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Review of the Album "Turbo" by British Heavy Metal Band Judas Priest

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


Musical Style and Lyrical Themes of the Album Turbo

Of all the studio albums released by the band Judas Priest during the decade of the 1980s, Turbo may be the one that could be forgotten by some fans and this is one of those albums that I’ve always known about but have never really wanted to listen to until now, late in the year 2020. In spite of the album’s title, the songs are not a million miles an hour fast like a turbo race car. Stylistically, Turbo is similar to other Judas Priest albums of that decade such as Point of Entry or Screaming for Vengeance. Turbo is also one of those albums that has this definite glam rock feel to it even if the style is considered to be standard heavy metal. Turbo is said to be an album that lyrically focuses on love and romance instead of the science fiction lyrical themes that we heard on their earlier albums. Turbo is the first album that sees Judas Priest use guitar synthesizers.

How the Album Turbo Came About To Be

Initially Judas Priest recorded what was supposed to be a double album called Twin Turbos. However, that idea was eventually scrapped and the songs were split up with the more commercial songs appearing on what was eventually the album Turbo. You can even tell when you listen to the material on Turbo that the sound is definitely more commercialized and the 1980s feel on the album is evident.

"Locked In"

Why Judas Priest Should Have Stuck to the Musical Style Found On Turbo

Sometimes I still feel that this is the style that Judas Priest should have stuck to because this is the style that they are best known for. However, as we all know, they would dramatically change their approach and style in the 1990s quite possibly as a response to how so many bands were changing their style. The musical approach was changing and Judas Priest changed as well.

"Hot for Love"

Rob Halford Talks About the Album Turbo

Nonetheless, Turbo is an album that people will either love or hate depending upon their tastes. Even Rob Halford during an interview with the British metal magazine Kerrang! in 2008 said that Turbo is Judas Priest’s love/hate album. He said that if there ever was a time where fans would have thought of the band’s releases as controversial, Turbo was that moment. He said that the band was in a different atmosphere but that’s where they were at the time. Rob also mentioned that there are great tracks on Turbo but it is the album that leaves fans divided.

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"Turbo Lover"

Final Thoughts About the Album Turbo

Turbo is a glam metal 1980s album that shows that Judas Priest had this no nonsense kind of approach and they were a group of guys that were more than willing to live life their way and just rock to the music. If you want to hear a heavy metal album that is full of high energy glam metal and rock, then Turbo is a good choice. However, there is a good chance that if you are just getting into the music of Judas Priest that Turbo is one of those albums that could have you kind of shaking your head in bewilderment. The strongest tracks in Turbo as of this early analysis are “Turbo Lover,” “Locked In,” and “Hot for Love.” Particularly the song "Hot for Love" with its rocky kind of feel also sounds like something that hard rocker Billy Idol would have done back in that time period as well. The song focuses on having good old fashioned romance and love. For what it is worth, Turbo is a good hard rock kind of album that fans of this genre should be able to like if they give it a chance. “Turbo Lover” is the best song on Turbo as it has that glam rock feel with the synth kind of sound that defined the decade of the 1980s. The chorus of that song "Turbo Lover" is also the most memorable part of the song. Listening to this album in December 2021, I get the sense that Turbo is actually a better album than it should be given credit for. Then, some of us may wonder what the weakest studio album by Judas Priest is. If it is not Turbo, then it would have to be one of their other albums. As someone that was growing up back then and a fan of much of the metal in the 1980s, I will be biased to say that Turbo is another underrated release by Judas Priest.

Rate the Album Turbo by Judas Priest

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Ara Vahanian

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