Judas Priest - Painkiller
What can I say that hasn't already been said about Judas Priest? Not a lot I guess, but as Painkiller is my all time favorite Judas Priest album and as close as you come to a pure metallic masterpiece, it certainly deserves a mention here...

Back in time when I first listened to the album I was completely blown away by its speed and power. It was the most aggressive thing I had ever heard. From the opening title track to the final majestic One shot at glory you will not be in doubt that this is Heavy Metal in it's purest form. There is no way back once the monstrous force that is Judas Priest, has set it's eye on you. It is coming to get you!

Rob Halford sounds more fierce than ever and has a great part in making this album a triumph. New on the drums is Scott Travis (Racer X) who adds a special powerful ingredient to the band and almost steals the show. Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing play equal parts as well, releasing a unique dual guitar attack that brings a massive sound to the album. All of them deliver devastating performances that lift the album into the next level of aggression compared to earlier releases. Something is constantly going on in the background and for the 46 minutes the album lasts, you will not find time to draw a regular breath. You will be lost in the intense atmosphere that flows from each song and left breathless, gasping for another go when the time is up.

Only Ian Hill on the bass seems to be strangely absent from the mix most of the time.

Painkiller is a relentless opener. No mercy is shown for those with a weak heart. If the opening drum solo doesn't smack you in the face, leaving you wondering what just hit you, then the electrifying guitar riff that continues will. Rob Halford's vocals bring the intensity level to a boiling point. An intensity level that explodes and goes right of the scale a few very memorable times during the song. Painkiller is a classic song which has often been covered by other bands, but never have I heard anything as intense as it is delivered here.

Another of my favorites is Hell Patrol. The very special atmosphere combined with a drive not to be reckoned with keeps me captivated. The guitars lay a thick background and Rob's vocals sound like they are rising from the depth of some otherworldly place. Only Rob Halford can sing a line like "Ripping out hearts" with such a spine tingling conviction. The dual guitar harmonies also add to the enjoyment of this song. There is a sense of something great and powerful at work as Glenn and K.K. play the main melody together.

All guns blazing is one of the simplest songs on the album. The surprising opening is a highlight, as are the brilliant leads by Glenn. Total ear candy. While this song is not so interesting to sit down and listen to as the others, it has a great powerful drive and it is one of those songs that are meant to be played live, where I am sure it will kill. So Priest: Please play this one on the upcoming European tour!

The highlight of Leather rebel is definitely the dual guitar solo. Other than that this song about being an outcast is ruled by a great rythm guitar. Rob sings in the lower regions of his voice and it suits the song well.

Metal meltdown opens with a little guitar duel between K.K. and Glenn (which I think K.K. wins) and continues into another Metallic hymn. A long split guitar solo is again the highlight of the song. These kind of solos have become one of the trademarks of Judas Priest and it is always entertaining to see what the two maestros come up with. Glenn's solos feel wild and crazy and a little improvised while K.K.'s tend to feel a little more melodic and controlled. While they complement each other in a fantastic way, it also feels like they are edging each other on all the time and this adds another level of intensity.

Night Crawler is a horror story perfectly captured in one song. It will no doubt haunt the first time listener with frail nerves for many nights. Right from the start a creepy atmosphere is set, an intense riff follows and Rob's haunting voice starts telling the story of the Night Crawler. Everything culminates in an evil spoken part that rises in intensity as a background heartbeat goes out of control. Again a great dual guitar solo is the perfect dessert after this very unique and interesting meal.

Between the hammer and the anvil has a slow but exhilarating opening that sets the perfect atmosphere. No one makes as great an opening scream as Rob. While his vocals may seem very raw and aggressive the first time you hear them, they also hold an incredible amount of emotion and melody that shows itself on repeated listens. This man seems able to bend his vocal chords around just about anything. Again the guitarwork is inventive and keeps the listener on the adge all the time. One of the slower songs which rules with its thick atmosphere.

A touch of evil is the closest thing this album has to a ballad. Again it has a unique atmosphere that pervades the entire song. Very catchy and still powerful, it is built on a simple, but always changing riff that rises and falls and gives a great intensity to the song. Glenn completely nails the melodic guitar solo leading up to the intense climax. The solo gives just the right amount of emotion to the song and makes it unforgetable. A chilling moment.

