WHO IS HE? Finnish guitar hero Thorbjörn (Thobbe) Englund, perhaps best known among metalheads as a member of Swedish power metal veterans Sabaton a few years back.
WHAT IS THIS? A tribute album to the leather-clad metal gods of the immortal Judas Priest — with a couple of nods to lead shrieker Rob Halford’s extracurricular outfit Fight.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? A devoted fan’s labour of love. Englund all but ignores Priest’s crowdpleasing singles to devote his attention to deeper cuts and album tracks like Reckless, Blood Red Skies, Before the Dawn and Desert Plains. You can quibble with the set list — and maybe even with his robust but slightly underwhelming vocals (as if anybody could go scream-for-scream and sneer-for-sneer with the force of nature that is Halford) — but you can’t fault his solidly heavy recreations and blazing guitar work.
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Victim of Changes or Another Thing Comin’.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On 8-track on your car stereo, while pre-gaming in a heavy metal parking lot with some longhair who knows all these songs as well as you do.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Faithful, sincere, celebratory, detailed, grand, aggressive, anthemic, intriguing, personal, gritty.
WHAT ARE THE WORST SONGS? It’s hard not to gravitate to more familiar fare like The Ripper, Hellbent for Leather and The Sentinel, though his takes on Painkiller’s Between the Hammer and the Anvil and Fight’s Into the Pit unquestionably deliver the goods.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘Wouldn’t it be better just to listen to Judas Priest?’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? Not enough to make it worthwhile.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE PANTS, WHAT KIND OF PANTS WOULD THEY BE? Faux leather with plastic studs.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Hail to the stream.