Judas Priest – Invincible Shield (2024)

Judas Priest came out of the era that melded Black Sabbath with Led Zeppelin and came up with some of the most creative guitar riffology in history, raising the standards by which any new album will be judged, and Invincible Shield tries to balance their past with multiple career peaks.

Perhaps the largest influence on this album is the 1990 release Painkiller which melded Slayer-style proto-death with the melodic heavy metal for which Judas Priest and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) are famous, but it is balanced by contemporary power metal influences as well as classic Judas Priest such as Sin After Sin.

In one angle, the Priest carried forward from their last album but chord progressions and vocal melodies take lots of hints from Painkiller although they tend to end up on a major key upswing or whole scale like the nearly Evangelical-conservative aesthetics of contemporary medievalist power metal, yet songs fit together like their classic works: witty, clever, and yet fit together like an ancient stained glass window.

Expect the usual guitar fireworks on leads which are cleverly designed like little pieces, repeating themes carefully for centering and then contrast in order to molt context and expose a new harmony within the dominant riff. Riffs fit within the verse-chorus pattern that aims for some summary, transition, or inversion in each half of the song.

You can feel the 1970s, 1990s, and 2010s come together in a smooth fusion on this album that by both song titles and the craftsmanlike care that goes into each part clearly seems designed to be a new career peak for Judas Priest. As a listening experience, this easily keeps pace with their post-1970s material and evokes a new interpretation of their classic era.

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56 thoughts on “Judas Priest – Invincible Shield (2024)”

  1. Classic metal fans will want to look up this one.

  2. Trannity says:

    The brief history lesson is great and all, but quite frankly I’ve outgrown the “oldies” that every boomer out there is keeping alive in order to stay relevant… because when you got awesome 90’s and post 90’s death/black metal, that just replaces everything in my book at least.

    Heavy metal is ok, but it’s just heavier pop music, so I think I’ll listen to actual pop music instead like depeche mode or some shit.

    …and speed metal is for Mac/apple users…

    1. Salamander says:

      You’ve not outgrown it. You were never into it. That you use the term boomer in the context and general tone of your post is revealing.

      1. heavy metal > black metal says:

        Amen, of course Tranny is in that faggot’s name so I was about to bitchslap him but you did the job for me. Anyone who thinks 90s black metal replaces heavy metal belongs in zee ovens.

        New Judas Priest album is great. Solidifies their status as the GOAT. They certainly outlasted everyone else in terms of new quality material. That said, they should probably hang it up soon, and it still isn’t quite the same without KK.

        1. Linda says:

          I personally prefer black metal over heavy metal, and death metal over both. However, I respect heavy metal, but it’s generally too tame for my tastes. But I still love Sabbath, Candlemass, Priest, Motorhead, Maiden, King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, Danzig, etc.. It’s preference. I respect the elders, but I need some Burzum or Deicide in rotation constantly.

          1. This is a pretty respectable list. I might toss in Saint Vitus, Budgie, Angel Witch, Doomstone, and Cathedral.

            1. Lock up your children the assman is coming says:

              Some early, post-debut Priest plus Maiden’s second. The rest is skippable if we’re being truly anal.

              1. We are tempted to be truly anal because otherwise idiots will surge in and immediately celebrate mediocrities, yes?

                I have found that if we open the door — “yeah Maiden has a lot of good albums” — we will immediately be surrounded by meatsuits talking about how great some obscure song off of a mediocre album is. That makes them feel important, clever, unique, powerful, and most of all, relevant. It’s a low-IQ or low-experience thing; smarter people realize that “you get what you give” is the law of life. You cannot make yourself cool with possessions, opinions, albums, thousand cock stare, money, etc… it’s what utility you serve to others, nature, and the gods.

              2. That being said, the only Iron Maiden album I listen to is that second one, Killers. It is near-perfect; no need for anything else, even if I appreciate it.

