01. Dawn of Creation
02. Prophecy
03. Awakening
04. Revelations
05. The Four Horsemen
06. War
07. Sands of Time
08. Pestilence and Plague
09. Death
10. Peace
11. Conquest
12. Lost Love
13. Persecution
14. Solitude
15. Exiled
16. Alone
17. Shadows In the Flame
18. Visions
19. Hope
20. New Beginnings
21. Calm Before the Storm
22. Nostradamus
23. Future of Mankind

After the mostly well-received "Angel of Retribution" proved that JUDAS PRIEST could mine their own past for amiable, if hardly classic, for-the-fans renditions of their former glories, the future was both wide open and closing in on the veteran British metal band. They seemed to finally be at home in their leathers, less likely to chase after a misguided notion of what the metal world was doing in an effort to seem current. All the same, though, this batch of reunited friends is mostly pushing the 60-year-old mark, which adds a sense of urgency to any projects on the back burner of what is still a formidably loud heavy metal act.

Enter PRIEST's first concept album, and a trip into a realm they seem to be visiting for purely artistic (or perhaps legacy) reasons. It's not like these big metal operas are new to the underground (in fact, no one seems to want to tell Rob, Glenn, K.K., Scott or Ian that the band AVANTASIA did this exact same concept album a few years back). Obviously, though, there are hundreds of thousands of fans out there to whom this'll be a new thing, and PRIEST deserve credit for trying something they've never done before this far into their storied career. This is a huge departure, one only hinted at on previous songs like "Loch Ness" and "Cathedral Spires" — slower, more stately, with lots of acoustics and very little denim-and-leather sparks a-flyin'. It's a more, dare I say, dignified PRIEST — one concerned with weighty and mystical concepts and theatrical pacing, rather than three-minute pop song flair.

But is that a good thing? There are definitely stirring moments, like the swelling crescendo of the seven-minute "Revelations", but let's be honest here. We don't look to JUDAS PRIEST for martial tempos and string-laden bombastic heroics. The band's stock in trade has always been energy, from the taut tension of songs like "The Ripper" and "Sinner" to the inexorable assault of "Painkiller". Even their poppier songs, the "Breaking the Law" and "Headin' Out to the Highway" moments, are infused with a forward motion that makes them radio classics to this day. It's hard to swallow PRIEST trading all that in, at this point in the game, for so much ponderous majesty and plodding Andrew Lloyd Webber malarkey.