We kick off with the title track and to be fair there isn’t a lot that can be said without going through the motions really, and that sums up the song itself. We’ve ticked all the boxes here regarding the traditional duel-guitar onslaught with pummelling drums, coupled with Rob Halford’s distinctive vocals, with a slick solo or two thrown in for good measure…it’s a decent track, a proper metal track and pretty much Priest by numbers really…or, well, ANY classic metal band by numbers for that matter. Follow up track “Lightning Strike” is predominantly more of the same really…there is a decent rhythm flowing through the track despite the gruff, often blunt delivery of Halford’s vocals in places but it’s still pretty run of the mill.
It’s not all a barrage of beige however…”Never The Heroes” utilises a strong, groove-heavy intro that builds up wonderfully into a solid, blue’s-based track that is brilliant in its simplicity, and the chorus is spot on; nothing extravagant but undeniably catchy…this is a clear album highlight. “No Surrender” is a short, sharp dose of classic metal but has ample, melodic guitar harmonies and effective hooks during its brief run-time, resulting in another enjoyable listen, while closing track “Sea Of Red” initially swaps the aggression for subtle acoustics, as we end on a blissful power ballad. It gradually picks up the pace; even incorporating symphonic elements, but the change in overall style is a welcome swap indeed and a strong finale.
Elsewhere, well, I’m afraid over the 14 tracks on offer, the majority of it is just a little bit boring. “Evil Never Dies” is amusingly fitting as you feel that way about the song itself; it just methodically plods along for what seems like forever, it has like, one hook pre-chorus and that’s about it. “Flame Thrower” despite its name really doesn’t ignite much interest…and the chorus sounds off vocally, it just doesn’t sound right. “Guardians” beautifully played piano intro sounds absolutely noble and heroic, but it’s just an interlude and ultimately disappoints, leading into “Rising From Ruins” which is consistent but generic at best and it’s a shame. For a band approaching their 50th anniversary it’s pretty impressive don’t get me wrong, they still play with passion and Rob Halford can still hold his own vocally, credit where it’s due, they’re far more entertaining that fellow dinosaurs THE ROLLING STONES…but just like fellow Brit metal veterans SAXON they’re running the risk of merely going through the motions now. As far as traditional metal goes, it’s fine, but like most branded clothing, you’re only paying for the name on the cover of this record.