Judas Priest – ‘Firepower’ (2018) – Album Review (The Complete Albums Collection Series – Bonus Edition)

After the stellar performance of the prior album ‘Redeemer of Souls’ thanks in large part of the addition of Richie Faulkner, the band started work on the next album in 2016. However, it took a long time to finally get to the studios in March of 2017 and the band would go until June to finish the recording. The album then sat for months on months and finally get released on March 9, 2018 where it went on to sell around 49,000 copies in the first week putting it at #5 and their highest chart position. Yeah, 49,000 is a far cry from their heydays, but 49,000 in 2018 for any band is a decent week of sales…oh how things have changed.

But sometimes things to don’t change as the band brought back former producer Tom Allom in to the mix to co-produce the album with Andy Sneap. It had been since 1988’s ‘Ram It Down” as the last time they worked with Allom, so 30 years. That is a long gap. Andy would have such an impact with the band, he would actually go on tour with the band as guitarist. The reason for that was due to some sad news from the camp. The great Glenn Tipton was retiring from touring due to his battle with Parkinson’s Disease. The illness was getting to be too much to play some of the more challenging parts in songs. That doesn’t mean he didn’t pop up on stage every now and again when he felt good enough to play because he did. Glenn is still a member of the band and will still help creatively and in recording. Touring is just too much and too unpredictable on how he’ll feel.

One of the really cool things about this album is the cover art. I remember seeing this and thinking, Damn! That is a cool cover. The next thing I know, there was a filter or something because people started replacing their cover picture on Facebook with their name in Judas Priest Firepower font. It was cool. I didn’t do it though as I was probably too lazy as it seemed like to much work and I didn’t want to be a follower, as I am a leader…no, who am I kidding, it was the laziness part!!

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“My First Time” with Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘The Ultimate Sin”

It is hard to believe this is the 10th “My First Time” selection.  That means there only two more to go in the series before I call it quits.  My intention was one a month for a full year.  For the 10th selection, I have chosen the album that was ‘My First Time’ with Ozzy Osbourne.  That album was ‘The Ultimate Sin’.  It took up to his fourth solo release before I actually bought anything Ozzy Osbourne.

The album came out on February 22, 1986 and at the time was Ozzy’s most successful album.  It would go on to sell over 2 million copies and cemented me as a fan.  I had never been into Ozzy’s music prior (with the exception of “Crazy Train”), but there was something about this album I liked.  It felt more accessible to me.  The tunes were more melodic and not as hard as I imagined an Ozzy album to be.  It helped that the first single “Shot in the Dark” received massive airplay on MTV.

Ozzy is always known for having outstanding musicians on an album and this one was no different.  The guitarist at the time was none other than Jake E. Lee.  This would end up being his last album with Ozzy.  He would do some solo stuff and founded Badlands, but he would then disappear for years until his recent return with Red Dragon Cartel.  Most of the music on the album was written by Jake, but since he had been screwed out of writing credits on previous albums, he wouldn’t contribute anything else until he was assured credit.  Once a contract was in place, BOOM, we have a new Ozzy album.

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