Me? This is the 7th Priest record I own, but I would not ever claim to be an expert. Proceed accordingly.
I’m just gonna go from the gut. With the good headphones on. As always.
Let’s give ‘er:
What we have here is 13 tracks of real metal, from people who know what the hell they are doing as they go about it. There is no kidding around, here. This album is fucking STRONG.
When I started out listening, I intended to review each track, but I just kept writing variations of ‘this is bluesy as hell metal’ and ‘wow what a riff/guitar solo’ and ‘damn he can still scream,’ as well as lots of descriptors like chug, stomp and swing. I did notice a couple of the songs sounded like other bands (March Of The Damned = Ozzy, or Battle Cry = Maiden). But who cares? What matters is that this whole thing is 13 tracks of pure, well-conceived bloody fucking greatness.
Of course, the 2CD version was the only way to go, with 5 bonus tracks. And what great tracks they are! On a lot of releases, the bonus tracks are afterthoughts, or things only hardcore fans could care about. But I believe these songs to be as strong as the album tracks. It’s awesome.
In fact, I totally think of the album proper as the concert, and the bonus disc as the encore. Think about it. It fits!
What’s not to like about this? It’s operatic, it’s theatrical, and it’s seriously great fucking metal. I’d give two thumbs way up but my hands are permanently frozen in metal horns.