Battle hymn is a short intro leading up to what I think is the pinnacle of the album, One shot at glory. This song perfectly captures the feel of the album and it is also an inspiring call to the warrior inside each of us. The opening of the song is on the same level as the magical beginning to Savatage's "Hall of the mountain king". A heavy riff opens the song, drums join the rythm while Glenn adds a splintering solo and Rob's soaring vocals enter the sound. This is one of those songs that is able enter your consciousness and take you away to another realm, leaving you exhausted after the song, but in a state of pure energized joy. The guitar work in this song is beyond words. It has to be heard. This is what I call a perfect song.

The conclusion:
This is Heavy Metal at a nerve wrecking intensity. Hard, heavy, powerful, fast, intense and aggressive with a touch of emotion. You need a definition of Heavy Metal? Painkiller is the answer.

Favorite tracks: One shot at glory, Hell patrol, Painkiller, Night Crawler, A touch of evil.

Written by Steen
Sunday, January 4, 2004
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Steen: 9.5/10

Members: 9.6/10 - Average of 5 ratings.

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RevelationZ StaffStuart (Staff)

Rating: 10/10
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Rating: 10/10
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Rating: 9.5/10
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Rating: 9.5/10
Nothing is perfect, but this cums effin close! I wish they would pull another one like thi... · Read more ·
Profile pictureTommy

Rating: 9/10
This is indeed a most spectacular classic release. Anyway seems like we got some different... · Read more ·

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RevelationZ Comments

Comment by Jarkko (Anonymous) - Monday, January 5, 2004
Can´t agree more. Well put !!!

Comment by Steen (Staff) - Monday, January 5, 2004
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Comments: 518
Thanks man!

Posted by Steen (Staff)
Monday, January 5, 2004

Comment by ZXY (Anonymous) - Thursday, January 8, 2004
This is no less than 10/10!!

Comment by Migs (Anonymous) - Thursday, January 8, 2004
incredible solos and excellent ,powerful voice!

this is a 10 / 10 cum laude!

honor to the priest

Comment by Mads J. (Anonymous) - Saturday, January 10, 2004
A classic...needless to say more!

Comment by Mav (Anonymous) - Monday, January 12, 2004
11 out of 10 is the correct rating for this classic definition of heavy metal!!!

Comment by Lord Shadow (Anonymous) - Thursday, January 15, 2004
eventhough i believe maiden is the best band of all time Painkiller is definitelly the best metal album of all time!it simply has no rival.

Comment by Hyena (Anonymous) - Monday, January 19, 2004
After the disappointments of Turbo and Ram it down, I almost left this one to the record store. Lucky me I didn't.

The true JP spirit has awoken. Awesome guitar runs, aggressive drumming and (leather) rebel attitude.

There's a lot of speed and power present. Drumming is faster, but remains detailed. Typically with Judas Priest, guitars come with blistering speed, being extremely well played.

Lyrics are traditionally brainless, even ridiculous. This is always a minus, but with Judas Priest, expectable.

Halford's voice is more raspy than before. Espedially on tracks like Painkiller he sounds quite affected.

But, if you can swallow the moronic lyrics and macho-boasting themes, be ready for an awesome metal experience.

Being Halford's testament (until rejoining the band) and their best work since, I give it 9/10.

Comment by zxcv (Anonymous) - Friday, January 23, 2004
When i hear priest or manowar i don´t give a fuck about lyrics. Well...that´s not true, i LOVE them. If i want a topic to think about i hear to dream theater

Painkiller is an absolute 10/10!!

Comment by Christopher (Anonymous) - Thursday, February 19, 2004
This is perhaps my favorite album of all time.

Comment by Revolver Ocelot (Anonymous) - Saturday, February 21, 2004
Probanly the most accomplished Heavy Metal records ever!!! Both speed and heavyness are mixed here perfectly, also Rob Halford is at i'ts best. Guitars were supersonic in Defenders of the Faith, here they are at LIGHTSPEED!!!. Fierce drumming,(specially the disc's openning drumming) superb guitar riff's and Rob's vocals made this one a unique masterpiece. The last Real Judas Priest album -at that time-. 11 out of 10.

