Review: Judas Priest

Judas Priest are clearly one of heavy metal's most notable bands if only because in true metal spirit they never die. But the most enjoyable aspect of heavy metal isn't the power or the loudness, it's the endless, fruitless discussion over what actually constitutes "heavy metal."

First, there was the dubious distinction between "hard rock" and "heavy metal," then, of course, "punk" vs. "metal," then we had "crossover" bands who polluted the waters still. Now, with grindcore, screamo and other sub-varieties that make you wonder where are the "Log Cabin Metallists," it's to the point where you could argue that Cher and Ween should qualify somehow.

Well, I didn't have quite as cynical a take. But I did notice that I was favoring the old vs. the new. Maybe because everything is fresher the first time around. And while every single bio I receive on a new metal band tells me how UNLIKE ALL THE OTHER BANDS this one is, somehow, it isn't true. I'm not accusing anyone of lying, I just think that most bands and their supporters have what could be called "Parental Vision." That's where the only person who really believes you're beautiful is your mom or dad. These people want to believe their band doesn't sound like all the others and to highly trained ears--senior metallists, that is--the distinctions are obvious and concrete. To normal folks who are just looking to turn the radio up when they hear something they like, well, let's just say it's become pretty obvious why most metal has become part of a hardcore subgenre and not the mainstream phenomenon it once was.