                From Judas Priest, oddly, the question is one of dosage. I like about an album worth of Priest and they are remarkably consistent. I can even appreciate Turbo, but these days I listen to the greatest hits. Sin After Sin may be their most interesting.

                Ironically, the same is true of King Crimson. Once you have heard Red, the rest of the catalogue kind of fades away.

                For Mercyful Fate, Don’t Break The Oath is required listening, and the rest fades away.

                The first Cathedral and the EP are worth it, the rest is worthless.

                Saint Vitus has Mournful Cries and a Greatest (S)Hits compilation that is worth pursuing. I tried listening to their most recently, and “listless” hit the top of the adjectival categorization queue.

                The Angel Witch demos are worth hearing.

                Budgie did one complete album, Night Flight, and the rest is scatty, both more experimental and more funk/blues infused, which leads to incoherence. They were always good but never pulled it together because they were drunk Welshmen and a sheep wandered past.

                First Doomstone is great. Everything else and October 31 is just trying to get back to that.

                I do not listen to Black Sabbath much, but when I do, I always appreciate it. The first two seem the clearest to me.

                Candlemass I appreciate whenever I listen to Ancient Dreams or Epicus but I never reach for it. Something about the vocals, I suppose.

                Motörhead is best on the 2CD live set. Most albums have songs that are not so much filler as versions of previous archetypes, and one of those iterations will win out over the others. Motorhead probably has a dozen song types that it natively makes and a few borrowings that are worth hearing, so Everything Louder Than Everything Else delivers all you need.

                The first Danzig album is great, the second tolerable, and after that… well who cares. Samhain feels unfinished. The Misfits were great but at some point are like Motörhead in that songs tend to be versions of one another, and you only need one, which is why Compilation I remains their best seller.

                1. Cynical says:

                  “From Judas Priest, oddly, the question is one of dosage. I like about an album worth of Priest and they are remarkably consistent. I can even appreciate Turbo, but these days I listen to the greatest hits. Sin After Sin may be their most interesting.”

                  Surprised you’re not going for “Sad Wings of Destiny” — that album is Deicide before Deicide, especially “Victim of Changes”.

                  1. Imagine a tabby cat… says:

                    How is that album or song Deicide before Deicide?!
                    Haha that is a provocative statemebt my niggie.

                    1. trad metal > death metal says:

                      I was about to question the same thing. That is the dumbest thing stated on this site since Cleavy McStevens said Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith wrote “The Writing On The Wall” whilst listening to Graveland. Deicide s/t, as brutal as it is, is more or less a Motorhead album, short, catchy, to the point songs. Sad Wings of Destiny is as anti-catchy and compact as it can be (when the band thought they can get paid by being progressive, only to turn around and make AC/DC and Kiss albums in the 80s. They were good AC/DC and Kiss albums, but a spade is a spade.)

                    2. Cynical says:

                      Sure, I’ll feed the troll when he’s trolling on an interesting topic :)

                      I would start by painstakingly breaking down the riffing technique, but there’s no real need — just listen to the first post-chorus riff in “Victim of Changes”, the one that appears at about 1:43 in the song. Now go listen to the first riff of “Lunatic of God’s Creation”, the main riff of “Dead by Dawn”, the pre-chorus of “Satan Spawn, the Caco-Daemon”, the verse riff of “Dead but Dreaming”, the bridge/final riff of “In Hell I burn”, the opening riff of “Trifixion”, the first riff of “Crucifixation”, etc. But it’s not just that one riff! Despite being tremolo picked, the larger rhythms of the verse riff of “Sacrificial Suicide” and the overall flow of it immediately call back to the verse riff in “Victim of Changes.” The riff shape that “Tyrant” innovated in its verse, the fast rushing riff with a melodic run that doesn’t resolve into a turnaround, is a favorite of Deicide throughout the first two albums — “Blaspherion”‘s chorus, chorus riff of “Satan Spawn, the Caco-Daemon”, the verse riff of “Deicide”, the verse riff of “Day of Darkness”, the bridge riff of “Sacrificial Suicide”, etc. The intro to “The Ripper” is also instructive — a creepy yet explosive lead section that gets turned into material for the riffing of much of the rest of the song… an idea that should be familiar to anyone who has ever heard “Repent to Die”, where the same tactic is moved to after the opening riff. And speaking of “The Ripper”…

                      Benton’s vocal approach is very clearly a modernized version of Halford’s approach, as laid bare in the opening seconds of “Sad Wings of Destiny”‘s second track. A half-melodic vocal that uses three different registers to create varying emphases? Yeah, I don’t need to say any more on this front.

