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Judas Priest

Nostradamus | Epic
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  June 17, 2008
3.5 3.5 Stars
This 23-song, 104-minute double-CD behemoth is distinctive in the Priest œuvre for, among other things, being the first of their albums that you listen to and don’t think, “Wow, how could I have not figured out before that Rob Halford is gay?!” For all that moments hark back to, say, the more epic tracks on Sad Wings of Destiny and Painkiller, the operatic grandeur and the way the cuts all flow into one another make this album an anomaly of pomp previously unheard in the JP catalogue. If Priest have always been the Stones to Iron Maiden’s Beatles, then this is the band’s Their Satanic Majesties Request (though in scope and lyrical focus it’s closer to Genesis’s The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway): a concept album about the life of Nostradamus that’s as straightforward, in its lyrics, as Maiden’s “Alexander the Great.” Am I making Nostradamus sound lame? Don’t mean to: it’s a ridiculous album, sure, but take Defenders of the Faith, replace the Metallion with Nostradamus, double the number of awesome riffs, add the occasional pan flute and symphonic embellishments, and you have the most grandiose metal record likely to be released this year.
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