Since 1974, Judas Priest has established themselves as one of the go-to bands in the history of heavy metal. They have played to millions of fans, have sold 50 million albums over their career - a testament to their ability to stand the test of time and continually create music that wowed their fans time in and time out. There was one major exception though.
In 1986, when the entire hard rock and heavy metal world was embracing “hair metal”, Judas Priest embraced the trend as well. Very much like fellow heavy metal artist Ozzy Osbourne did with his The Ultimate Sin release, Judas Priest adapted their look and their sound to meet the times. “The 80s was a magical decade”, remembers Turbo guitarist KK Downing. "When we started writing in the middle of the 80s, there’s such a 'good feel' factor with everything, particularly in music. It seemed like all of us bands of rock and metal who struggled to make ourselves known and make ourselves accepted as a seriously great genre of music...I think in the mid-80s we were there. We were kind of celebrating. It’s a celebration."
With the release of Turbo in 1966, Judas Priest fully engulfed themselves into the world of heavy metal that was being popularized more by MTV than by their hardcore music fans. The album immediately took backlash from their fans. It was not well received by hardcore fans that had flocked to the band on their previous two bestselling albums, Screaming for Vengeance and Defenders of the Faith. Instead, it was shunned by most for its commercialized sound and relationship-based lyrics.
For a teenage Chris Akin though, the album fit in perfectly with where he was at as a person. “I was a 17 year old kid when Turbo came out”, the author remembers. “I was a big fan of hair metal anyway, so having a favorite like Judas Priest come along with an album that fit so perfectly next to Van Halen’s 5150 or Ozzy’s The Ultimate Sin just rocked for me.” Reflecting on that time and remembering how the album caused (and still causes) a rift in their fan base, Akin decided it was time to analyze the album for the third installment of his Cause & Effect series.
The new book, entitled Cause & Effect: Turbo, highlights many of the events that were going on within Judas Priest at the time, as well as many of Akin’s own personal recollections from that period in his life in 1986. In the end, Turbo is an album that has never changed the minds of hardcore fans, but brought in a new group of fans that stayed with them through their most recent works today. When trying to define the album and where it fits in Judas Priest’s history, KK Downing simplifies just where it sits.