Originally Posted by Onioner
Painkiller was absolutely a creative comeback. I actually like Ram It Down and Turbo a lot, but they were definitely a few rungs below the early 80s stuff and a huge step down from the 70s albums. Hell, I'd argue that Painkiller was Priest's most artistically significant album since Stained Class. As awesome and amazing as those albums from Hell Bent for Leather onwards are, they really did see them trying to pander to a commercial audience.
I just discovered this thread and absolutely agree with this. I saw the Painkiller tour and remember being surprised (in a good way) that the setlist didn't have anything from Turbo or Ram It Down and instead had a lot of 70s stuff, which I think was a good statement from the band that they were trying to get back to good music.
I grew up on 80s Priest and still like a lot of it but I didn't realize until I discovered the 70s Priest that the 80s stuff was really kind of a sellout and pandering as you say.
I also agree with those who said Overkill's Ironbound could be best comeback album ever, the three before it were very blah. And I would add Rush's Clockwork Angels to be mentioned as a great comeback album, I enjoyed it more than any Rush album since the 80s and didn't think they had anything like it left in them.