Judas Priest –‘Firepower’


THE BAND:
Rob Halford – vocals
Ian Hill – bass
Glenn Tipton – guitars
Scott Travis – drums
Richie Faulkner – guitars

 

TRACK FRAGMENTS:
1.) “Firepower” –This track opens with a rhythm guitar riff.  Just from the rhythm guitar riff alone if you don’t know who this band is then you are not a heavy metal fan!  Underneath the second riff of the intro Scott sets the time with his hi-hat.  About halfway through the second riff Rod sings a vocal accent.  It is at this time Scott and Ian kick in the drum and bass line.  In many ways the way Scott played the drum line of this intro reminded you a lot of the drum line he played on the Judas Priest song “Painkiller” which was the first single take off of the CD ‘Painkiller released on September 3, 1990.  There was a snare drum fill followed by Scott hitting cymbal crashes on the same notes that Glenn and Ritchie where playing.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse however Glenn and Ritchie did not change the rhythm too much.  For the drum line of the verse instead of opening and closing the hi-hat it sounded as if he switched to the hi-hat on the left side of his kit and used a different size.  Now this is just what I am guess he is doing.  There was a rhythm change for the musical chorus.  Scott switched to a double-bass drum pattern for the chorus and then switched back to a single bass drum for the second verse.  I was expecting Scott to use his ride cymbal for the chorus however he stuck with his hi-hat.  The musical chorus consisted of that intense Judas Priest hook.  Scott’s tom-toms have an amazing sound to them!  After the second chorus the lead guitar section starts off as a single solo then switches to a twin lead guitar solo over the top of an overdubbed rhythm guitar riff.  After the lead guitar solo there was a musical breakdown section that consisted of lead vocals.  For the breakdown section Scott switched from a hi-hat pattern to a double-bass/tom-tom pattern.  The breakdown lead to a second guitar solo section.  This second lead guitar solo was all twin lead guitar.  After the second solo there was a huge tom-tom fill that lead to a second breakdown section.  Over the top of the coda there was several lead guitar notes.

2.) “Lightning Strike” -This track was the first single taken off the CD.  This intro consisted of a double-bass drum pattern underneath a rhythm guitar riff.  After a measure there was a vocal accent.  This vocal accent had an echo attached to it.  The vocal accent lead to a twin lead guitar lick.  There was a full snare/tom-tom fill to connect the musical intro with the musical verse.  There was no rhythm guitar change for the musical verse.  Rob carried out the last lyric of the last lyric line of the verse.  Rob double-tracked the first lyric line of the chorus then the last couple of lyrics of the second lyric line.  The chorus consisted of a heavy Judas Priest hook.  There were a couple lead guitar licks connecting the first chorus with the second verse.  One of these licks there was done with a tremolo bar.  This particular lick went back and forth between the left and right speakers.  In between the second and third lyric lines of the second verse there was a lead guitar lick.  For the choruses of this song when Rob sings the lyrics “lighting to strike” there was a vocal effect attached to it.  After the second chorus there was a small minor lead guitar solo that lead to a musical breakdown.  This musical breakdown also consisted of a few lyric lines.  The lyric lines of the breakdown sounded as if they were double-tracked.  The actual lead guitar solo starts underneath the lyric lines of the breakdown section.  The major lead guitar solo was a twin lead guitar solo.  There were a few lead guitar licks over the top of the coda.       
3.) “Evil Never Dies” – The intro to this track opened with a snare/tom-tom crack.  After the snare/tom-tom crack the rhythm guitar arrangement of the intro section kicked in.  Underneath the rhythm guitar Scott set the time and began playing a hi-hat pattern.  Two measures into the intro and Scott kicked the drum line in with a cymbal crash.  The band used the same rhythm guitar arrangement for both the intro and musical verse.  There was a drum fill that connected the musical verse to the rhythm guitar change of the musical chorus.  For the musical chorus Scott switched from a single bass drum pattern to a double bass drum pattern.  In between the third fourth fifth and sixth lyric lines of the second verse there was a small lead guitar lick.  After the second chorus there was a small musical breakdown that lead to a lead guitar solo.  After the lead guitar solo there was a musical change where the band drastically slowed the song down.  As this musical change progressed the band slowly speeded the song back up again to its regular speed.  This lead to a minor lead guitar solo.  The coda consisted of a chorus.  Underneath the lyric lines of this chorus there was a minor lead guitar solo.

