Stylistically; its classic Heavy Metal; not too heavy, not too soft. There are one or two more somber and reflective moments, but nothing you could call a ballad, and one or two fast moments but nothing you can call Thrash. In that sense, Redeemer Of Souls is a very focused and consistent record – all very positive. The drawback however is that Redeemer Of Souls is something of a strange album, its exactly what a lot of fans wanted in a lot of ways – just giving you a full album of the best songs from the last few albums with no messing about – but it is unfortunately delivered a little bit too politely and calmly, so it can’t really be called exceptional or exciting.
Lyrically, everything is on track with what you’d expect (and somehow feels oddly grateful somehow, which is a plus) and the vocal performance is as good as can be expected – not the shrill phenomenal highs of Painkiller or the variety of the ’70s era, but equal to the last two records. New guitarist, Richie Faulkner fits in well and luckily doesn’t let the side down despite the odds. So far so good. The production is solid and clean, although a little flat. That’s the first thing against the record.
Musically, the performances are also solid but a little flat. Its not as if anyone is running away with passion or “playing the fuck out of it” at any stage, ever, but nothing is poor or mishandled. Likewise, the songwriting is never poor and there is no track that feels like it needs cutting – but nothing is likely to become your favourite Priest song ever. There’s a lot of great potential, but it could’ve done with a slightly heavier sound, slightly harder drumming, slightly wilder vocals, slightly more passionate guitar solos. Maturity and sophistication are welcome, sure, but there’s no competing with sounding hungry.
Highlights include “Metalizer,” “Battle Cry” and the title-track, which are three of the livelier tracks on the record. If you are on the fence about the album’s merits and haven’t bought yourself a copy yet, those tracks are probably the best advertisement available.
Overall; This is a completely rock solid and almost perfect album from a veteran band who really know what they are doing, but could’ve done with just a bit more “umph.” Its good, but its not special.