Friday, March 18, 2016

Judas Priest - Point of Entry (1981)

Thanks to the success that the predecessor "British Steel" brought (mostly thanks to "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight" getting air time on radio), the seventh Judas Priest album, "Point of Entry", followed in its bigger brother's foot steps, being a very accessible record with catchy melodies and simple structures. Hell even the cover art is simple and sleek, which unfortunately cannot be said about the North American version of the cover, that was made out of office supplies. At least it is the first cover to feature the 3D version of the Judas Priest logo, that is something... I guess.

Despite being as accessible as "British Steel", "Point of Entry" is rarely mentioned as one of the more famous Priest albums, and while some of the songs did get some air time, they ultimately did not last very long either. So what was it that made this album less attractive? I think it is the guitars that is the difference maker, while not being bad per se, they are rarely showing any aggression at all. It is almost like we are back to square one (or in this case, album one, "Rocka Rolla"), back to the roots of Priest, a time when they were more of a pure rock 'n' roll band who was not fully developed yet.

It also could be that the band fell into a very common trap in the metal world, the so called hit trap. The previous album gave them mainstream recognition, and now they are here, trying to follow up that success, but just like many other bands, both before and after, Judas Priest tries a little too hard to recreate the success, leaving the heavy and dark stuff in the dust. It is a lesson almost every band learns sooner or later, write music from your heart and passion instead of your lust for fame, and everything will turn out well.

There is not much that stands out in this album, everything just blends smoothly together into a soup of mediocrity. However, I do like the up tempo pumping in "Hot Rockin'". It is definitely the catchiest and heaviest song in the album, and it is also a song where Tipton and Downing gets to shine. In fact, it is the guitar melodies that more or less saves the album from being a pure sleeping pill. Both "Turning Circles" and "Desert Plains" has some nice beats with some interesting guitar melodies baked in. It is far from the most impressive work I have heard from the duo, but they keep showing that their chemistry is extremely strong.

That is why it is a shame that the production is not one of the strongest in the band's discography. Halford sounds so distant that you can barely hear him from time to time, and the whole album seems to have some sort of filter that just feels awkward. Okay, it is not the worst production the band had to deal with either, but when the quality in the music is lacking, the production needs to step up its game.

Squeezed in between two legendary albums, I did not expect "Point of Entry" to be all that thrilling, and I was right, it isn't. This is a mediocre album that seems to be chasing the sun as it is going down over the horizon, but never makes it. The old school vibe is there, which makes this album more retro than it should be, mostly because it shoved out the heavy side of the Priest through the window. It is not 1974 anymore guys, just let it go, look forward, and get back on track instead.

Songs worthy of recognition: Hot Rockin', Turning Circles, Desert Plains

Rating: 5,5/10 Troubleshooters

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