Review | Judas Priest – Invincible Shield

Sony Music

Admitting I had a tough time running through the opening of ,,Panic Attack” on its maiden spin, and it took me all the way to Halford’s frantic vocal delivery to embrace the song, `Invincible Shield’ was my personal panic attack on multiple levels. With all their classic Judas Priest ingredients present, the new album features everything fans will warm their hearts to. 


Drawing together Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner’s impressive guitar interplay atop Scott Travis rip roaring drum dynamics and tractoring double bass execution, the foundation of ,,Panic Attack” is rock solid and rounded up by the only founding member Ian Hill with his straight forward loud style and his keen ability adding dual rhythms. Him and Travis build the foundation and groove for the guitar tandem to feed off from. It is this reliable rock-solid foundation that is the firmament of Judas Priest, and with the progressive shifted drumming of Travis, joining in 1989, the duo started to inject the heavy dynamics marking their later era. 

The progressive dominance of ,,Painkiller” is very present on the new album and marks the opening ,,Panic Attack”. Ploughing like crazy, the song checks in with Priest’s past and present bringing Halford to the fold for his anger laden pierced metal delivery. He sounds like in his prime and infuses his performance with insane octave spread. His piercing and acrobatic upper range intact (,,The Serpent and the King”), Rob belts out insanely memorable vocals all over ,,Invincible Shield’’ seemingly invincible to aging. Multiple melodies implemented, the song thrives on the dual guitar discharge of Tipton and Faulkner maintaining the band’s classic stride and duelling. It is as if time stood still for Judas Priest over the decades.


Yes, they sound like in their ’89 prime and bring some of that NWOBHM form their debuting era to the front, shooting that up with mid-eighties energy bursts amalgamating with early-eighties melodies. The cocktail is explosive and defines the benchmark for heavy metal of the ages. The band is at their very best delivering the twin licks and riffs like hot sauce drizzled over the intense drum and bass discharge. Halford frenetically growling a framework around his piercing execution, the band brings crushing metal to the front. Tipton and Faulkner fly their licks and short solo spots left to right in the mix with melody prominently present. 

The title track is a perfect example as the band unites another brooding cocktail of their entire discography into one song. Double bass drums firing ferocious, dual guitar harmonies and licks provided by the dozens and solos at the helm, the Priest is displaying their towering power. Hinges of ,,Freewheel Burning” (doubled vocal harmonies) and classic melody unload in ,,Ripper”-style make the song rotate on its modern layers.


Evenly spectacular is ,,Crown of Thorns”, switching moods. Guitars instantly build the tremor alongside Hill’s pulsating bass chords. Drums in fine low pace the band maintains a gloomy momentum that adds to Halford’s melodic vocal gymnastics, rich of tone and hitting the right vibe to make them crawling into the earworm melody. The song packs some swirling arpeggios and Faulkner-style saw strokes layered into the opening and spine of the solo. Halford takes the song into an anthemic apotheosis without dropping sweat. It feels ,,Turbo”, but lacks the tech-driven vibe of that era; Super melodic!

Travis certainly knows how to play his game knowing when to get complex or finding the moment to sit back and emphasize with the right languid fills, meanwhile discharging epic bass drum blasts. Switching to subtle fills and solid backbeats, like on the restraint pumping ,,Devil in Disguise”, Travis adds to the scorching riff ‘n roll unloaded by the guitar tandem, while Halford refrains to his midrange. The song grinds with classic melodies like on the band’s early eighties releases. The guitar solo screams agony with a sudden collision of drum hooks making the song twist its emotions into the end, opening perfectly to the euphoria of guitar interplay unfolding in the opening of ,,Gates of Hell”, with the song transcending on the melodic register also. 

Roaring in raw tone, Rob belts out his cringing-style mid-range and moans atop the chorus. Guitars feeding off his wailing vocals, discharging a collection of wondrous licks and short melodies, with Travis adding his constant shifts of bass – floor and tom fills. 


But it is the highly feverish songs like ,,As God is My Witness” and the brooding ,,Trial By Fire” that draw crowds to their ceremony of recognizability. When the pace shoots up and Travis starts to roll his thunderous floor and bass drum interplay into action, Hill steps up to paste the low end solid with his chordal playing. Tipton and Faulkner yield their axes and deliver fierce swagger with loud raw riff interaction and bedazzling solo duels with swirling fretboard exercises as Travis starts to shift the rhythm into higher gear. His dynamics increasing the songs well with progressive accolades, and Halford returning to fine form. He belts out with an echoing reverb on his pitches, meanwhile blowing air into the song with a wonderful raw edge on his natural register. He switches emotions and sings accordingly.

You get drawn into the melodics of the song that are super intense with an abundance of musical mastery in the interplay. Daunting and fierce it keeps ploughing the sky as fists fly up high! ,,Sons of Thunder” blends Priest’s entire catalogue into one piercing blockbuster choke full of heavy ponderous metal grooves and spiting fretboard magic. It fires on all engines being the benchmark cork popping fist raising anthem on a warm summer festival. 


As if Candlemas creeps in lurking, ,,Escape from Reality” thunders onto us with crashing waves of psychedelic gloom and Buzzsaw riffs unloaded. The bass is low and droning with Halford in colorful echo belting out the lyrics. He cringes and crawls around the bass lines, constantly shifting in tone with 70s effects added to create emotive kaleidoscopic waves. As the song enters its finale, Rob increases his pitch and emulating with the typical nasal piercing itch and wail, setting him apart from anyone in the field. He is one of the most influential singers in heavy metal, and maintains his status. 

Less doomy, Judas Priest unleashes a singalong anthem with ,,Giants in the Sky” to wrap up the album. Another song packing the trademark of their sound: ponderous and powerful drum and bass interplay, biting and gravel spitting riffs penetrating the heavy foundation, and Halford’s versatile vocal delivery. All in fine form, constructed into a song full of wonderful melodic moments and breaks. When the song bangs into its mid-section, the mighty Priest travels onto new territory exploring more anthemic and epic metal. The soundscape touches with Blackmore’s later solo releases, with colorful acoustic playing and Hill displaying insane power in the echoing low of the song. Tempo slightly adjusted, Halford moans in melodic fine form, like in his prime, even laying down some melancholic agony. Scott Travis thunders the band into its gradually built final with Halford belting out his fiercest A-game of all time!


`Invincible Shield’ sees the band return to their fine form of past, present and future contemplating on heavy metal. The band rediscovers their back catalogue in style and makes their music go full circle for an infinite spin of the ages. Carved into the heavy metal realms forever, Judas Priest secured their position at the throne for years to come. Rejuvenated Judas Priest proven invincible!

Release date: 8 March 2024



Logged in as