                      Structurally, you know that “Deicide structure”, the “fractal” structure as Brett has called it, where the verse-chorus division is further subdivided into supporting themes allowing narrative development in a manner reminiscent of the better techno music out there? Go back and listen to “Sad Wings of Destiny”, and see how familiar this is.

                      The lead guitar work should need no explanation.

                      Even the production of “Legion” has nods to “Sad Wings of Destiny”! Vocals forward but mixed in a range that they give the guitars more space, thus emphasizing the latter as the lead instrument despite being “lower” in the mix, and then a twangy/clanky bass pushed surprisingly forward in the mix acting as the main rhythmic instrument over the drums? Yep, guess what band did that in 1976…

                      If you want to learn a lot about Florida death metal tonight, go listen to “Sad Wings of Destiny” and “Stained Class” — the former was a bigger influence on Deicide and Monstrosity, the latter a bigger influence on Morbid Angel, Angelcorpse, and Massacre, but either way, ’70s Judas Priest was at least 85% of the genetic material of that particular strain of extreme metal.

                    3. Flying Kites says:

                      Wanna discuss militant esoteric initiations and celebrate virility?

                  2. Hugh Downs says:

                    Unleashed in the East is a solid choice for a refresher of the early era of this band. Great track list and a ferocious performance – touched up as it clearly is.

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CotyAc90s4

                    I agree with a previous post about Sad Wings of Destiny being the front runner of their early studio output, but Sin After Sin isn’t far behind. In my mind they’re almost companion pieces, with SAS being a bit less clumsy with the ballads. Both are great though.

                2. are you rockin' forever says:

                  But what is this greatest hits for the Priest you speak of? Some sort of self-made compilation I assume. Hope there’s a few tracks from Painkiller on there!

                  Great list of classic heavy metal bands BTW. I think Witchfinder General deserves a mention too.

                  1. Good question. It turns out to be a compilation named Living After Midnight: The Best of Judas Priest.

                    1. are you rockin' forever says:

                      Fantastic. Judas Priest were one of the few old bands where I felt the need to go through and listen to all of their main albums. Whatever they go for they do it well.

                    2. trad metal > death metal says:

                      I’m shocked to hear that’s your go to. I figured greatest hits albums were laughed at by the likes of ANUS. It’s also really strange how THAT is the Priest album that sells so well, as it’s got quite a few proper hits missing. Metal Meltdown instead of Painkiller? Some Heads Are Gonna Roll instead of Love Bites? No Metal Gods? No Beyond The Realms Of Death? Green Manalishi being the first track (how the hell did this song become a staple? When it came out as a single it dropped like a rock!)? It’s cool that it ends with a live version of Tyrant but even that’s an odd choice to put on a greatest hits album. I might consider Sin After Sin the best if Last Rose Of Summer didn’t stink of the joint. And those handclaps on Starbreaker are hella gay.

                      Cathedral? Give me Ethereal Mirror over Forest of Equilibrium anyday. The latter wants to be slow death metal but has no clue how to make it interesting.

                      I agree Don’t Break The Oath is the #1, but Melissa is also required hearing.

                      Budgie? I think you meant Power Supply.

                      This idea that Bruce Dickinson ruined Iron Maiden is a bunch of punk rock cope. Di’Anno himself hated Killers. I get not liking any of the faux prog garbage they put out now (Priest schools Maiden in this field indubitably), but the rest of the 80s stuff is amazing. Hell, even Varg loves Somewhere In Time.

