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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Judas Priest – The Chosen Few album review

Judas Priest – The Chosen Few album review
Released on: Sony / Columbia / Legacy. Release date: Available now

OK, first off, before we get into this review, here's something you might like ...
Thanks to those nice people at Legacy / Sony and of course, my good friends at Chipster PR, we have a copy - 1 only! - of this compilation to give away.
Just one though, sorry, that's it!
Anyway, giveaway question and details at the end, meantime read on ...

This is a special compilation on Judas Priest that is compiled of tracks chosen by other name artists that have admired Priest over the years.
Artist’s like Joe Elliott (Def Leppard), Slash, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Vai, Geoff Tate and many more have all added their own comments about the tracks they’ve chosen, in the albums sleeve notes.
 What’s interesting perhaps is the song selection may well surprise many people, as there’s a number of tracks here that are not necessarily, hugely popular tracks. Maybe they are to die hard Priest fans, but not to your regular rock fan.

Opener ‘Diamonds and Rust,’ a Joan Baez cover was picked by Joe Elliott and I have to say, is not your standard fare Priest material, it’s presented as a pretty standard classic rock track and not a blood boiling, screaming metal beast!

Have to say, many will most likely think the same of ‘Dissident Aggressor’ next initially and then comes (Rob) Halfords scream … That’ll get you!
It’s really an impressive track for what was about at the time and as Steve Vai and Geoff Tate’s choice, it’s no surprise really.
‘Exciter’ next is the choice track from German metallers Accept and you can totally relate it to the bands own style. At times though I often think it’s like Priest’s challenger to Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid,’ but significantly extended and yes Priest fans, there is more to it!
It’s interesting how you can relate some of the tracks picked by certain artists here to their own bands works, perhaps none more so than Lars Ulrich’s choice of ‘Beyond the Realms of Death,’ with its acoustic moments that then surge into big old power chords and Halfords screams.

‘Delivering the Goods’ next is the choice of Slayer’s Kerry King and it’s funny as when you listen to the original studio version’s of so many of these songs for the first time in ages, they are so different to how heavy the band is live, certainly today.
Don’t get me wrong, these tracks are still powerful and strong, but they are very different.
The same could be said of next track ‘The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown),' which is David Coverdale’s choice of favourite Priest track and I’m very much reminded of Kiss’ early studio works, versus their live material.
A lot of this material I really have to say is hard to really class as heavy metal, as it’s way more standard classic rock that the Priest really metalized live!

‘The Ripper’ is next and is the chosen track from Ozzy Osbourne who comments in his sleeve notes, ‘This has always been one of my favourite Judas Priest songs … I just want to know what the f**k that note is that Rob Halford hits in the beginning of the song!’
Too true Ozzy!
Rob is a hard man to beat when it comes to ‘those’ piercing screams!

I have to say next track ‘Victim of Changes’ in recent years has become one of my personal favourite Priest tracks, certainly live, it really comes across strongly.
So much too it really … A good choice from Metallica’s James Hetfield as his favourite then! This like the last track ‘The Ripper’ is in fact from a live performance.

A favourite of many Priest and hard rock fans has to be next track ‘Breaking the Law,’ perhaps an all too obvious choice as Lemmy’s favourite all time Priest track … What else can you say about this track? A good track on any compilation!

The track that has often been the opener of many a Priest live show is next in ‘Rapid Fire,’ but here is the studio version which I must say is still as powerful. This being the choice of Pantera man Vinnie Paul.

‘Grinder’ is next and sounds as dark as it ever does and is the nominated Zakk Wilde favourite Priest track, another constant crowd favourite too.

One of my favourites comes next in ‘Living After Midnight,’ which turns out to be top choice from both Alice Cooper and Sabbath’s Geezer Butler. Described by Alice as ‘…Priest’s most memorable anthem.’ Hard to argue that point! 

The choice of Slash is ‘Screaming for Vengence’ which for me is pretty much just a thrash through number, that besides the insane soloing work, doesn’t do much more for me.
I would say that ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Coming’ is a very close second to what Alice Cooper claimed about ‘Living After Midnight.’
I know it’s been around a year or two longer than this one, but many Priest and rock fans could lay claim that this is in fact the best know Priest anthem. This one was picked by Klaus Meine (Scorpions) and Corey Taylor (Slipknot).

‘The Sentinel’ next is quite the epic style Priest song, loads of timing changes in the song and much more to it. I actually wonder if one of the Iron Maiden boys had picked a favourite Priest song if this would be among their choices. It’s a great track, I love it!

A track from the Priest era that some of their fans screamed ‘No’ about as I recall. ‘Turbo Lover’ where the band had added a lot more processed sound on their recordings, synths / keyboards, etc. It’s still been included in recent set list’s, so the band obviously feel some love for the song from a sector of the fans. This is actually the choice of Korn’s Jonathan Davis.

Closing track is the choice of Joe Satriani and is the phenomenal ‘Painkiller,’ one that I know Joe would love to jam sometime.
That said, Halford’s screaming on this one very much reminds me of Dr. Who’s Daleks! It’s seriously scary at times, but that’s Halford for you his ability to reach scream levels no one else can touch!
A good and surprisingly different compilation indeed, with some interesting sleeve notes from the various celeb’s who picked ‘the chosen few!’
Rating: 4 out of 5

Official Judas Priest website:

OK, it's giveaway time folks ...
To win yourself a copy - I only have one to give away, so it's the first correct answer! - of 'The Chosen Few' on Sony / Legacy, answer the following question ...
You know, I toyed with what to ask and I have to say, I had two questions in mind, the trouble with one, is the answer would've been in this review ..., i.e. Too easy ...

So, here we go ... Name the legendary keyboard player who has graced Judas Priest albums in the past? It's really not that hard ....

First correct answer to me, wins the copy of 'The Chosen Few.'
Please send:
a) Correct answer.
b) Name and mailing address within the USA and Canada. - Sorry folks, this site is run on my own budget and since I get no income from this site ... Postage is paid by me!
Deadline for this contest is Friday 2nd December, 2011.

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