with special quest HAMMERFALL
The 22nd of April 2012
Ice Hall Helsinki
REVIEW AND PICS ARTO LEHTINEN AND MARKO SYRJALA
There are still a few basic elements left in life, which are invariable and stand up to the test of time. The same thing can be referred to the classic heavy metal bands like Judas Priest. The band is still as strong and vital as ever although original guitarist and founding member K.K Downing pulled out of Priest before the massive farewell Epitaph tour kicked off in last June. However, he was then replaced by a young bloke Richie Faulkner who does have live experiences working in other bands though. Faulkner’s contribution to Judas Priest was now introduced to the massive fan base of Judas Priest around the globe with a great response. Before the defenders of the metal faith unleashed the metal meltdown, the Swedish Hammerfall let the hammer fall in the ancient godforsaken Ice Hall in Helsinki.
HammerFall had been hired to open up for Priest on the farewell tour. The Swedish power metallers have witnessed up and downs during the past twenty years, but they have never gained that large following in Finland. Therefore supporting Judas Priest was a godspeed for Hammerfall as the whole band have idolized and been influenced by the metal gods. However all the essential Hammerfall songs belonged to the set such as “Heart Of Fire, Let The Hammer Fall” and generally these most wellknown Hammerfall songs. Hammerfall has definitely divided the metal crowd to two different camps; they are either liked or disliked. Obviously some attender expressed opinions about Hammerfall rather negatively, Cans of course fired immediately back. Hammerfall sounded basic power metal with the cheesy riff and songs, to where it is easy to sing along.
When the Swedes and their equipment had been moved off from the stage, more and more people started crawling to the Ice Hall, waiting for Judas Rising. The opening intro began roaring out of the monitors and the massive curtain was dropped. People went totally bezerk, raising their fists up and pumping into the air. The two and half hour set was kicked off by the classic songs such as “Rapid Fire”, “Metal Gods” and was then followed by “Heading Out to the Highway”. “Judas is Rising” and “Prophecy” presented the newer material off from the last two albums.
The set basically consisted of all the essential Judas Priest songs that the normal and middle aged crowd could easily recognize and sing along. However most of songs definitely sounded awesome, but instead “Sentinel” was bungled quite badly it was a pure torture for both fans and vocalist Halford who was having some serious trouble through the whole song. Another song having a little bit different handling was “Bloodred Skies” off from the godly awful RAM IT DOWN album. It still went “ok” mostly because of dropped tune. When “Turbo Lover” cut the air, video clips of pumping hydraulic pumps were reflected to the backdrop. That gave a bit of eccentric mind association to the song. “Breaking The Law” was not sung by Halford instead the Finnish audience was encouraged by Halford to sing it loud. That was truly a nice exception. Visually, this was really impressing performance. There were tons of lasers, smoke bombs and fire used during the show and Halfords fashion show with his endless line of great looking leather clothes was fun to follow. Also, there’s never been a Judas Priest show in Finland without Halford having his Harley Davidson on stage and this time did no exception here.
Rob Halford has often been criticized for losing his voice and not being able to maintain his voice up in the most difficult parts like “Painkiller”. Either his voice can stand higher pitches at the moment or then some he must have changed the screaming style as Halford’s high screams sounded most of the time really brutal and tight. Obviously bassist Ian Hill has already figured out 40 years ago about his role and position on the stage by standing in front of massive monitor walls. The man didn’t move in that spot that much during that night though but he did really strong work on stage. Longtime drummer Scott Travis also plays like a machine, really tight and hard. As for the guitarists, as it is known KK Downing pulled the plug and decided to stay at home and got replaced by a young bloke Richie Faulker. It must be said that Faulkner looks like a cloned version of Downing. His manners and look truly are reminiscent to young Downing. However fans have to admit that Faulkner has brought some new breath of life and passion to Judas Priest. Glenn Tipton is no longer a young man, but Faulker as a wingman for Tipton has brought more vibes to his performance. In general the whole band appeared to be in an extreme good strike and literally in fire.
Judas Priest offered one hell of unforgettable heavy metal show for the Finnish metal fans. Two and a half hours, from mostly veteran age musicians, is highly respectable for any band on these days. Even though Epitaph –tour it has been advertised as the farewell tour it doesn’t automatically mean the last chapter in the long career of Judas Priest would be over. Who knows when and if Judas Priest returns to stage to deliver another classic heavy metal tour and one more album for its eager fans?
Heading Out To The Highway
Victim Of Changes
Diamonds & Rust
Beyond The Realms Of Death
Blood Red Skies
The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)
Breaking The Law
The Hellion & Electric Eye
Hell Bent For Leather
You've Got Another Thing Comin'
Living After Midnight