                      I agree Red is the only King Crimson album worth getting. ITCOTCK was the biggest piece of pretentious 60s hippie shit I’d ever heard in my life. Half of Starless & Bible Black is good too.

                    3. Give me Ethereal Mirror over Forest of Equilibrium anyday.

                      There, I cannot join you. Everything after that first album is dishwater rock music dumbed down for the herd. For Kyuss and Alice in Chains fans, yes, it is probably “better” music, but artistically and in terms of enjoyability, it does not hold a candle to that first Cathedral album, which actually managed an ominous but ironic atmosphere straight out of Poe.

                      It helps to put things into context here. When you run a radio show, you like having B-tracks and exceptions that can be thrown into a show where in context they liven things up, but in this message, I am speaking of the albums I kick around because I apparently like listening to them. I say “apparently” because this was based on MusicBrainz-style listening data; the question was what I actually listened to, not what I thought I listened to. There were surprises, namely that apparently I blast a lot more Ildjarn, Demoncy, Incantation, and Asphyx than I thought.

                      I dunno about the “Bruce Dickinson ruined Iron Maiden” as a literal trope, but Killers was the peak for me: a perfect mix of prog, punk, and metal with a spirit of its own. I enjoy the faux prog garbage but it is oil on water and not integrated like on that second album.

                      As far as King Crimson, the best Fripp material is his ambient stuff. History loop-repeats.

                    4. Cynical says:

                      If going for the “greatest hits” experience with Judas Priest, “Unleashed in the East” has a far better selection of songs pulled mostly from their most interesting period than the “Living After Midnight” compilation linked here (although I still think that just pulling out “Sad Wings of Destiny” or “Stained Class” is the way to go).

                    5. Franklin Jr. says:

                      Brett, this forum layout is killing me, can you do anything about it?! I mean, when the nested replies are so drilled-down that they become a near-unreadable column 8 characters wide?
                      Sheeeeeeit help a guy out please.

                3. Altarboys of Madness says:

                  “ I do not listen to Black Sabbath much,”
                  Whoa whoa whoa WHAT?
                  But certainly you have, in your life? This is a shocker, Brett!! What about Master of Reality?!

        2. Nothing can replace heavy metal for being heavy metal, but it was always a step on the path from proto-metal toward an ultimate form of the genre. Now we have reached that and people either upgrade and master it or run away. Most people run away. Agreed on Priest, and am divided on the KK question; I think they are doing pretty damn well with their current staff.

      2. There is minimal post-90s quality metal.

        I think technically NWOBHM would be boomers. Too early for Gen X, but the post-1974 Gen X is not even real, so…

    2. faggot1999 says:

      Post hairline

      1. Why do transgenders have such high rates of mental illness? Probably the same reason liberals and Christians do.

    3. Emo Fan says:

      Emo is for AAPL losers.

  3. CapnCrunch says:

    To see how creative Priest were even on their most commercial albums, check out the live guitar interplays between Tipton and Downing on Youtube. Those parts fit together with the beauty of a rubik’s cube. Obviously a huge influence on Denner-Shermann too.

  4. Atrophy says:

    Speed metal band ATROPHY also realeased an album this year. I think S.R. Prozak had a favorable opinion of them.

    1. I have enjoyed them in the past. Their album titles are alarmingly consistent.

    2. Fast Water says:

      No shit? Atrophys a solid outfit. Gonna be checking that out

  5. Chicanery says:

    Arguably the most important metal band, I cannot think of anyone even close to their level. People run out of ideas and yet with these guys the creativity keeps going. So happy for them, really. And at their age they still got it, true artists

  6. Shadow of GNAA says:

    Glad to see the first openly gay band featured here and none of that half-baked shemale bile.

    Brought to you by the trve infektors & engagerz ov infernal sodomy…

  7. AIDS infested corpse says:

    It’s really dead out there when ya’ll haven’t talked about any new metal in months huh?

