Cover albums can be pretty boring. I mean it could be to close to the original versions or it could be something completely different from the original song. Thobbe Englund used to play guitar in Sabaton and now he’s got his own band. When I was writing for Rocknytt I reviewed the albums “Sold My Soul” and “The Draining Of Vergelmer”. The first one was good and the second was not good at all, which made me wonder how this cover album would turn out. The answer is that it turned out just fine. This is 55 minutes of love to the band that many people around the world adore.
When Sabaton released “The Last Stand” back in 2016 “All Gunz Blazing” was a bonus track with Thobbe on vocals. This pearl from Judas Priests album “Painkiller” was so close to the original that many people thought that Rob Halford in person was singing on the song. Thobbe did a great job sounding like Rob Halford and fortunately this time he doesn’t. He truly make his own versions and in my opinion he is doing a great job. Of course he sounds like Rob Halford in a few songs, “Reckless” and “Blood Red Skies” for example, but he is putting his own touch on most of the songs.
Another thing that’s great is the fact that the most famous Priest songs isn’t there. There is no “Freewheel Burning”, no “Painkiller”, no “Breakin The Law”, no “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'”, no “Living After Midnight and so on. Instead we get the brutal classic “The Sentinel”, the epic song “Blood Red Skies”, the ballad “Before The Dawn” and two songs, “Immortal Sin” and “Into The Pit”, from Fights album “”War Of Words”. The biggest surprise though is that the band has been digging up “Burn In Hell” from “Jugulator” which was released 1997 with Tim “Ripper” Owens behind the microphone. I have loved that riff from day one.
Finally there is a cover album worth the name and if I know Thobbe he will be back with more Judas Priest songs. This is good, really good and we can call it third time lucky when it comes to my reviews.
Artist: Thobbe Englund
Title: Hail To The Priest
Date of release: 2/8-19
Label: Metalville Records
Stand out track: Blood Red Skies