BravePicks 2018 – JUDAS PRIEST's Firepower #2

December 30, 2018, 6 months ago

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BravePicks 2018 – JUDAS PRIEST's Firepower #2

Another gruelling year of heavy metal debauchery is almost over! Killing is our business ... and business is good! And this year the metal scene killed it with a myriad of heavy intrigue! So the votes are in and the compiling is complete! It's time to crown the winners and call out the the disappointments.

So who will be our #1? You’ll find out as we count down the BravePick Of 2018 each day in December! And our devout scribes killed it as well, putting their collective metal minds together to build the ultimate lists including individual Top 20s (new studio albums ONLY), Top 5 Brave Embarrassments (a fan favorite!), Top 3 Concerts, What/Who Needs To Stop In 2018? and Metal Predictions For 2019. All will be showcased come the New Year!

'Tis the season to commence the good, bad and ugly of 2018! On with the cream of this year's crop!

BravePicks 2018

2) JUDAS PRIEST – Firepower (Epic)

Firing on all cylinders. And like a fine wine the heavy metal legends Judas Priest have seemed to become better and better with age. Redeemer Of Souls was a strong return to form in 2014, but 2018 sees it all coming together with their best album since Painkiller. Firepower lives true to its name with expertly crafted classic heavy metal with a modern edge with searing tracks like “Necromancer”, the blazing title track, or the pounding “Evil Never Dies”. It’s a feel good record with incredible energy and riffage from a band that sounds like they are in their prime, rather than in their late 60s-70s (excluding guitarist Richie Faulkner. With Rob Halford’s best vocal performance in year, this is an emphatic stamp of British Steel as Firepower shoots in at #2 on our countdown.

“I think Firepower is more focused. When we sat down with both producers Tom Allom, and Andy Sneap (as co-producer), we wanted to make a more direct experience than we had with Redeemer (Of Souls)”, said Halford to BW’s Rich Catino in a feature interview. “It was a simple conversation, and they knew what we were going for, especially Tom because he worked on all our albums from British Steel up through Ram It Down. There are still a couple big moments on Firepower, like ‘Rising From The Ruins’, the back end of ‘Sea of Red’. But everything else, the front and back end of the album, is all guns blazing. But we are the band that gave you ‘Painkiller’, ‘The Sentinel’, Sin After Sin, to ‘Beyond The Realms Of Death’, ‘Before The Dawn’. So before you even make a record you know the areas you need to cover, give you an experience of what Priest is all about. So it was important to have that more epic expression somewhere in Firepower. And then the song that follows ‘Ruins’, ‘Flame Thrower’, which has a different texture and delivery to it.”

Faulkner said, “I feel Redeemer, across all the songs, depending which one, touched on all era of Priest. But this one I think it is more of a complete album, consistent unto itself.  Also again, there is still this drive to do better and surpass the last album. But, in a way you become biased to it because you are close to it and try to separate yourself from it so everything doesn’t seem like it will be good. Try and be objective.  And this time we had two producers in the studio. Tom, who worked with Priest from Unleashed in the East up through Ram It Down, he really kicked Rob’s butt and worked with him on the vocals. And Rob trusts him. There are so many vocal harmonies on Firepower. And Andy Sneap, who has produced so many great sounding albums, worked well with Tom.”  

BravePicks 2018 Top 30

2) JUDAS PRIEST - Firepower (Epic)
3) AT THE GATES - To Drink From The Night Itself (Century Media)
4) STRIKER - Play To Win (Record Breaking)
5) GHOST - Prequelle (Loma Vista)
6) CORROSION OF CONFORMITY - No Cross No Crown (Nuclear Blast)
7) VOIVOD - The Wake (Century Media)
8) WARREL DANE - Shadow Work (Century Media)
10) SLEEP - The Sciences (Third Man)
11) BULLET - Dust To Gold (Steamhammer / SPV)
12) DEAFHEAVEN - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love (Anti-)
13) RIVERS OF NIHIL - Where Owls Know My Name (Metal Blade)
14) IMMORTAL - Northern Chaos Gods (Nuclear Blast)
15) BLOODBATH - The Arrow Of Satan Is Drawn (Peaceville)
16) AMORPHIS - Queen Of Time (Nuclear Blast)
17) BLACK LABEL SOCIETY – Grimmest Hits (eOne)
18) IHSAHN – Ámr (Candlelight / Spinefarm)
19) THE DEAD DAISIES - Burn It Down (Spitfire / SPV)
20) MELIAH RAGE - Idol Hands (Metal On Metal)
21) ALICE IN CHAINS - Rainier Fog (BMG)
22) HIGH ON FIRE - Electric Messiah (eOne)
23) MAMMOTH GRINDER - Cosmic Crypt (Relapse)
24) ICARUS WITCH - Goodbye Cruel World (Cleopatra)
25) UNLEASHED - The Hunt For White Christ (Napalm)
26) SATAN - Cruel Magic (Metal Blade)
27) GRAHAM BONNET BAND - Meanwhile, Back In The Garage (Frontiers)
28) MONSTROSITY – The Passage Of Existence (Metal Blade)
29) GRUESOME – Twisted Prayers (Relapse)
30) DIMMU BORGIR - Eonian (Nuclear Blast)

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