Since the dawn of creation, Mankind has been forever fascinated by the supernatural, and only the unknown knows. As a testament to their defending the faith in steel, Judas Priest have forged in fire, their first concept album of epic proportions. With an electric eye on prophecy, and detailed history, unearthing the doctrines of heaven and hell, these Masters of Metal manifest the dark saga of Nostradamus. Riding the wind of destiny, with solemn alacrity, and feverish intent, the Metal Gods fight on, envisioning new beginnings of hope and peace, qualified by a dark tranquility.
Now that Nostradamus has been in stores for over a week, a myriad of scathing, or praiseworthy reviews have inundated and engorged the internet. Ultimately, whether one celebrates, or excoriates this diligent endeavor, is of personal favor. Although, not a matter of life and death, many Judas Priest fans will be divided, screaming for vengeance. This healthy attrition, is exactly what Halford and his band of stained class leather rebel veterans have inspired, and ultimately advocated.
The essence of eschatological themes pervade, and are prominent. The doomsayer Michel de Nostredame is the apocalyptic hero: hero of the ages; servant of the stars. This prophet of disaster, sin after sin, was a remarkable man. He lived during the black plague, and as a doctor, he encouraged many homeopathic methods to heal disease, including the groundbreaking concept of personal hygiene. Priest illustrate his life, animating his cause with emotional rescue, and residual passion.
The integrity and honesty that is present on Nostradamus, comes from three decades of quality musicianship, and sound proficiency. Judas Priest are truly the soul source of mettle, having created the rubric for thrash and power. As I relish in each individual characteristic and nuance to this magnum opus, I'm reminded of Iced Earth in the early to mid 90's when they fashioned some amazing conceptual burnt offerings. There are also some similarities to the newer Maiden voyage of progressive intricacies.
I've really been enjoying the new Mötley Crüe with it's killer 80's vibe. This has led me to discover Sixx A.M., Nikki's other band. The compassion and authenticity of The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack is similar to the overall feeling Priest is conveying with Nostradamus. Whereas, Sixx A.M. employs narration to explicate the story; Priest use interludes and bombastic overtures to set the mood, beyond the realms of death.
I identify with both character's inner turmoil. I understand Nikki and his addiction, I empathize with Nostradamus and his convictions as a Cabalist Jew, who was condemned, under persecution by Christians, but embraced by royalty. I honor their resilient hearts, cloaked in darkness and despair, I strive to imagine their inner experience of solitude.
For Michel de Nostredame, pestilence and plague were as real, and vivid as war and conquest are to our current affairs. Judas Priest have fused the horizon of our very being, encouraging us to read between the lies.
When it comes down to brass tax, and the music itself, Nostradamus is not without its flaws. I strongly agree that a double disc was too ambitious, and too extensive. One long player in the vein of Therion or Rhapsody Of Fire would suffice. There are some definite fillers, that could have been held back for any of the killer special editions; but left off the main CD. Songs like 'Lost Love', 'Hope', & 'New Beginings' although compassionate and inherently important, are too extraneous, and would be better off as a bonus tracks.
The first disc is awesome, and begins with promising expectations, but not until the crux of the second disc with songs like 'Visions' and the title track, does the cohesive concept truly fall into place.
Standout Priest classics are definitely: 'Revelations', 'Pestilence And Plague' with it's Italian chorus, 'Prophecy', 'Persecution', 'Visions', the Brave New World like 'Future Of Mankind', & of course, Nostradamus. The lyrics are exceptionally penned, and some choruses actually follow Nostradamus' quatrain paradigm.
I am a die-hard Priest fan addict, so I purchased the Book Edition, and the Vinyl Box Edition; even if the free ticket deal was invalid just days after it's release. I really enjoy the packaging, and synopsis written by Priest, explaining their motives. I'm confident that Nostradamus will now be my favorite CD of the year, but as they are my second favorite band, second to Maiden, I know I'm biased.
Nostradamus is essentially the next logical step from Angel Of Retribution. I have listened to this band for over 25 years, and I agree that Nostradamus is no Sad Wings, British Steel, nor is it Screaming For Vengeance, Defenders, or Painkiller.
Most Priest fans repudiate the Ripper years, and as lame as Jugulator can be, Demolition had some truly heartfelt melodies, and ripping lead work. Turbo and Ram It Down may be too commercial for some, but Nostradamus is the album Priest were born to write. All aspects of the band, and elements of their art can be found on this release.
Rob avoids his shrill cries, but he utilizes his voice in a very unique manner. Scott may stray from double bass, but his drumming is quite pronounced. Hell, I even hear Ian's echo, which is rare indeed. Glen & Ken still shred, but with more reserve and a stronger synth aesthetic.
With repeat rotations, careful scrutiny, an open heart, an eager mind, and fealty to the future of Mankind, no true Priest fan shall be disappointed. I implore you to see, feel, hear, and evolve with the Hell Patrol Tyrants of Tradition, the true Sentinels of Steel.