Released: 1986, Sony Music
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Perhaps the most hated album in the Judas Priest catalogue, TURBO saw the band take a turn towards the pop-metal sound that was all the rage in the mid- to late 1980s. Sure, the songs are catchy and there was already a bit of a steer in this direction with 1984’s DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH album, but TURBO embraced all that the hair metal movement had to offer. Slicker than the floor in a fast food kitchen, TURBO’s over-production and dependence on studio tricks created a big step backward for a band that was still riding high on the wave of the NWOBHM.
The album opens with the title track and uses guitar synthesizers in place of the signature twin guitar attack of K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton. Released as a music video, the song saw the once leather-clad band dressed in spandex and with teased up hair, which was a shock at the time to even a young buck of 14 like myself. The song itself is catchier than anything, but just does NOT sound like a Judas Priest song. “Locked In” is a bit of a return to the traditional Priest sound, but “Private Property” and “Parental Guidance” quickly return to the TURBO theme. Remember these are nearly 40 year old men playing songs with lyrics like:
You say I waste my life away
But I live it to the full
How would you know anyway
You're just mister dull
Why don't you get into the things we do today
You could lose twenty years right away
So we say
We don't need no
No no no
Parental guidance here
“Rock You All Around The World” and “Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days” are attempts at heavy metal anthems to get the crowd pumped up at the shows. “Out In The Cold” is one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s a departure from the happy, anthemic songs which is refreshing. This is one of those Priest classics like “Beyond The Realms Of Death” and “Victim Of Changes”, which are elegies for something lost. Much deeper than
You drive me crazy with that walk
You get me so excited
I tremble and I shake
When you make the moves you make
“Hot For Love” and “Reckless” are throwaway tracks. Forget they even exist. Enough said.
TURBO has not aged well but it is not as bad as POINT OF ENTRY, the worst Halford-era album. Sure, Rob Halford’s mullet was cheesy and seeing the swarthy Ian Hill in a spandex jumpsuit still haunts me to this day, but as a kid growing up in the mid-80s, TURBO still holds a place in my blackened metal heart.