JUDAS PRIEST – Turbo (30th Anniversary Edition)
Judas Priest is one of the greatest and most wonderful creations of all time. I totally get why these guys are considered living legends and heavy metal icons. Not only is the band’s vast catalogue of music inhumanly impressive and brilliant, but also so utterly timeless that it hurts. Yes, Judas Priest rules! This anniversary edition of the rather controversial "Turbo" album from 1986 contains the actual studio album (remastered, of course) and a live show from Kansas City. The live show dates from 1986, more specifically the "Fuel For Life Tour" in support of "Turbo".
When I say controversial, I am merely touching on the fact that most fans either love or abhor "Turbo". I have yet to encounter a fan of the band who does not hold a strong opinion on it, but that is all the more reason why I love it. The thing with "Turbo" is that guitar synthesizers were introduced and implemented, which meant that the traditional format of the classic Priest sound changed somewhat. Still, "Turbo" is Judas Priest through-and-through. The inimitable riffs, the memorable melodies, and Rob Halford’s otherworldly voice are all over this album. It all sounds fresh and vibrant to my ears. I can see why some old-school fans were slightly puzzled by the rather clean and modern sound of the album, but then again, "Somewhere in Time" by Iron Maiden has synthesized guitar sounds on it as well and that one was a masterpiece, so who is to say that a little change is a bad thing? Right, then, let us get back to Priest.
What really appeals to me about this one is how catchy the songs are. The energy is all there. Every member of the band is right on the money. The production sounds a little dated nowadays, but it fits with the song material and the era in which the album was recorded and made. The title track is a rollercoaster ride and simply just ROCKS! I dig "Locked In", "Parental Guidance", "Private Property", and "Hot for Love". Great tracks! The ballad "Out in the Cold" totally works for me too. A couple of daft songs in the shape of "Rock You All Around the World" and "Wild Nights, Hot and Crazy Days" do make an appearance, which is rather unfortunate as they add nothing to the album whatsoever.
As to the live show from Kansas City, it is a most enjoyable thing to experience. In many ways, this particular live show is all the reason you need to check this anniversary release out. It slays! Listening to live cuts of "Desert Plains", "Heading Out to the Highway", "Locked In", and "Turbo Lover" is awesome. The rendition of "Out in the Cold" is simply epic. The sound is quite good and the whole show packs a punch. You can feel the intensity and joy as well as the exchange of energy between the band and crowd.
As much as I enjoy listening to "Turbo", I have never really wanted the band to continue down that path or release an exact copy of it. Maybe that sounds strange to some of you, but personally I only need one "Turbo". I am glad that the band changed their sound again on future albums, but then at the same time I am glad that they dared venture into unknown territory and do something else, something that would challenge and provoke us, and they did just that by means of "Turbo".
On a final note, the ironic thing is that even the least accessible or interesting albums by a band such as Judas Priest are way better than what most other bands out there are even capable of putting together. That basically says it all, so while "Turbo" pales next to "Sin After Sin", "British Steel", "Defenders of the Faith", and so on and so forth, it is a kick-ass album with a wicked charm to it.