good effort, and though they’ve lost a bit of pace and energy compared to the early years, they make up for it with enthusiasm. By slowing it down a little they seem to be playing to their strengths, rather than trying and failing to recreate their older material. It’s decent enough, and if they can write some faster, more powerful tracks on the rest of the album then it could very well be an interesting listen.