Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Judas Priest’s 10th studio album – Turbo 30 gets the three-disc treatment from Sony / Legacy on February 3rd, 2017. Polishing up and re-releasing the album that was my jumping off point for Judas Priest so many years ago has been something I’ve been quietly dreading. But, given the excellent work done on the Screaming for Vengeance (1982) and Defenders of the Faith (1984) anniversary editions, there was a ray of hope that the band/label might make Turbo 30 something monumental.
30 years ago, Turbo was the album that managed to polarize a good portion of Judas Priest fans. It was released during the heyday of the music-as-commodity-1980s when labels were pushing bands to create more anthemic material with a focus on synthesizers and musical simplicity. Given how anthemic British Steel, Point of Entry, Screaming for Vengeance and Defenders of the Faith are in the pantheon of Judas Priest’s history – this is utterly ironic. Over 50% of Turbo still sounds like it’s misplaced – a band trying to make music that they should never have, but the album did manage to boost the awareness and popularity of Priest – arguably allowing for a more grandiose tour and better exposure for the band.
“Turbo Lover” and “Locked In” stand the test of time. If anything, they resonate more now as they have become classic Priest songs, inclusion in Priest touring live sets to this very day. The seven other songs that comprise the rest of the album all seem to follow the songcraft formula of bands like Cinderella and Poison. Even the addition of Jeff Martin (Racer X) on the backing vocals for “Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days” couldn’t save that track.
It’s unfair to throw Priest under the bus for Turbo – almost every metal album that saw release in 1987 to 1990 from veteran metal acts seemed to deviate from the root sounds of the bands creating them. It was a strange time for the NWOBHM sound. The Cinderellas and Poisons of the world were stealing audiences from the classic metal bands during this era, and they were all trying in some way, shape or form to diversify and be relevant. Metal, a typically subverted genre of music, was getting popular thanks to the advent of MTV, Much Music and hair metal music videos. These were the years that forged the future for bands like Faith No More, Soundgarden, Ministry, Janes Addiction and Pantera – bands all disenfranchised with what they saw within the music industry at the time.
Oddly, “All Fired Up,” a song that saw inclusion on the 2001 re-release of Turbo (a track recorded during the 1985 Turbo sessions), is absent on this release.
The addition of a full concert recorded during the “Fuel For Life” 1986 tour in Kansas City fills out disc 2 and 3 of this Turbo 30 anniversary edition. Priest has always been a bravura live band, and this 20 song live performance easily justifies the purchase of this set. Sure it’s got the requisite five songs from Turbo included within the performance – but that’s typical of a new album touring cycle. The 15 classic Priest songs included on this live set all kick ass. Factoring in that “Locked In” and “Turbo Lover” both sound great, there are three songs on the live set of twenty that I could live without – a ratio better than most live shows from any band past and present.
Turbo 30: Remastered 30th Anniversary Edition Track Listing:
Turbo Track Listing:
01. Turbo Lover
02. Locked In
03. Private Property
04. Parental Guidance
05. Rock You All Around The World
06. Out In The Cold
07. Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days
08. Hot For Love
Disc 2 Live at The Kemper Arena in Kansas City:
01. Out In the Cold
02. Locked In
03. Heading Out To The Highway
04. Metal Gods
05. Breaking The Law
06. Love Bites
07. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
08. The Sentinel
09. Private Property
10. Desert Plains
11. Rock You All Around The World
Disc 3 Live at The Kemper Arena in Kansas City:
01. The Hellion
02. Electric Eye
03. Turbo Lover
04. Freewheel Burning
05. Victim Of Changes
06. The Green Manalishi (With The Two -Pronged Crown)
07. Living After Midnight
08. You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
09. Hell Bent For Leather
Run Time: 143 minutes
Release Date: February 3, 2017
Check out the Turbo 30th Anniversary trailer