Painkiller album cover

Judas Priest


Judas Priest’s twelfth album was a comeback of sorts — 1987’s Turbo had been a synth-drenched controversy magnet (though the tour was a massive success), and 1988’s Ram It Down had been an attempt at retrenchment so craven it verged on self-parody. On Painkiller, they reckoned with speed metal and thrash; the opening title track was one of the fastest, most shredtastic things they ever recorded, and it set the tone for an absolutely crushing collection of pure metal. It wasn’t until eight tracks into a ten-track album that they slowed down a little, and even then, “Touch Of Evil” was Depeche Mode meets grand opera meets power metal. This is exactly the music the demon biker on the album cover would be listening to.

Phil Freeman

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