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Music Review: Judas Priest shows you don't have to be young to be fast with 'Invincible Shield'

This image released by Epic Records shows "Invincible Shield" by Judas Priest. (Epic via AP)

If you think Judas Priest is a bunch of past-their-prime old geezers, you've got another thing coming.

The heavy metal quintet that formed in 1969 and released its first album in 1974 may be a bit long in the tooth, but their latest album “Invincible Shield” shows them rocking faster and harder than ever before, which is saying quite a bit.

Judas Priest has helped define the sound and look of heavy metal, particularly with a string of hits in the 1980s like “Living After Midnight,” “Electric Eye” and “Breaking The Law.”

Most of the band members are well into their 70s, yet they play fast and hard enough to put 20-something rivals to shame.

The disc kicks off with “Panic Attack,” which lifts the foundational riff of Rush's “Tom Sawyer” and grafts it onto what sounds very much like Priest's own “Painkiller” in a case of theft so brazen that they should send three-quarters of what they earn on this song to Geddy Lee. But the track is blazingly fast, as are the two that follow: “The Serpent and the King” and the title track.

“As God Is My Witness” is even faster, if that's possible, and no proper heavy metal album would be complete without a biker anthem; “Sons of Thunder” fits the bill nicely.

The guitar duo of Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton, who is still able to play in the studio despite Parkinson's disease, make increasing use of twin harmonic solos on several tracks. Faulkner, in particular, brings it with passion and fire on this album, incorporating elements of some of the greatest guitar legends including Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen and Randy Rhoads.

And at age 72, after more than 50 years of torturing his vocal cords, singer Rob “The Metal God” Halford is still delivering the goods.

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AP music reviews: https://apnews.com/hub/music-reviews