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Judas Priest, ‘Battle Cry’ – DVD Review

Epic Records
Epic Records

Judas Priest toured the world in support of their latest album Redeemer of Souls, taking their potent live show to more than 30 countries. Having seen them on that tour, I can confirm they still put on a great show. And now you can see for yourself, as that tour cycle has been captured for posterity on their latest live effort, Battle Cry.

Available as a single DVD or CD/DVD, Battle Cry was recorded last year at Germany’s iconic Wacken Festival. The festival has been used to film countless DVDs and live albums for a good reason. It’s a great venue with a huge, energetic crowd that bands feed off. Priest’s set had an audience of 85,000.

The DVD has 16 songs plus an intro. Three of them are from Redeemer of Souls (“Dragonaut,” “Halls of Valhalla” and the title track) and are in the first half of the set. All the classics you’d expect are there, such as “Breaking the Law, “Hell Bent For Leather” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.” The CD does not include “Turbo Lover” or “Living After Midnight,” which are on the DVD.

They also play some songs that weren’t necessarily hit singles, but sound great live, such as “Devil’s Child” from 1982‘s Screaming For Vengeance and “Beyond the Realms of Death” from 1978‘s Stained Class.

Priest sound as vital and vibrant as ever, with Rob Halford still hitting the high notes on tracks like “Painkiller” and “Halls of Valhalla.” Guitarist Richie Faulkner has fit in well, developing excellent chemistry with fellow axeman Glenn Tipton. You can tell he’s having a great time on stage, and his (relatively) youthful exuberance provides an added spark. Faulkner does some serious shredding during a lengthy solo toward the end of the show.

Halford makes numerous costume changes throughout the set, and it wouldn’t be a Priest show without him riding onstage on his Harley prior to “Hell Bent For Leather,” firing up the crowd and boosting the rest of the songs into another gear.

There’s not much in terms of DVD extras. There are three additional songs (“Screaming For Vengeance,” “The Rage” and “Desert Plains”) that were recorded at a show in Gdansk, Poland.

Priest have released a plethora of live albums over the years, and Battle Cry is a worthy addition to that canon. It effectively captures this era of the band, who have aged extremely gracefully and show no signs of slowing down any time soon.

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