The vibrato bar ramp-up of full-on danger (and what might just be one of Rob Halford’s best vocals) of “Turbo Lover” begins Turbo 30, the remastered 30th Anniversary Edition of 1986’s Turbo, Judas Priest’s 10th studio album. This nine-song heavy metal classic enjoys the full bloom of upgraded sound quality in a new package that includes two additional CDs filled with live performances from the band’s 1986 “Fuel For Life” tour.
While the double-guitar fury of chunky shouters like “Parental Guidance” sound especially sparkly on the high end here, and tunes “Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days” with its plinking keys background and drive show off Priest in the full flush of metal-done-for-the-masses, it’s the live material recorded at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City that really make this collection a must-have.
There are 20 live tracks comprising a good portion of the Priest oeuvre at that time. Songs like “Metal Gods” plod hard across the stage as the band boils up a heavy brew across the spectrum. It’s easy to lose sight of Ian Hill’s in-the-pocket, simple yet so effective bass playing under Halford’s wailing and the dual guitar assault of K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton. Hearing the band live makes you realize what a masterful wall of heaviness they presented.
“Love Bites,” along with live staples like “Heading Out To The Highway,” “Living After Midnight,” “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” and “Hell Bent For Leather” gainfully fill out the set. “The Hellion” is deep down dangerous and mean, while the double-guitar opening of “Victim Of Changes” lays us into even heavier territory with some wild vocal gymnastics from Halford. The cover of Peter Green’s “The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)” is something wholly aside from the original.
When it was released, the Turbo album was viewed as a departure from the norm, something that mystified many of the band’s loyal fans. Synths and lighter themes had many wondering where Judas Priest was headed. Clearly, the live CDs bundled with Turbo 30 reveal the band’s ever-present hard edge never fails to show its teeth on stage, in front of a fist-pumping crowd of headbangers.~ Ralph Greco, Jr.