Judas Priest ‘Epitaph’ review and Q&A with Rob Halford

By on 3 June 2013

Judas Priest - Epitaph

Faye Coulman reviews Judas Priest‘s new live DVD ‘Epitaph’ and we speak to the metal god himself, Rob Halford, about picking the ‘Epitaph’ setlist and marking the end of a chapter.

JUDAS PRIEST
‘Epitaph’
LEGACY RECORDINGS

Reliving the electrifying thrills and spills of a historic rock show in an air-conditioned cinema aisle may be considered second-rate entertainment to the mind of any right-thinking metal maniac. But as a band whose every blistering riff and leather-clad swagger looms large with the otherworldly essence of heavy metal, the theatrical vision with which Judas Priest’s closing ‘Epitaph’ date is captured only heightens their already towering stage presence.

In a sustained, 142-minute assault on the senses that sees these genre-forging Brits revisit their immense 14-album discography, this rare performance is rendered with all the explosive audio and acrobatic camera angles you’d expect of such an outing. But with every era of Judas Priest’s 40-year career being recreated in the iconic visuals that define each influential album, it’s clear that ‘Epitaph’ is no simple retrospective and, as such demands ample cinematic imagination. With its lingering close-ups and whirling overhead shots being ignited in a white-hot haze of light, ‘Starbreaker’ is particularly abuzz with fan euphoria, with Rob Halford’s operatic pipes ricocheting off expansive surround sound audio.

Judas Priest’s legendary musicianship is always a supreme spectacle to behold in any medium, but never before has the passion and pageantry of their sound been so vividly brought to life until now.

[4/5] Faye Coulman

Because ‘Epitaph’ is such a monumental milestone for Judas Priest, marking their 40th anniversary as recording artists, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to talk to the metal god himself, Rob Halford, about ‘Epitaph’.

Rob Halford - Judas Priest

The ‘Epitaph’ set covers every era of Priest, what went into picking the setlist?
“I hadn’t really listened to Priest’s [back catalogue] completely  for the longest time so I literally played everything, absolutely every track and [laughs] you surprise yourself, ‘oh that was a good one, i’d forgot about that’,  ‘cos it was buried on side two of ‘Point Of Entry’ or whatever. And then, of course, you’ve got to have a track from ‘Painkiller’ which you can play live, every track off ‘British Steel’ which you could play live, ‘Screaming For Vengeance’ and on and on and on.”

Is it fair to say that the ‘Epitaph’ tour, and this DVD, marks the end of a chapter for Priest?
“Just in one small respect, it’s not the end of Judas Priest by any stretch of the imagination; we’re in the studio now as we speak tracking all of the new material; we’re just cutting back a little bit so we can still get out there and do the great shows that we want to do. As a 52-year-old metal head [laughs], going out doing what I need to do as a singer and as a performer, I can still do it and I love to do it. I just want to be able to go out there and not look sad and punch drunk and I think that you’ve just kind of look at what you need to do to make sure that when people see you, they go ‘yeah, they’re as good as they’ve ever been’.”

You can read more of our chat with Rob Halford here.

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