top of page
Judas Priest Invincible Shield.jpg


Sony Music International

Has it really been six years since Judas Priest unleashed their last studio album on us? Yes, it has and that album, Firepower, put most Metal albums to shame in 2018 in every aspect including playing, writing and production. Fifty million albums sold, well into their sixth decade, currently out on tour playing to sold out arenas in the UK and then onto Europe, for their 19th studio album, the Metal Gods have come up with a set of songs that once again, makes them champions of the Metal Premier League.


It's good to know when you are on to a winning formula and Priest have retained Andy Sneap and Tom Allom for recording duties; the band is unchanged. Song-wise, they have continued and developed what they did on Firepower in a series of ferocious cranium-crunchers that throw so much at you as to leave you giddy with overload; Intense doesn’t even start to describe these songs. The first three will leave you breathless, the next casts you back to classic Priest of the 70s/80s and after that, you are on a rollercoaster of everything they ever dabbled with but with the experience and knowledge of how to improve everything. This is probably the most varied Priest album to date and the excellently paced running order ensures it holds your attention to the end. 


Not one the band has rested on their laurels for six years. Just when you think Halford couldn’t possibly do better than Firepower, he does. Tipton and Faulkner have obviously been spending those covid years twiddling away in their bedrooms, increasing their fluency and improving their chops, while both Hill and Travis have come up with new elements in their playing that enhance their parts. All these elements add power and push the songs to their limit. I suspect when many of their peers hear this album, they will have a band meeting and say ‘We need to do better.’


Onto the packaging. It’s a digibook with twenty-four, high-quality glossy pages, each one with a great illustration by Priest’s resident artist, Mark Wilkinson. The front cover is eye-catching with a delicious shine to it that really brings out Mark’s artwork. Included in the Japanese release is a twenty-page monochrome insert with translated lyrics and liner notes. The Japanese release is also mastered using Sony’s BSCD2 format just to tear those eardrums a little bit more. Be careful with those earbuds folks.


In every aspect, Invincible Shield is a monster. We are only in March of 2024 but I have no doubt that come December, it will be in every Metalheads Top 10 albums of the year. It’s already No. 1 in mine.


Track List

Panic Attack

The Serpent and the King

Invincible Shield

Devil in Disguise

Gates of Hell

Crown of Horns

As God is my Witness

Trial By Fire

Escape From Reality

Sons of Thunder

Giants in the Sky

Flight of Your Life *

Vicious Circle *

The Lodger *


*Deluxe Edition only

Hackney Diamonds.jpg


Universal Music

A new Rolling Stones album. I doubt many people saw that coming and course, when it was announced, the social media lit up with everything from ‘passed it’ and ‘why bother’ to ‘old fogies’, ‘dinosaurs; and ‘geriatrics. No doubt Mick, Keith and Ronnie couldn’t care less as they knew what they had on tape (metaphorically speaking) and what they did have on tape was one of not only their best albums ever released, it is an album that can wipe the floor with anything any shoe-starring, unrecognisable in a shopping mall, so called Rock ‘n’ Roller could ever dream of coming up with, either this year or in their entire careers.


Produced by Andrew Watt, one of the best multi-genre producers on planet earth at the moment, Andrew has captured everything we have loved about the Stones for six decades and enveloped them into one album. The songs – every song - are pure Keith-riff/Jagger lyrics but they have a je ne sais quoi which comes to the fore on this album. Where accompaniment is added, albeit backing vocals, piano or any of the guest musicians (McCartney, Gaga, Elton and Stevie Wonder) it just adds to the stuff that’s already there and those guests are not buried in the mix either – you can hear them. Charlie is there on two tracks; Bill Wyman is on one of those as well.


As with many releases these days, there is a bevy of versions to choose from. If you are a serious collector, you’ll no doubt go for all of them or the casual collector may opt for the CD + Blu-Ray set. As for the average fan, the SHMCD mastered version is sonically massive and really pumps your speakers on the low end. The separation between the channels is very distinctive as well making those Keith and Ronnie interplays all the more enjoyable and the top end sparkles. The bonus track is Living In A Ghost Town, the 2020 single that came out referring to the pandemic.


We’ve all lost count of the number of times The Stones have been asked if this is their last album or tour and to date, it never has been. That looks set to continue as there is already enough material recorded for another album but to come back to Hackney Diamonds, if this was to be their last one, it would be the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll swansong album ever. It’s a masterpiece that puts everyone else in the shade.


Track List


Get Close

Depending On You

Bite My Head Off

Whole Wide World

Dreamy Skies

Mess It Up

Live By The Sword

Driving Me Too Hard

Tell Me Straight

Sweet Sounds Of Heaven (featuring Lady Gaga)

Rolling Stone Blues

Living In A Ghost Town (Japanese edition bonus track)

bottom of page