JUDAS PRIEST – A Touch of Evil: Live

JUDAS PRIEST - A Touch of Evil: Live
  • 5.5/10
    JUDAS PRIEST - A Touch of Evil: Live - 5.5/10


Release date: July 14, 2009

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The Metal Gods return in 2009 with the release of a single-disc live album entitled A Touch of Evil: Live, which is a collage of live rendition songs from the predominantly less-than-mainstream Judas Priest (JP) archives. All songs were recorded at one point or another during JP’s tours in 2005 and 2008, and represent tracks never released before via a live compilation (with Rob Halford at the mic, that is).

JP has always been a “live” band. They’ve put together some incredible studio releases, and certain uses of Halford’s voice (including multi-layered vocal tracks and multiple simultaneous octave presentation) can’t be replicated live. On the other hand, until you’ve felt your blood pressure instantaneously escalate into the danger zone, causing your brain to rapidly swell to near explosion levels as a result of one of Halford’s never-to-be-replicated, eardrum-piercing screams – amplified by certainly no less than 1.21 gigawatts in live settings — you really haven’t experienced JP’s true capabilities, nor fully grasped what Halford is able to produce vocally. So, trying to capture some of that live “magic” on a CD (or DVD) sounds like a good idea on the surface, and the apparent goal this time around was to not simply produce “another” live album, but one that offered something a bit different, if not memorable.

Well, the band succeeded in delivering something a bit “different” with A Touch of Evil: Live via the songs chosen. There are no JP “staples” on this release… no “Breaking The Law,” no “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” no “Victim Of Changes”… you get the idea. Instead, what is mainly offered up are the songs that come/came more as “surprise” inclusions during their 2005 and 2008 tours… those gems that the band decided to take down from the shelf and dust off for the diehard fans who have the lyrics to the entire JP catalog committed to memory… along with live versions of 2 songs off of the Nostradamus release from 2008 (“Death” and “Prophecy”).

However, A Touch of Evil: Live is a “live” album only in the sense that the tracks were recorded while the band was on stage together. There is no continuity (or flow) between tracks typically found (if not essential) in live albums — especially in those albums that attempt to capture the full essence of a single tour (e.g., Priest… Live!). That single “weakness” in this release becomes a bit annoying after a few listens, because the true “live” feel of the full concert experience is missing. Furthermore, out of the 11 tracks on this compilation, only a small handful truly contain something “special” performance-wise via these live renditions that would cause you to want to revisit this album over and over again. Halford’s voice isn’t presented in top form throughout virtually all of these recordings, and musically, there’s minimal “new life” garnered to most as well. Of course too, as mentioned most of the songs on A Touch of Evil: Live aren’t “A-List” material … other than “Beyond The Realms Of Death,” “A Touch Of Evil,” “Painkiller,” and maybe “Hellrider,” all of the other included songs are indeed welcomed “curve balls” to change pace when taking in a live JP show, but when compiled in hodge-podge fashion on a full release, you may find the novelty of numerous “B-List” tracks wears thin fairly quickly.

All is not lost, with this release, however, because it is “good” to hear and have a live recording of the pair of Nostradamus tracks included, and the version of “Eat Me Alive” from Defenders Of The Faith is indeed one of those “special” presentations that gives “new life” to a shelved song of old. A Touch of Evil: Live is a release that should be owned by diehard fans of JP … so if the term “diehard” describes you, don’t hesitate to pick up a copy, but don’t expect to have your socks blown off. Up and coming fans of JP and less-than-diehard fans of the band, and/or persons just getting into Metal, would be much better served to instead focus on acquainting themselves with Unleashed In The East (1979), Priest…Live! (1987), or better yet, the Rising In The East DVD from 2005.


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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