Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Judas Priest - Turbo (1986)

What the hell? That is the initial reaction both I and, I assume, a lot of other fans of the band got when listening to "Turbo" for the first time. After releasing two amazing albums in "Screaming For Vengeance" and "Defenders of The Faith", they return with... this. I know that the Priest is known for its sound diversity and that they can further develop their sound, but this is just flat out weird.

So what is it that makes "Turbo" such a stand out? For starters, this was the first Judas Priest album to include guitar synthezisers, which directly is a sign of how the music scene was like in the mid-80's. But it is not only that, the songs in here are more straight forward, more chorus driven, almost poppy, one reason for that could be that the band initially wanted to make a double album (named "Twin Turbos"), but that was scrapped and the more accessible songs ended up in this album, while the others were either reworked for the upcoming album "Ram It Down", or was released as bonus material in any of the remastered albums, almost 20 years later.

However, the main reason to why this album sounds weird is in the lyrical department. Judas Priest is mostly known for three things, Fantasy, Sci-fi, and overall dark themes, but "Turbo" was almost exclusively about love and romance. Just... why? That alone makes me wanna brand this album as straight out pop, not that metal band can't sing about it, but because they should leave that shit to boy bands and *insert young girl in her 20's that everyone will forget when she turns 40*.

Fortunately, the band fits in some humour in it all to lighten things up (another thing that is not typical of the band, but I'll let that one slide). "Parental Guidance" is one of the songs that do this, because it was solely created as a counter reaction for "Eat Me Alive" being one of the "Filthy Fifteen" that the PMRC published. The song itself is not one of the stronger ones in this record, but it is still a nice addition. I also get some shits and giggles out of the opener "Turbo Lover", not only because of its ridiculous and catchy chorus, but because of the subject matter. I mean, I suppose the song is about cars, but if it was about a real human being, would you really want a Turbo Lover then? Do not know about you guys, but I want a lover who is sensual, hot, and want to go on all night with me, not someone who is done in two red seconds.

Enough of my sexual fantasies, the band is doing their business as usual, but the sound just does not seem right. It does not sound like a Judas Priest album, it is more like a KISS album, except one song that sounds like Rush. It is more or less classic 80's rock that is played in "Turbo", no shredding, barely any Metal God screams, not much heaviness at all. The only thing that tells me that this is a Judas Priest record is the aggressive attitude, and it is just that that makes this 80's glam rock experiment go from a bland album to an okay album. After all, the songs are still there, rocking out pretty good. I just know that bands like Twisted Sister, Mötley Crüe, and Ratt would kill for songs like "Reckless", "Locked In", and "Hot For Love"

Ultimately, "Turbo" is best described as a fun record... in small doses. This record is fun, catchy, but I seriously cannot believe that the band labeled here is Judas Priest. It is a little funny that Judas Priest out glams almost all of the glam bands out there, but was there even a reason to why they had to do this record? They did not need to be more accessible to the public since they were already famous around that time, nor were they in some identity crisis. In the end though, it is a okay album that just feels way out of place. The odd one out of the Judas Priest discography.

Songs worthy of recognition: Turbo Lover, Locked In, Hot For Love

Rating: 6/10 Wild Nights

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