RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Judas Priest – Epitaph
Legacy Recordings

Rating: A

The Metal Gods have returned with a live Blu-Ray (also available as a DVD) titled Epitaph that showcases one song from every studio album featuring the classic Priest lineup. It should be noted that guitarist KK Downing, however, is no longer a member of Priest and replacing him is the exciting and energetic axe-master Richie Faulkner.   

The show was recorded and filmed by the company co-owned by Tom Allom, longtime Priest producer, who, as fate would have it, also produced their first live offering titled Unleashed in the East.  Where that album saw a young Priest preparing to take on the world, Epitaph shows a seasoned band, who not only took on the world, but have, for thirty plus years, sat atop the Global Metal Throne. 

Epitaph was recorded at London's HMV Hammersmith Apollo on May 26, 2012, on the final night of the Epitaph tour, which was the last full scale, major world tour the band will do.  The Metal Gods celebrated all things Priest by playing from their first studio effort, 1974’s Rocka Rolla, through their latest studio effort, 2008’s Nostradamus.

Some of the 23 classics include blistering Metal performances of “Never Satisfied,” “Hell Bent for Leather,” “The Green Manalishi (with the Two-Pronged Crown),” “The Hellion” and “Electric Eye” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.”  On the classic tune from British Steel “Breaking the Law” the crowd sang so loud that Halford could only smile and let them! However, there are many more great moments in store for the viewer, as the entire track listing (see below) will have Priest fans drooling with anticipation! 

This is an amazing concert, which, in hindsight, is exactly what one expects from Judas Priest.  While most bands from their era hide from the Heavy Metal moniker, Priest embraces it.  They love the music, they love the energy and they love the fans.  Some may wonder if they can still conquer in concert due to their age, let it be known that their physical abilities remain more than intact, in fact, they remain truly breathtaking.

The new guy, Faulkner, adds flair to the live show with his good looks and stage moves, while Tipton remains one of the all time Metal greats on guitar.  Ian Hill thumps the low strings allowing everyone else to stretch out and power their way through the set.  Rob Halford hunkers down and blasts out vocals that shatter glass.  Drummer Scott Travis beats the skins and even gets a little time in the spotlight during an impressive drum solo.

Epitaph is a stunning visual and sonic experience.  The songs, the set, the lights, the band performances, the vocals and the production of the show are all top-notch making this a must-own for any fan of the Priest. 

Wow, this review is getting long…the time has come for me to wrap up this review so I can get back to watching Epitaph, as this is one live concert that is as fresh, loud and exciting the 100th time you watch it as it is first time ya plunk it in the Blu-Ray player. 

"Epitaph" track listing

01. Battle Hymn (L)
02. Rapid Fire (F)
03. Metal Gods (F)
04. Heading Out To The Highway (G)
05. Judas Rising (M)
06. Starbreaker (C)
07. Victim Of Changes (B)
08. Never Satisfied (A)
09. Diamonds And Rust (C)
10. Prophecy (N)
11. Night Crawler (L)
12. Turbo Lover (J)
13. Beyond The Realms Of Death (D)
14. The Sentinel (I)
15. Blood Red Skies (K)
16. The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown) (E)
17. Breaking The Law (F)
18. Painkiller (L)
19. The Hellion (H)
20. Electric Eye (H)
21. Hell Bent For Leather (E)
22. You've Got Another Thing Coming (H)
23. Living After Midnight (F)

Album index:

A - from "Rocka Rolla" (originally issued 1974, on Gull Records)
B - from "Sad Wings Of Destiny" (originally issued 1976, on Gull Records)
C - from "Sin After Sin" (originally issued 1977, on Columbia Records)
D - from "Stained Class" (originally issued 1978, on Columbia)
E - from "Hell Bent For Leather" (originally issued 1979, on Columbia; aka Killing Machine in
F - from "British Steel" (originally issued 1980, on Columbia)
G - from "Point Of Entry" (originally issued 1981, on Columbia)
H - from "Screaming For Vengeance" (originally issued 1982, on Columbia)
I - from "Defenders Of the Faith" (originally issued 1984, on Columbia)
J - from "Turbo" (originally issued 1986, on Columbia)
K - from "Ram It Down" (originally issued 1988, on Columbia)
L - from "Painkiller" (originally issued 1990, on Columbia)
M - from "Angel Of Retribution" (originally issued 2005, on Epic Records)
N - from "Nostradamus" (originally issued 2008, on Epic) 

By Jeb Wright