Invincible Shield (Deluxe Edition)

Invincible Shield (Deluxe Edition)

Nineteen albums into their genre-defining career, heavy metal gods Judas Priest are still on top. Invincible Shield continues in the anthemic, fan-friendly tradition of 2018’s Firepower with songs inspired by internet-induced rage (“Panic Attack”), political charlatans (“Devil in Disguise”), and the Salem witch trials (“Trial by Fire”), among many other topics. “As the metal messenger of Priest, I'm always looking for opportunities to touch on subjects and ideas that I haven't done before,” vocalist Rob Halford tells Apple Music. “You’re searching for something fresh, something new. It’s the same with all of us in Priest. I think this is so important in music—to be interesting, engaging, and entertaining. I think Priest have been doing that for 50 years. Otherwise, we'd have been dissipated many decades ago.” Below, he comments on each song on Invincible Shield, plus the three bonus tracks included in the deluxe edition. “Panic Attack” “When you talk about topics and subjects and ideas and so forth, it's all been done. Let's face it. Whenever I do a title for a song, I search it, because I hate doing things that have been done before. But ‘Panic Attack,’ I just love that phrase. I used to have panic attacks before I got sober, and they’re very debilitating. In this case, it’s someone reacting to something they’ve seen on the internet.” “The Serpent and the King” “The devil is the serpent, and the king is God. Is the devil a deity? I don’t know. But I think the serpent came to me first, and then naturally my mind went to the king. And then I always try to use at least one word in a Priest album that I've never used before, like ‘sulfur.’ We know what sulfur is, we know what it smells like. So, we’ve got the devil and God in conflict. Good and evil, positive and negative, black and white. It’s a constant battle.” “Invincible Shield” “This is resilience, determination, protection. As I was sitting there with a blank piece of paper and pencil, what came into my head was the invincibility of who we are as people in all aspects of life and living, and the shield that we defend ourselves with. It’s about standing up for yourself within our world of heavy metal.” “Devil in Disguise” “I'm a news hound. Like most old people, you start to engage in politics more as you age. When you're a younger person, for the most part, you don't give a fuck about politics. But as you get older, you start thinking, 'Why do I want to do an Elvis—pull out my gun and shoot the TV?' So, this song came from just thinking about the political spectrum, but also thinking about the snake oil salesmen of this world. In the old westerns, the snake oil guy would come into town saying, ‘This potion will cure baldness. This one will make the horse eat.’ We’re not far removed from that, are we?” “Gates of Hell” “There are some deep, dark moments on this record, and this one goes to purgatory. You get there if you ride with me. It's that unity aspect of this beautiful metal community that we've got. Sign on the line, let the Priest sell your soul. I was thinking of the PMRC, and I was thinking about devil music, and the people that used to come and stand outside the venues with placards: 'Judas Priest is the devil,' and all that fun stuff. This is kind of throwing it back in their faces.” “Crown of Horns” “It's about finding love. I think if you can find love, it makes you complete. And it's a very deep song for me, spiritually. It's about finding Christ, really, but I wrap it up in that beautiful sphere of love. Love is all that matters. Love beats hate worldwide no matter where you're from. It's what keeps us all together.” “As God Is My Witness” “I think what's happening with me here is there's a lot of mortality going in my mind. Life can be a battle. I mean, it can be a battle trying to get the particular brand of bread that you want—‘they’re out of the bread!’ Originally, we were going to call this song ‘Hell to Pay,’ but ‘As God Is My Witness’ felt better. It’s something people actually say, like, ‘You’ve got another thing coming,’ or ‘Breaking the law.’ These phrases are out in the world, and they’re fun to utilize.” “Trial by Fire” “I saw something on Netflix about the Salem witch trials. The horrific way all those women were treated was out of pure superstition. The power of religion is profound in the way it affects humanity, and some of that is trauma. That was kind of the spark for this, but it’s also a bit of a reference to the way the public, when they get a story or an incident—and this is human nature—become the judge, the jury, and the executioner. We are so fast to create our opinions.” “Escape From Reality” “The bulk of that song comes from [guitarist] Glenn [Tipton]. He has these riff vaults. The thing about a riff is that it doesn’t matter if he wrote it in 1970 or 2023. Within Invincible Shield, it’s an affirmation of the heaviness of Judas Priest in this slow-tempo context. I think it’s the only one on the album with that kind of groove. Some of the messages on this album are quite personal, and ‘Escape From Reality’ is one of those. It’s about wishing you could go back in time to fix certain things, whatever they might be. It could be as simple as an argument in a relationship, or something big and traumatic.” “Sons of Thunder” “When you sit astride a Harley or whatever it is, it epitomizes freedom. The bike represents so many things with Judas Priest, and we're the only heavy metal band that's utilized the bike consistently. Those things that are attached to the bike—it's loud, it smells, it pisses people off—that's metal. I just wanted to have a bit of fun with that. And it's a little bit of a nod to Sons of Anarchy, because that free spirit, that part of Americana, is with us.” “Giants in the Sky” “The touchstones for this were Ronnie [James Dio] and Lemmy, two of my dear friends. Originally it was going to be called ‘The Mighty Have Fallen,’ but I thought that just sounds too bleak. Let's give it some lift. Let's give it some transcendence. I was also thinking about rock ’n’ roll radio. When I was growing up in England, we had one station. The first time I came to America, I couldn’t believe how many stations there were. And right now, as you and I are speaking, somebody in the world is playing Ronnie or Lemmy over the radio. They’re the giants in the sky.” “Fight of Your Life” “This is a bonus track. I really wanted it in the main track listing, but I didn’t get my way. I’m not a fan of brutal sports, but I do understand the athleticism and the skill of MMA and boxing, and even the fun stuff like wrestling. And you are fighting for your life. It’s a struggle and you’re pushing through. But I love this song. To me, it’s like, ‘Can we please put this song up for the NFL or NBA?’” “Vicious Circle” “Sometimes relationships can be in a vicious circle. ‘With the wicked schemes, cut deep the way that you can try/It makes me wonder how you sleep.’ So, again, we're in the political arena, aren't we? ‘I stand against you as you rage. My fate has struck your gilded cage.’ It's about the way personal relationships can sometimes get into a vicious circle, but it's also addressing the political spectrum.” “The Lodger” “Bob Halligan Jr. wrote this. He wrote ‘Some Heads Are Gonna Roll’ and ‘(Take These) Chains.’ He came to a show a few years ago, just to see the band. It was so great to see him, and I love what he’d done with those two tracks, so I said, ‘If you’ve got anything, send it to me.’ Maybe a month later, he sends me this. It’s about a guy who kills his wife and then his sister. It’s like a mini-movie about revenge and justice. Bob has a great talent for words and imagery, and I really love the dark and mysterious atmosphere of this song.”

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