12 Songs, 55 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Judas Priest spent most of the late ‘80s trying to catch a wave into the pop-metal mainstream, stretching their sound without covering meaningful new ground. Fast, mean, and relentless, Painkiller was reinvention by regression, stripping out the synths and arena-rock flourishes of albums like Turbo in favor of the thrash and speed metal that brought them to prominence in the first place. Fierce as it is, the album also has a camp approach that keeps things from ever feeling too self-serious, whether it’s Rob Halford wailing about boiling clouds of thunder on the title track or the operatic drama of “Touch of Evil.” In other words, the metal one thinks of when they think of—horns up—metal.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Judas Priest spent most of the late ‘80s trying to catch a wave into the pop-metal mainstream, stretching their sound without covering meaningful new ground. Fast, mean, and relentless, Painkiller was reinvention by regression, stripping out the synths and arena-rock flourishes of albums like Turbo in favor of the thrash and speed metal that brought them to prominence in the first place. Fierce as it is, the album also has a camp approach that keeps things from ever feeling too self-serious, whether it’s Rob Halford wailing about boiling clouds of thunder on the title track or the operatic drama of “Touch of Evil.” In other words, the metal one thinks of when they think of—horns up—metal.

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