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Judas Priest--no Wimps Need Apply

April 27, 1986|JON MATSUMOTO

"TURBO." Judas Priest. Columbia.

For all its talk of rebellion and "Wild Nights, Hot and Crazy Days," Judas Priest is really a very conservative band. The veteran heavy-metal quintet simply doesn't change or challenge with its music or lyrics.

Of course, the legions of young headbangers want nothing more than the assurance that each Priest album will be just like the last one: a fireball of no-wimps-allowed metal that sounds like a squadron of F-111's over Tripoli.

The fact that these stud-and-leather-clad he-men stay so dogmatically loyal to the retrogressive metal attitude (lust and revenge) and narrow artistic vision (make it loud and fast and no ballads, please) is really a source of pride for the English band, which is unwilling and probably unable to make a Van Halen-like "Jump" to mainstream respectability.

Though the group is constantly rewriting the same two or three songs, there's something mindlessly attractive about the sound. Most Judas Priest songs are built on heavy, anthemic choruses and jumbo riffs that take on a kind of epic quality that few of its colleagues in terror can match.

Rob Halford, for all his ridiculous biker posing, is one of the best screamers the genre has to offer. He's probably one of the few human beings alive who could do a credible job of re-shrieking Zeppelin's old siren showcase, "The Immigrant Song." Guitarists Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing also kick up a few storms, even though they give the impression they're trying to bleed the same notes to death.

Meet the new Priest, same as the old Priest.

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