Painkiller is the 12th studio album by British heavy metal band Judas Priest, released in September 1990. It is the last Judas Priest album to feature lead singer Rob Halford until his return for the 2005 album Angel of Retribution and the first to feature drummer Scott Travis.
|Studio album by Judas Priest|
|Released||3 September 1990|
|Studio||Miraval Studios, Correns, France and Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum, Netherlands|
|Genre||Heavy metal, speed metal|
|Producer||Judas Priest and Chris Tsangarides|
|Judas Priest chronology|
|Singles from Painkiller|
Painkiller is the first Judas Priest album to feature drummer Scott Travis, who replaced long-time drummer Dave Holland in 1989. Travis was previously a member of Los Angeles band Racer X. The album was recorded at Miraval Studios, Brignoles, France in early 1990 and mixed at Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum, the Netherlands later that year. It was produced by the band and Chris Tsangarides, marking the first time since 1978's Killing Machine that Judas Priest had not worked with Tom Allom and the first time since 1976's Sad Wings of Destiny that Judas Priest and Tsangarides worked together.
Despite the album being finished in March 1990, the album's release was delayed due to the pending, much-publicized subliminal message trial that began on 16 July 1990. The band was the subject of a civil lawsuit alleging their recording was responsible for the suicide attempts of two young men in Reno, Nevada on 23 December 1985. The case was eventually dismissed on 24 August 1990. With the trial behind them, the band finally released the album on 3 September 1990 on LP, cassette and CD.
The album was certified Gold by RIAA in January 1991. A remastered CD was released in May 2001, including a live recording of "Leather Rebel" and a previously unreleased song, "Living Bad Dreams". The album received a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance at the 33rd Annual Grammy Awards, losing to Metallica's cover of the Queen song "Stone Cold Crazy".
Critical reaction to Painkiller has been overwhelmingly positive, especially from the metal community. On metal-archives.com, the album holds an average score of 93% based on 23 reviews.
Painkiller frequently places on lists of the greatest metal albums. For example, it is ranked sixth in Metal Storm's list of the top 200 albums.
Following the tour for this album, singer Rob Halford left the band in May 1992 and maintained little contact with his former bandmates throughout the 1990s. The reason for this was growing tensions within the band, along with Halford's desire to explore new musical territory by creating a new band of his own, Fight, which forced him to legally leave Judas Priest to allow this creation to be sold. Judas Priest remained inactive for several years after Halford had gone; however, the band would eventually re-vamp, record, and tour, recruiting new singer Tim "Ripper" Owens in 1996, who would perform on the studio albums Jugulator and Demolition.
|3.||"All Guns Blazing"||3:56|
|7.||"Between the Hammer & the Anvil"||4:47|
|8.||"A Touch of Evil" (Tipton, Halford, Downing, Chris Tsangarides)||5:42|
|9.||"Battle Hymn" (Instrumental)||0:56|
|10.||"One Shot at Glory"||6:46|
|2001 bonus tracks|
|11.||"Living Bad Dreams" (Recorded during the 1990 Painkiller sessions)||5:20|
|12.||"Leather Rebel" (Live at Foundation's Forum, Los Angeles, California, 13 September 1990)||3:38|
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||60|
|Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)||22|
|German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)||7|
|New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)||27|
|Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)||19|
|Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)||19|
|Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)||14|
|UK Albums (OCC)||26|
|US Billboard 200||26|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||50,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
All in all, Painkiller put Judas Priest back at the top of the heavy metal pile.