Judas Priest - Invincible Shield (2024)

Invincible Shield is the nineteenth studio album by Judas Priest. It was produced, once again, by the band's touring guitarist Andy Sneap, who previously produced my beloved "Firepower" in 2018, for me one of the best albums of the last decade.

The band officially began writing sessions in February 2020, but as guitarist Richie Faulkner later stated, they "faced some challenges with schedules due to the pandemic" and had not been able to get together and work on new music: "We wanted to keep it the same dynamic as Firepower - as we all got together, played the songs in pre-production before recording them".

Luckily for me and those who loved Firepower, Invincible Shield could be seen as volume 2 of its predecessor from every point of view. The production is granitic (well, it's an Andy Sneap record...), the songwriting is, again, very inspired, and the performance is of course top notch with Rob Halford sounding very natural and comfortable with all the material (including the hard parts). 

The opener and single "Panic Attack" is fast, energetic, and catchy... A spectacular opener and definitely one of the best songs on the album. In "The Serpent And The King" Rob Halford sounds almost like the Painkiller era (he's 72!), the title track, the longest of the album, has a spectacular solo section and drumming (what a sound!).

There are no bad songs on the album, maybe just some are less inspired than others, but definitely no skip tracks as every single one has something memorable or catchy. "Crown of Horns" has a fantastic chorus and great solos, for example. "As God Is My Witness" is pure Heavy metal (the riffs and the drumming of Scott Travis!) and with a chorus that will never go away from your head, as well as the magnificent "Trial by Fire", pure Priest and probably my favourite on the album. 

Towards the end of the album we find the angry "Escape From Reality" and the rough "Sons of Thunder" (I love the chorus). while the closing "Giants In The Sky", is dedicated to the legends who are not with us anymore. "You won't ever die", Rob sings, with a great and peculiar acoustic section in the middle of the song.

Of course, we can expect nothing new from a band with 50 years of career but "Invincible Shield" is another little gem in their discography, a quality album from every point of view: production, performance, attitude and songwriting. This is the best album of 2024, so far, for me. No doubt about it.

Rating 78/100
Top track: Panic Attack, Trial By Fire, As God Is My Witness.

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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