by Justin Stockton 8/10
Happy New Years everybody! We made it to 2017 and I gotta say, there is a lot to be excited about this year. With new music slowly but surely sprouting up, it definitely is looking to be a good one. However, I am starting this year of with a review of an album that is thirty years old. Yes like when I first began almost three years ago, I am going back to an album that I want to put my two cents in for and also it is having a 30th anniversary edition released this year as well. The album of course in question Judas Priests “Turbo” which was released on April 14th, 1986 (not quite hitting the mark but close enough). Now a lot of people I know absolutely loath this album and others say it it is their favorite Priest album. I am going to dig into this new three disc edition and tell you if the album still is worth a listen and if the extra goodies really make it worth while.
Part 1: Turbo (official album: disc 1)
1.Turbo Lover- First off, the title track on the album today is still the most popular song and is the one that turned a lot of people off for one main reason: The major emphasis on guitar effects, mainly synthesizers. While yes there are synths used clearly here, I like how they are done in conjunction with Glenn's wickedly flanged out guitar tones. I think it adds a nice layer of musicianship and creativity. Not to mention, the build up and chorus are insanely catchy and just explode with its extreme gleaming 80's feel. This seems to be the only song that still makes it into their live set today but played without any flanger or synths(sad yes) but still does very well as a live song and is a very well written 80's heavy metal song even if it isn't quite as “heavy”.
2.Locked In- I always liked the riffs on this song and always found it to be one of the most catchy tunes on the album as well. It does kind of make Priest sound pop-ish however it still works especially when the razor sharp solo comes in with Glenn and KK having more distinctive sounds to their solo's especially on this album. It is a lot softer than say “screaming for vengeance” but the hooks are their and the super sharp production that I love from this era of the band.
3.Private Property- Glenn uses more more synth effects here as well and pulls of the hookiness of the song as well. I always love to blast this song when driving in the summer, its just one of those catchy tunes with an insanely big chorus as well. The solo has a bit more of a hard rock feel to it but overall this is one of those tunes I want to see make it back into their live set.
4.Parental Guidance- This song is borderline glam metal but still has that Priest edge to it and serves as a big F-U to the PMRC as well even though it kind of sticks to the “young forever” stigma a lot of bands were using at the time. Another tune with very catchy hooks and catches the band in an interesting period.
5.Rock You All Around The World- This is probably the fastest song on the album with that ripneck soloing we all know and love with really big hooks and possibly the best chorus on the whole album. This is easily in my top three tracks on the album for just how big it sounds alone. Another one I want to come back because I believe it would gel well with their earlier material as well as their newer stuff after this period.
6.Out In The Cold- This would be considered the ballad on the album and is a really epic song in my opinion. The synth composition at the beginning is really atmospheric and cool (coming from someone who thoroughly enjoys synth based music as well). It is a song that stays very mid paced throughout but that pace is done very well. One of the best Priest songs of the 80's bar none.
7.Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days- This song literally feels like a Poison song if it weren't for Halfords voice. I dig the vocals in the verses and the bridge to the chorus but when that chorus hits it kind of falls flat to me. It just doesn't have as much of the creative flow I felt the other six songs really had. Still not a bad tune but not the best on the album.
8.Hot For Love-This song has more that speed metal influence to it but with that somewhat commercial flare to it. I still love the riffs and the really frantic synths at the beginning. The rhythm section just has that signature Judas Priest kind of bounce to it and is a great song to rediscover from this remaster.
9.Reckless- My favorite song on the album and one of their most underrated tunes of all time. The main riff is so damn infectious and the verses are written for being in a live set I swear. It is a great finisher to the album and I really hope they pull this out for the next tour it is just that good of an 80s heavy metal song.
Part 2: Judas Priest Live In Kansas City(disc 2)
Now for this live show, I am not going to look at each individual track but an overall presentation of how it sounds and the overall setlist as well. When I first saw this I was a bit skeptical because we already had “Priest...Live!” from this tour and I was worried that this show would just be a watered down version of the official live album from that tour. The production I have to say was a bit more on a bootleg-ish side with less bass output it felt like. However it was clear enough to not be a bootleg. “Out In The Cold” still has enough punch as the opener for the show and still has the energy we have seen from other live versions. This second disc I think holds the real meat of this package because it has more of the live tracks from “Turbo”. Some songs like Metal Gods felt a bit lacking in the mix but songs like Love Bites I really enjoy the more trebled versions of. I also like that on this show I can hear Glenn fiddling with his synth effects more and Desert Plains is also a really nice addition as well. I think this disc captures these songs in their live atmosphere very well and feels honestly more like you are at the show or listening on the radio more than say “Priest..Live” does.
Part 3:Judas Priest Live In Kansas City(disc 3)
This disc includes the last half of the Kansas City show and includes more older Priest tunes that we know and love. I really dig this version of “Electric Eye” I don't know why but it just is a really solid version of the song. I really dig this version of Turbo too because I really like the effects used live, it adds some really cool flair. The rest of the album is standard Priest fair but I honestly think this is the band in their prime in terms of energy and capabilities. Freewheel burning is a real treat and ending with an extremely energetic version of “Hell Bent For Leather” is awesome as well. Overall a solid disc to complete the live package even though it is sort of something we have heard before.
Overall, I give the album a solid 8 out of 10. The album I still think holds up with catchy hooks, good riffs and a very satisfying production that always makes me gush. Being someone that just loves the 80's, this album is a direct product of that time. It has the energy and the creativity that makes it stand out I think. It isn't for everyone I will admit because in 1986, we had bands become heavier and faster while the older guard was acting more experimental but still retained their main image, just with more 80's flair to it. This is an album that isn't as heavy as Defenders or Screaming, but it has enough substance to it to make it an at least enjoyable album to listen ot and captures Judas Priest in an interesting creative time in their history.
But what about the package overall? Does this 30th anniversary edition really satisfy what it really was suppose to achieve? In a way yes. It gave us the album(obviously) and a live show that captured Priest on that tour. It is a simple package but works and serves as a susceptible companion to the Defenders Of The Faith 30th anniversary edition. I only wish that they included the Dallas show on blu Ray or dvd which would have been awesome to see. Also, if you already have the early 2000's remaster and “Priest...Live!” then this version may just be something to gloss over. However, if you are like me and you go crazy for anything Judas Priest, then pick it up because more Judas Priest is never ever a bad thing and with the band working on a new album we can only hope they dig out some rarities from this album to resurrect on tour.
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