Judas Priest - 1986 Turbo

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986

image

ARTIST: Judas Priest
ALBUM: Turbo
LABEL: CBS
SERIAL: OC 40158
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2002, Legacy, CK 85437

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Rob Halford - vocals * K.K Downing - guitars * Glenn Tipton - guitars * Ian Hill - bass * Dave Holland - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Turbo Lover * 02 Locked In * 03 Private Property * 04 Parental Guidance * 05 Rock You All Around The World * 06 Out In The Cold * 07 Wild Nights, Hot And Crazy Days * 08 Hot For Love * 09 Reckless

Background

Of all the Judas Priest discography, this is perhaps the least played album I have.

'Turbo' is not totally removed from the aural bombast from their previous two albums, but if fans were looking for an extension to the HM staples of 'Screaming For Vengeance' and 'Defenders Of The Faith', then they would be hugely disappointed.

Everything just seems so out of sorts on 'Turbo', but give Judas Priest their due, they are a band that do take chances, unlike some others (who shall remain nameless) who plod along from one album to the next.

So, reviewing this years later, and reading the subsequent opinion on the Net, most of the offered comments are pretty much on the mark.

There was a liberal amount of experimentation on 'Turbo'. Loads of integrated guitar and synth (this was the age of MIDI after all, so Roland Guitar Synths were common place, as was the Synth Axe) which changed the JP sound quite a bit.

Many people can debate the merit of the band's new sound, but for me, quite clearly, the songs overall weren't that strong.

the Songs

It would seem that Halford and co must've run out of ideas, as it looks like they have borrowed from the book of Messrs Simmons and Stanley.

Song titles 'Rock You Around The World', 'Out In The Cold' and 'Wild Nights, Hot Crazy Days' all could've been lifted from any Kiss album.

The musical riposte 'Parental Guidance' is a veiled dig at Tipper Gore's dopey PMRC movement of the mid 80's - and a direct response to her criticism of 'Eat Me Alive' (from 'Defenders Of The Faith').

Gore even had the temerity to pick on the rather lovely Sheena Easton for a Prince song that she covered ('Sugar Walls'). Most artists including Judas Priest had an opportunity to fire their own bullets back at Gore - which they did through their music.

Anyway, back to this album.. I quite liked the song 'Turbo Lover', but admittedly prefer it on the many live recordings that I've heard subsequent to this studio version.

The synth overload on 'Private Property' seems like an intrusion and a distraction, sort of reminding me how bands like ZZ Top and Doc Holliday introduced synths into their sound with conflicting results.

'Out In The Cold' is another to feel the unkindly hand of the ivories wafting through the song.

'Hot Love' tries hard to keep traditional guitars at the forefront, but you can hear the persistent drone of synth sequences bubbling under the hood.

Finally, JP get it right on the album closer 'Reckless', with guitars very prominent and synths nowhere to be heard. For once I say 'Yay!'

In Summary

Look, I am the first person to get excited when I see a keyboardist in a rock band. I'm not knocking the ivory players one bit.

However, in my upbringing, Judas Priest will always be a heavy metal band, where there is little room for synths. I can forgive the band for a little bit of experimentation, and 'Turbo' will stand out for that reason alone.

The album is not a total write-off, and as Alun (dangerzone) wrote a while back in one of our earlier JP reviews, he described it as 'cartoon metal'.

For what it's worth, occasionally I like to go back and have a listen to JP's back catalog, but this album will sit just a bit deeper in the pile than the rest.


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