Courtesy: Epic Records
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary a battle cry is a word, phrase, or sound that is shouted by soldiers in a battle. It is also called a phrase or saying that is used to make people support an idea, a cause, etc. Keeping this in mind it makes sense that Judas Priest would call its new live recording Battle Cry. That is because this new recording–due out this Friday, March 25th on CD, DVD, and Blu-ray–will have home viewers chanting the band’s name as if it was a battle cry just as much as audiences that were in attendance at the taping of the concert featured in the new recording. There is a lot to say to the positive about this new recording, especially on DVD and Blu-ray beginning with the show’s set list. The main concert’s set list runs seventeen songs deep and roughly ninety minutes in time. There are also three bonus songs included in the recording bringing the set list to a total of twenty songs and the feature’s total run time (trt in TV terms) to nearly two hours. It is just one part of what makes this recording a success. The band’s stage presence is another part of the experience that makes it so memorable. In comparison to the band’s previous live recording Epitaph (2013) the band’s stage presence in this recording is noticeably more lively to say the very least. It is a welcome change of pace. Last but hardly least of note in this recording is its production values. Between the sound, the camera work and the final product produced in post, the concert proves to be an experience that translates quite well on screen in those aspects. Each element is important in its own way to the whole of the recording. Collectively, they make this latest live recording from Judas Priest one of 2016’s top new live recordings.
Judas Priest’s new live recording Battle Cry is one of 2016’s top new live recordings. That is because the band’s roughly ninety-minute performance will leave audiences chanting the band’s name like warriors chanting a battle cry. One reason that it will impress audiences so much is its set list. The set list runs seventeen songs deep and roughly an hour and a half. It pulls songs from the band’s nearly five-decades-long career. It includes the likes of ‘Breaking The Law,’ ‘Hell Bent For Leather,’ ‘Painkiller,’ ‘Redeemer of Souls,’ and a number of others from across the band’s expansive catalogue. The concert’s DVD and Blu-ray platform features three extra performances as bonus features in the form of ‘Screaming For Vengeance,’ ‘The Rage,’ and ‘Desert Plains,’ That brings the set list to a total of twenty songs and the recording’s total run time to nearly two hours. To be more exact, it comes to a total of roughly an hour and forty minutes. In other words, audiences get a complete concert in this recording’s set list. They get that concert without having to leave the comfort of their homes and without having to spend the exorbitant prices of admission, gas, concessions, and any other costs that go into attending a live show in person. To that extent, the concert’s expansive set list is plenty of reason in itself for audiences and fans alike to add Battle Cry to their home music collections and DVD/BD libraries. OF course it is hardly the recording’s only positive. There is also the matter of the band’s stage presence here.
The set list that is featured in Judas Priest’s new live recording is in itself an important part of the recording’s whole. That is because it doesn’t just focus on the band’s most recent album Redeemer of Souls. Instead the band attempts to cover as much of its expansive body of work as possible over the course of its ninety minute run time. The set list is just one important part of the recording that should be noted. The band’s stage presence throughout this recording is just as important to note as the concert’s set list. The band’s stage presence throughout this concert, originally recorded August 1st, 2015 at the annual Wacken Open Air Festival, translates quite well to home viewers. Compared to the band’s stage presence in its last live recording, 2013’s Epitaph it is far more energetic here. This applies not just to front man Rob Halford but to his band mates, too. For those that have not yet seen Epitaph, the set list in that recording was impressive. But the band’s stage presence just didn’t seem entirely there in that performance. Halford and company didn’t really move around the stage much or even interact with the audience that much. That left the band’s performance of its set list to shoulder the load so to speak. The energy was there in the songs. It just wasn’t entirely there in terms of the band members’ overall performance. Flash forward to the 2015 Wacken Open Air Festival and audiences see a completely different band. Halford and company come across as being rejuvenated here. Halford at one point even pulls a Freddie Mercury impersonation of sorts as he gets the audiences of thousands to respond to his call as part of the setup to one of the show’s songs. The way that he strutted across the stage and got the audience to respond conjures those thoughts. Whether or not Halford was in fact trying to emulate the late great front man is anyone’s guess. Regardless, that interaction between Halford and the audience is a nice touch to the show in its simplicity. Ian Hill, Richie Faulkner, and Glenn Tipton all do their own part to add to the band’s stage presence as does drummer Scott Travis. All four men exhibit their own energy in their performances throughout the concert. Again by comparison the difference is clearly visible. And together with Halford’s energy, the band members’ collective power throughout the show makes the concert that much more enjoyable for audiences and fans alike. Of course one cannot deny the role that the work of those in the show’s production crew and those involved in the concert’s post production played in the translation of that stage presence to home viewers. Their collective work rounds out the recording’s most important elements.