Comment by Eighteez (Anonymous) - Tuesday, April 6, 2004
I agree 100% here. THis is classic Priest! This album is only eclipsed by 1982's Screaming For Vengeance. Every song is a classic. The oerformances are brutal. Glann and K.K. came out with guitars blazing on this one in a tim ewhere shred was king. And they dominated. And unlike the other shredders of 1990/1991 they are still on top of their game.

Great Album!

Comment by Nomad (Anonymous) - Sunday, May 23, 2004
Great metal album.... 9/10

i liked night clawler, hell patrol, and painkiller...

Comment by VideoBrit (Anonymous) - Monday, July 19, 2004
11/10? Yep, I think so.

Comment by Penguin (Anonymous) - Monday, July 19, 2004

FUCK yeah!

Comment by Hubert the Impaler (Anonymous) - Thursday, July 29, 2004
My dear friends, I, the great Hubert have something I need to say, put simply THIS ALBUM KICKS ASS!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank You. If you don't like it I'll impale you with Sam Walton's favorite Dildoe that I got from TOY STEALER.

Comment by SAM WALTON WAS AN OLD PENIS (Anonymous) - Thursday, July 29, 2004
I know what it was like to be impaled by sammies favorite dildo It hurt so bad sammie sucked so hard on it it just hurt like the dickens or a bitch aka sam walton the dildo BEWARE OF SAM WALTON'S FAVORITE TOY DILDO IT HAS PINK FRILLIES ON IT AND IT VIBRATES!!!!!!

Comment by Rob Is Gay (Anonymous) - Thursday, July 29, 2004
I Stole Rob Halford's Favorite DILDO

Comment by GEORGE MICHAEL DILDO POWER!!!!!!!!!!!! (Anonymous) - Thursday, July 29, 2004

Comment by VideoBrit (Anonymous) - Friday, August 6, 2004
Fuck you, homophobic bastards.

Comment by Matt (Anonymous) - Wednesday, November 24, 2004
This album IS metal.

Comment by Alex13 (Anonymous) - Tuesday, June 21, 2005
All times classic.
Power,Speed,Endless riffs
and Rob Halford. What more do you need.

Comment by Connor (Anonymous) - Wednesday, August 17, 2005
100%, this album is the best Judas Priest album ever made in the whole entire world.

Comment by Pat (Anonymous) - Wednesday, October 26, 2005
This album, though probably the most accessible from JP, bores me. Seems like I'm one of the few metal heads who think that way.

Comment by DEJAN-BANJA LUKA (Anonymous) - Sunday, April 16, 2006

Comment by Cid (Anonymous) - Friday, April 6, 2007

THE PERFECT ALBUM¡¡¡ is 100% heavy metal, if you want say someone what is heavy metal, give him this album and he knows...

Comment by ThraX (Member) - Tuesday, November 27, 2007
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This is my favorite Judas Priest album, Halford's vocals are amazing and the ferocity mixed with great melody makes for an exciting album...Every song is an instant classic 10/10

Posted by ThraX
Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Comment by Midnight Tears (Member) - Wednesday, December 12, 2007
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Comments: 3
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Great Cd...100% ROCKS

Posted by Midnight Tears
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Comment by notrap (Member) - Friday, September 19, 2008
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Comments: 55
Ratings: 66
Definitely a Masterpiece. 10/10
Priest's Painkiller deserve to be in the top ten Metal releases.
The only albums that can be compared are maybe:

Iron Maiden-Iron Maiden 10/10
Iron Maiden-Piece of Mind 10/10
Metallica-Ride the lighting 10/10
Iron Maiden-Powerslave 10/10
Metallica-Master of Puppets 10/10
Megadeth-Peace Sells 9.5/10
Slayer-Reign in Blood 10/10
Iron Maiden-Somewhere in time 10/10
Iron Maiden-Seventh son of seventh son 10/10
Queensryche-Operation Mincrime 10/10
Megadeth-Rust in Peace 9.5/10

....Great..Great Album!

Posted by notrap
Friday, September 19, 2008

Review by Tommy (Member) - Monday, January 5, 2004
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Comments: 74
Ratings: 31
This is indeed a most spectacular classic release. Anyway seems like we got some different favourites here.

