Painkiller

Album: Painkiller (1990)
Charted: 74

Songfacts®:

  • The song is about The Painkiller, a personage created by Judas Priest. He is sent to the world to destroy evil and rescue mankind.
  • The song was covered by death metal band Death in 1998. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Pufan Alexandru, for above 2
  • This is the final song on Rock Band 2. It is Level 7 difficulty on all five parts. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Aaron - Seattle, WA
  • Frontman Rob Halford told Kerrang! magazine May 25, 2013 that this is the song he's most proud to have written. He explained: "I think it's a wonderful statement. It embodies what metal is - it's everything a full-on screamy metal track should have. Everybody is going a million miles an hour on it, and yet the melody still comes across. That statement that 'He is the Painkiller' - you get 30,000 metalheads chanting it at a festival and it's a great feeling. It's become a very important song for Priest, and for metal too, I think."
  • Keyboardist Don Airey played bass on Painkiller because Judas Priest bassist Ian Hill was unable to take part in recording sessions due to illness. Airey, who had worked with both Ozzy Osbourne and Rainbow before becoming Deep Purple's keyboardist in 2002, played most of the album's bass parts on a Minimoog. Speaking with AntiHero magazine in 2020, he recalled:

    "All the bass parts are me playing on the mini. It's Moog bass on the whole album, that was Ian Hill's bass mixed in as well on parts. But at the time Ian wasn't very well. So, he wasn't at the sessions. So, I got made to do all the bass and they kept it."
  • Judas Priest originally booked Airey to play keyboards, but because the rockers wanted the album to have a heavier sound than their previous work, he only played keys on "A Touch of Evil."

    "[Judas Priest] were so worried about it they didn't even give me a credit, I don't think, on the album," he recalled. "They paid me, which is always the point."

Comments: 7

  • Acroyear from Lansing, MichiganHow could this song POSSIBLY be about Satan? The Painkiller is coming to destroy evil and rid the world of pain. How anyone could think that is an allusion to Satan, I don't know. Its easy to see the Painkiller as representing Jesus Christ, given the whole destroying evil and absolving people of their pain, Crayola's interpretations just don't fit. No offense my friend.
  • Luke from Manchester, UkCrayola... When the hell did Satan and Jesus come into this?
  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaThe Painkiller character is a similar trope to Black Sabbath's Ironman -- both came to recue the world from evil, but Ironman got messed up en-route. . .
  • Crayola from Knoxville, TnI see three interpretations of this song. First: Some people think if they give their souls to the devil, the pain in their lives will end because they will have more power and get revenge on the people who have wronged them. The second interpretation could be that the word "Satan" is being used in place of heroin. Heroin is a painkiller, emotionally and physically, and the devil is leading a person to start using heroin, because Satan loves to destroy people's lives. The third interpretation could be that when Jesus comes back, Satan is going to defeat him and destroy the earth, putting everyone out of their pain and misery.
  • Ryan from Anahola, HiThis song is also on Guitar Hero: Van Halen, but part of the intro is cut off for liability reasons.
  • Hayden from Tka, New ZealandAward winning drumming, right there.
  • Jason from Denver, CoI love the opening drum riff to this song. It's like a sped up version of One Little Victory by Rush
see more comments

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