The set list featured in Judas Priest’s new live recording and the band’s performance of said set list both play their own important part in the recording’s presentation. Collectively, they make the recording a joy for audiences and fans alike. The songs cover a respectable swath of the band’s extensive catalogue. The band’s performance of that set list obviously captured audiences in attendance at the concert’s taping and kept them completely engaged from start to finish. It will have the same impact on home viewers, too. Speaking of those home viewers, a big reason that the concert in whole will keep home viewers just as engaged is the work of those that captured the concert and those that handled it in post-production. The camera crew and those behind the boards did an exceptional job of capturing the band’s energy as it worked its way through its set. The camera crew captured the whole thing from quite a few angles to say the very least. There are various shots throughout the show from the vantage point of the audience. There are just as many shots from the stage, too. Audiences get to get up close and personal so to speak with Scott Travis more than once. And needless to say the effect of those shots is in itself powerful as he drives the band through each song. Audiences also get plenty of different angles of Halford and company as well as shots of the immense crowd in attendance. The whole of the footage results in an experience that will keep home viewers completely engaged in the show from beginning to end. Those behind the concert’s audio mix are to be commended just as much as those behind the cameras. That is because just as indoor concerts pose their own challenges, so do outdoor shows. And being that this festival is as massive as it is, the challenges had to have been great to say the very least. Sound has the capability to spread out in all directions both from the stage and from the audience. Luckily, those behind the boards balanced everything with the utmost expertise throughout the show thus making the experience all the more enjoyable. The end result of the production crew’s work in whole is a concert experience that audiences and fans alike will want to take in time and again. For all of their efforts, those that handled the concert’s post-production are to be commended in their own right, too. That is because their efforts paid off just as much as those of the crew that captured the concert in its original taping. Those that edited the original concert in preparation for its release assembled the original footage in a way that assured a solid translation from live to screen. They also balanced the concert’s audio levels with the same expertise, giving the concert a sound that demands it be heard on a surround sound home theater system. That is not to say that it can’t be enjoyed on a TV by itself. But it can be said that a home theater system offers the best experience in terms of the concert’s sound. Again that is thanks to the work of those the handled the concert’s post-production. Their efforts and those of the concert’s original production crew come together in the end to make the overall experience one that is just as good as being there in person if not better since it’s in the comfort of audiences’ own homes. And together with the show’s set list and the band’s performance of said set list, the recording in whole proves to be an easy, early candidate for any critic’s list of 2016’s top new live recordings.
Judas Priest’s new live recording Battle Cry is undeniably one of this year’s early picks for the year’s best new live recordings list. The reasons for this are plenty, too. The roughly ninety-minute set list features a number of the band’s biggest hits from its nearly five decades-long career. The band’s stage presence throughout that time is just as important as it shows a band that still has plenty left in its collective, proverbial tank. That is clear in the band’s performance of each song. The concert’s production values both in regards to the original taping and the concert’s post-production are just as much to applaud as the band’s stage presence and the show’s set list. The concert’s production values round out its most important elements. That is because without the expert work put into bringing the concert home the concert wouldn’t even be worth watching. Thankfully though, that isn’t the case. Thanks to its top notch production values, the band’s performance and its set list make this recording a concert that audiences and fans alike will want to experience and should experience. All things considered, Battle Cry is a recording that will leave audiences and fans alike proudly chanting the band’s name along with those that were in attendance at the show’s original recording. They will agree as they chant the Judas Priest battle cry that this recording is one of 2016’s best live recordings. It will be available in stores and online this Friday, March 25th via Epic Records. More information on Battle Cry is available online now along with all of Judas Priest’s latest news at:
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