4.) “Never the Heroes” – This intro opened with a special effect that sounded as if it was done with a keyboard.  The effect reminded me a lot of the effects the band used on their ‘Turbo’ CD released on April 14, 1986.  As the effect progressed a lead guitar kicked in.  After the guitar riff was repeated twice Scott kicked in the drum line with a sixteenth-note hi-hat pattern.  Scott kicked in the main musical intro with one of the longest tom-tom fills I believe I have ever heard in a song! After the drum fill the lead guitar licks were switched to a rhythm guitar arrangement.  The rhythm guitar arrangements of the main intro section consisted of a huge Judas Priest musical hook.  The musical verse opened with just a bass and drum line.  The band used a very clear tone sound for the rhythm guitar arrangement of the musical verse.  The way the rhythm guitar was arranged made the bass and drum line the main instrumentation.  The last lyric of the last lyric line had a vocal echo attached to it.  Rob’s vocals were amazing sounding on this track.  The musical verse consisted of two different rhythm guitar arrangements one on top of the other.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical chorus.  For the musical chorus both guitarists switched to playing the same rhythm guitar arrangement.  There was a couple lead guitar licks connecting the first chorus with the second verse.  The fourth and fifth lyric lines of the second verse was double-tracked.  The second to the last lyric of the last lyric line of the second verse had an echo attached to it.  After the second chorus there was a rhythm guitar change leading into the lead guitar solo.  There was a couple lead guitar licks over the top of the coda.
5.) “Necromancer” – This track was a straight-forward modern-day Judas Priest song.     
6.) “Children of the Sun” -This track opens with a rhythm guitar riff.  After the riff is played twice the rest of the band kicks in.  Both rhythm guitars, the bass line and drum line are all playing the same notes.  This gave the intro a heavy almost Black Sabbath without Tony Iommi sound.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse.  Even the way Rob arranged the lyric line had a classic Sabbath feel to it.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical chorus.  As a former drummer, I really liked the drum line Scott wrote for this song.  There was a huge drum fill connecting the second verse with the second chorus.  After the second chorus there was a rhythm guitar change and a slowing down of the arrangement.  They slowed the arrangement down to an almost ballad style arrangement.  The last lyric line of this section of music was double-tracked.  There was just a single guitar guitar solo and that would have been the only thing I would have changed.  I would have made the solo section a very laid back melodic twin lead guitar solo.  There was a lead guitar solo underneath the chorus repeat of the coda.

7.) “Guardians” -Instrumental (If I’m correct this was the first instrumental Judas Priest has ever done)
8.) “Rising from Ruins” – This track consisted of a fairly simple Judas Priest intro arrangement.  There was a minor lead guitar solo that connected the musical intro with the musical pre-verse.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical pre-verse.  Scott opted to use his ride cymbal instead of his hi-hat for the drum line of the musical pre-verse.  The pre-verse itself was slowed down considerably in comparison to the intro.  It was almost written in the style of a ballad.  For the last lyric of the last lyric line there was a small echo added to Rob’s vocals.  After the echo the band speeded up the song.  The band slowed the song back down for the verse.  The chorus consisted of a rhythm arrangement change.  The way the band arranged the lyric lines of the chorus along with the harmonies gave the chorus a choir effect.  After the chorus there was a rhythm arrangement change.  For this rhythm arrangement change Scott change the drum line to a sixteenth-note hi-hat pattern.  The second verse consisted of a keyboard arrangement underneath the guitar arrangement.  This song consisted of an amazing Judas Priest twin lead guitar solo.  After the solo there was a musical breakdown section.  Underneath the chorus of the coda there was a minor lead guitar solo.

9.) “Flame Thrower” – This song was a very simple Judas Priest song.
10.) “Spectre” – This song is the second single taken off the CD. This song had a strange sound to it.  In many ways it reminded me of something Alice Cooper would have written.
11.) “Traitors Gate”  - This was just an amazingly well written song!

12.) “No Surrender” –The hook of this song was utterly amazing!!!!!
13.) “Lone Wolf” – This intro opened with a single rhythm guitar arrangement over the top of a hi-hat pattern.  The rhythm guitar was done with an effects pedal.  After about two measures there was a snare drum fill that kicked in the main musical intro section.  The main intro had a very heavy sound to it.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse.  Every time Rob sings the lyric “hey” there was an echo attached to it.  There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical chorus.  There was a huge drum fill connecting the first chorus with the second verse.  After the second chorus there was a breakdown section that consisted of the same musical arrangement as the intro except this one had lyric lines.  The breakdown section lead to a lead guitar solo.  The solo section consisted of a single solo then a twin lead guitar solo.                
14.) “Sea of Red” – This was an awesome ballad.  The guitar work on it was just fucking amaszing!


    First and foremost, this CD will more than likely be the last CD that original guitarist Glenn Tipton will be on due to him being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.  Glenn handpicked his replacement and told the band he wanted producer/guitarist Andy Sneap to fill in for him tour.  Glenn is also wit the band on tour and comes out and plays on a song here and there (I don’t know how many or which ones).  Not long after this announcement was made, original guitarist KK Downing stated in an interview he did not think that was Glenn on the CD.  Well, as a longtime Judas Priest fan I am here to tell you that either Glenn is on the CD or Andy has to be one hell of a guitarist because Glenn has a very distinct guitar sound and you can hear it all over this CD.

    ‘Firepower’ marks the eighteenth studio album Judas Priest has released.  The CD consists of fourteen classic Judas Priest cuts.  All the songs are very similar in style to the stuff the band wrote on their ‘Painkiller’ CD released on September 3, 1990.   I have been a Judas Priest fan since I first heard ‘British Steel’ in 1980.  Since becoming a fan there isn’t too many Judas Priest albums Hell songs for that matter that I can say I have a complete distaste for.  I like or love them all!  I have to say even for no longer than I have heard ‘Firepower’ it has quickly become ranked as one of my all-time favorite Judas Priest releases!!  There is no doubt in my mind that at the end of the year ‘Firepower’ will be ranked up there as one of the top-heavy metal albums released this year.  If your into heavy metal then ‘Firepower’ is an absolute must own for your CD collection and believe me it will be heavily rotated!