When Judas Priest decided to record the follow-up to their reunion album, Angel of Retribution, they chose to record a type of album that was altogether a new thing for them-a concept album. The subject of this album: the life of the great seer, Nostradamus. Following many of the controversial moments of his life, and interpreting many of his prophecies, the Nostradamus album spans 2 CDs, and provides about 140 minutes of metal music to become immersed in. One really must immerse themselves in this album too; there's so much to take in that a single listen doesn't do the album, or its namesake inspiration, any justice.
The seemingly intimidating amount of music there is on this album is probably its only down-side. I have listened to it all the way through several times now, and I find it continues to grow on me. There is a strong presence of synthesized guitars on this album, more so than on any previous Judas Priest album, but they are present to bring the concept into an appropriate musical and emotional context. Fans of previous Judas Priest music will find that Downing & Tipton's dueling guitar solos & riffs retain enough of the classic Priest sound that the album will not disappoint. The killer guitar solos on "Revelations" are a prime example.
As a point of stylistic reference, I might say the Nostradamus album follows in the wake of songs like "Angel", "Eulogy" & "Lochness" from their previous Angel of Retribution album. Although the 1st single from Nostradamus is the heavy, thrashing title-track, I caution you not to expect too many songs like it on the rest of the album. Though there are many heavy passages, only "Persecution" matches the tempo of "Nostradamus". This is somewhat the opposite reaction I had when Angel of Retribution was first released; the 1st single from that album, "Revolution", was a low-key, moderate tempo anthem, while much of the rest of the album approached Painkiller-esque speed and intensity.
Overall, I find Nostradamus satisfies the long-time Priest fan in me, and if you've been a fan of them yourself, then you should enjoy this album as well. Just be sure to give it a chance to grab you. You may find your favorite songs on your first journey through the life of Nostradamus are replaced by others when you hear them a second time. My current recommended songs:
-Dawn of Creation
-Future of Mankind