Leather Rebel is a piece of pure genius. The fast rhythm base is roaring with pure power and the fantastic attitude loaded lyric and melodic refrain is just brilliant, especially the background-supporting chorus line "lightning in the dark" is simply divine and one of the biggest highlights of the entire record.

Metal Meltdown is just pure madness. The mid-section guitar duel is just amazing as Steen nicely describes. Another aspect I really love about it is the main monster riff and Rob's screaming vocals.

All Guns Blazing features some of Rob's most thrilling vocal lines and Glenn's solo part is absolutely thrillingly intense. The slower part of the song is also very powerful, the tight bass and hard drumming come out very vigorous. Lots of detailed guitar parts helps in making this highly dynamic track.

Still there are some minor aspects that keep it from being over the top.
Hell Patrol has a great hard driven rhythm and its groove is very high. On the other hand I find the chorus too stationary and lacking that special energized touch.

One Shot At Glory is far from my favourite track. The main rhythm riff is just a bit too simple and the rather laid-back chorus isn't that captivating either, especially not when compared with so much else on this release. The lead guitar work is nevertheless huge; especially K.K.'s middle solo part and again Rob's varied vocals sound fantastic.

I miss a more central bass on this one, it's there, laying a quite solid background but not really adding much on the creative front, solid anyway though.

All in all a most phenomenal album with many huge songs and a performance that is truly inspiring and memorable. The guitar work is simply out of this world.

Favourite songs: Leather Rebel, Metal Meltdown, Night Crawler, Painkiller and All Guns Blazing.

Favourite albums: Jugulator, Painkiller, Sad Wings Of Destiny, Defenders Of The Faith and British Steel.

Rating: 9/10

Posted by Tommy
Monday, January 5, 2004

Review by Stuart (Staff) - Thursday, June 25, 2009
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Comments: 116
I wouldn't consider giving an album a 10/10 rating if I didn't think that it was perfect in every way and that that band could not have possibly improved in it in any way whatsoever.

These kind of albums are few and far between but Painkiller is without doubt one of them. The album is flawless and is the proud owner of the best production I have heard on any Heavy Metal album ever. A brave claim I know but can you think of an album which has a more perfectly pitched sound than this one?

And the songs themselves are stunning, from the opening drum attack of Painkiller to Rob' wail of "I still see the banners fly" in One Shot At Glory the album has you hooked.

If I was pushed to pick my favourite moments on the album it would have to be the places were Rob pushes his voice further than he ever has before or since such as "Soul Stealers ripping our hearts" from Hell Patrol or the still jaw dropping, anguished scream of "Your possessing me" during Touch Of Evil.

Full marks also go to the rest of the band for putting in an inspired performance. Have solo's ever sounded as fulid at KK's and Glenn's on this masterpiece?

Quite simply one of the most essential albums ever made.

Rating: 10/10

Posted by Stuart (Staff)
Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review by Psychonator (Member) - Friday, June 4, 2010
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Ratings: 1
Nothing is perfect, but this cums effin close! I wish they would pull another one like this out of their collective azzes!!

Rating: 9.5/10

Posted by Psychonator
Friday, June 4, 2010

Comment by hell (Member) - Tuesday, August 17, 2010
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No offnese, but as review say, All guns blazing is simplest song on the disk is totally wrong. All guns blazing has toughest solo on the disk. I am a guitar Player and beleive me it's so complex. Notes are so random.

Posted by hell
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Review by Steen

Released by
EMI / CBS - 1990

1. Painkiller
2. Hell Patrol
3. All Guns Blazing
4. Leather Rebel
5. Metal Meltdown
6. Night Crawler
7. Between The Hammer & The Anvil
8. A Touch Of Evil
9. Battle Hymn
10. One Shot At Glory

Heavy Metal

Related links
Visit the band page

Judas Priest - Official Website

Other articles
Demolition - (Tommy)

Live In London - (Tommy)

Jugulator - (Tommy)

Electric Eye - (Hashman)

Sad Wings Of Destiny - (Tommy)

Angel of Retribution - (Hashman)

Live in concert 25th June 1980 - (Michael)

Z supported shopping

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2 - Terrible
3 - Bad
4 - Below average
5 - Average
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8 - Outstanding
9 - Genius
10 - Masterpiece
666 - Unrated

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