JUDAS PRIEST - Turbo (30th Anniversary Edition)
January 30, 2017, a year ago
Well, as usual, a Priest reissue is a bit screwy. Having used up non-LP studio tracks on earlier reissues that would have fit better here, the (one year late) 30th anniversary reissue goes for two CDs worth of live concert, from Kepmer Arena, Kansas City. It’s basically getting Priest... Live! again, the key difference from a Turbo standpoint being that the official live album included “Parental Guidance,” which is swapped out here for the much better “Locked In.” Always liked that track, even if it’s the new party metal direction, because there’s a nip an’ tuck lift to it for the chorus. And what of Turbo? Seems like we can “celebrate” even the most contentious albums, can’t we, based on a tidy anniversary date? Well, as the story goes, this is the hair metal album, with the too-planned costumes, the teased hair, Rob as a bleached blonde, softened cover art in both theme and colouring (even it seems bleached) and something called synthesizer guitars.
Many of the songs are horrible, but the gems make up for it (part-ways), and... wait for it... I actually like the production, especially against the dated clang of Defenders Of The Faith. Turbo sounds thumpy, rich, full-bodied, muscular, and yes, kinda goofy cool with them buzzing synthesizer guitars, which are often massaged in against regular guitars come solo time. Horrible are “Parental Guidance,” Private Property” and “Rock You All Around the World,” just insipid, cynical, pandering. But man, the band strike an intriguing balance between hair metal and a curious mainstream metal—call it hair metal from ’83 and ’84, crossed with Metal Blade—on the dramatic and textured “Turbo Lover,” on “Reckless,” “Locked In” and “Out In The Cold.” These are well-written songs with some heft to them, truly actualized examples of the spin Glenn puts on this record when he tries to chat it up. Beware, there’s the typical phenomenon of metal heads you respect, and some even in bands, who would have been born around 1971, who slap their knee and swear up and down how audacious and successful Turbo is. But don’t believe them. It’s a mild curio, yes, the lone Priest hair metal album, with some sensible songwriting (and much yummy soloing), not that the band recovered their ability to write on Ram It Down. Those songs might even be worse, but for different reasons.