Picks and Pans Review: Freewheel Burning
updated 05/07/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 05/07/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Judas Priest is a band that knows its audience, and this video shows it. The thematic thrust suggests parallels between listening to heavy metal music and playing video games: Both activities exploit electronics to induce a near comatose state in the indulger. There are homoerotic subthemes too. As leathered and studded lead singer Rob Halford screams lyrics celebrating high-octane abandon, backed by guitars roaring like formula racing cars, a hapless pubescent lad battles the band through the screen of his video-game console. Guess who wins? Overwhelmed by batteries of laser-gun lead guitars, the kid slowly collapses in his seat, while the Mephistophelian Halford drives home the fatal blow with microphone and spiked fist. It's hard to believe that boys between the ages of 12 and 15 would really enjoy being beaten senseless by their musical idols, though fans of Judas Priest might enjoy pounding someone else. Violence and tasteless sexual allusions aside, the band does seem to have some wry perspective on its preaching. A closing message reads, "Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that Heavy Metal is dangerous to your health." That should sell some records.