    1. psychic warfare says:

      yeah i think metal is pretty played out. the classic stuff was created by pushing boundaries. i say keep pushing.

    2. trad metal > blackened death metal says:

      I imagine their response to the new Necrophobic is “waste of time, go listen to Nocturnal Silence and Darkside again.”

      1. Has Necrophobic been relevant since The Nocturnal Silence?

        1. are you rockin' forever says:

          Hell no.

        2. Armchair power says:

          Still better than boomer metal, and they’re still making money, so you’re not the one to decide if anything is relevant.

          1. are you rockin' forever says:

            They’re making money from the same retards who lap up Watain, Behemoth, Dummy Borgir etc. So yeah… lost their relevance.

          2. stop using that word it hurts my feelings faggot says:

            anyone who unironically says boomer metal needs to be hung by their balls. I hate that that word has stuck with society. Makes you wish for a rape holocaust

            1. Metal has separated into normie metal and ogmetal. The normie metal is now Reddit-tier stuff, basically a bunch of rock and punk influences, and the ogmetal keeps to the underground ideal but tries to push farther since we are all sick of the three-chord “retro” nostalgia and hipster bands. Judas Priest is literally Boomermetal because they are mostly Boomers. The Day of the Pillow (TDOTP) dawns but not for them; JP has done better than most from that era.

              1. trad > death says:

                Except people use boomer to describe lame and no longer good. Fuck those animals.

                1. I agree, the term should be reserved for the 1942-1962 people who belong under MyPillows (where there is no oxygen).

            2. Ugra Karma says:

              TO THE DEPTHS IN DEGRADATION

    3. Just a lack of time. Send tobacco and money.

    1. How feeble thy man hast come forth unto us.
      To thine blessed land.
      Provoking his crucifixion…

      Thus to endure the reality of everlasting damnation…

    2. are you rockin' forever says:

      Hell yes.

  8. devo says:

    Why does everyone say Don’t Break the Oath is the best Mercyful Fate when Melissa and the early EPs are so self-evidently superior in every way? Oath is bland and plodding and wholly unmemorable. Whereas every track on the earlier releases is so distinct that you need only hear a few seconds to recognize it!

    I’m going to assume DBtO worship is some kind of hessian psy-op or mass delusion but I don’t get it.

    1. Crionics says:

      Prefer Melissa, it’s more heroic if that’s an appropriate word. But Don’t Break The Oath feels like a direct influence on Hell Awaits in terms of writing which should underline its significance to death metal in general.

    2. Gossamer says:

      ive never been able to get into it. melissa is way better. but king diamonds music has never done too much for me anyway. his shtick though, thats a different story.

  9. Legionary Nihilist Militia says:

    The best “greatest hits” Judas Priest have is the double CD released in 1993: “Metal Works: ‘73-93.” It has most of their classic songs on it many, many of which are missing from the other compilations. I like everything from Sin after Sin to Painkiller. Even Turbo……good, fun, catchy album. My favorites are Screaming for Vengeance and Defenders of the Faith.

    Don’t Break the Oath is the best Mercyful Fate record, but the Mercyful Fate EP and Melissa are right with it. The 90s reunion albums kind of fade away, but are good in and of themselves.

    I like all the 70s Sabbath albums but my favorite is Sabotage. My favorite album from probably my favorite band.

    You should really check out Danzig IV: 4P. It’s like the Samhain album that was never made under the Samhain name. Darker, more atmospheric, but less bluesy.

    I like all 80s Maiden, but for me, their peak is the trilogy of albums: Powerslave, Somewhere in Time, and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. They never reached the height of those three again, though the first two with DiAnno have their charm, with the mix of 70s progressive rock and street punk.

  10. Romantic Warrior says:

    Any love song recommendations? While I appreciate Sodomize the weak, I don’t see myself listening to it while cuddling with my wife

  11. Bobby Peru says:

    Witch Vomit released a cool new album that reminds me of Mefitis.

    Previous albums were mediocre but this one stands out.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-myyReycfs

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