Judas Priest Discography Discussion (part 2 starting page 20)


Ancient Mariner
The Ripper years (Part 1):

Tim "Ripper" Owens is that story, you know? That kid that grew up thousands of miles away of his favorite mega band and that managed to mimic the voice of his favorite vocalist to a point that he could make a few bucks in a cover band . Then one day, the said frontman leaves the band, the band starts the audition marathon and that kid goes "Hey... why not?" perfectly knowing it's a one in a million shot to say the least. And then it happens. The perfect Cinderella story in leather and spikes (this sounded weird... let's move on). Fact is very few people can fill the dinosaur sized shoes that is replacing THE METAL GOD. Would this kid from Ohio do it? Quite doubtful...

Well Ladies and Gents... fear not. Because after a sombre industrial like intro the display of vocal insanity regarding range, timbr,e attack and technique that the title track offers us is simply mind blowing! This kid's voice is something that comes once in a lifetime and the band nailed it when they gave Tim the job regardless of being a "nobody" (unlike other metal legends during the 90's ... cof cof). The music itself is pure aggression. One can hear the soul of Painkiller on this beast but the guitars are clad all around in much heavier steel resembling bands like Slayer and Pantera. Although being quite different than the 70's sound the song construction is in a considerable number of songs the most complex and anti pop formula since Stained Class and Sin After Sin (although not reaching the Prog like skill of these records). Blood Stained sounds like a brick hitting your eardrums conveyed by a guitar work that could be easily penned either by King or Hanneman. Burn In Hell and Abductors are the same breed of mid tempo and heavy as hell bad Mo Fo's while Death Row and Bullet Train make the metronome tick faster and transpire more Priest like melodies here and there. The grand finale is served by a gorgeous epic monster by the name of Cathedral Spires that mingles masterful composition, brutal guitar riffs, an awesome melodic chorus and a spine chilling outro while that kid from Ohio that wasn't supposed to be in this band shows why he really got picked and dubbed "Ripper" by 4 living metal legends old enough to be his father.

Now it's well known this album is disliked among a considerable portion of Priest fans. Hey... and that's ok if that is for the right reasons. And as far as I'm concerned those can be:
a) "I'm not much into this thrashy Priest sound. I prefer their classic heavy metal sound spanning from Killing Machine to Defenders Of The Faith". Fair enough... It's a matter of taste and that's perfectly fine
b) "The songwritting is too complex, there are too much noise intros and it's not easy listening" True. But be aware of this... When I first listened to Jugulator it was major letdown. I was expecting a 1 listening fall in love record and instead I got this overwhelming acoustic beast that felt like broken glass being pushed down my eardrums. I was almost selling the record when I decided to give it one last chance... and Bang! It hit me. And then I heard it again and it hit me even harder and I got completely hooked in it.
c) "The lyrics and song titles are way too goofy, man. Come on!" Fact. I had the same issue. Although not being the zenith of poetry, Priest always managed to deliver some cool heavy metal imaginarium through its lyrics. And yes...things like Dead Meat, Braindead, Decapitate and other passages are cheesy and basic as crap. But then again I had to see this album in diferent spetacles than the ones I used on the remainder of Priest's discography. In an analogy to video games I would say that prior to this album, regarding lyrical content, Priest normally would deliver something like a Heavy Metal MMORPG. But Jugulator is waaaaaaaaaaaay diferent. Jugulator is a straight to your face ridiculously violent and gory FPS without any real plot: just you trying to survive in an environment of really brutal creatures. And boy when I was younger I sure loved me some Unreal Tournament...

Other reasons are completely acessory... "There's no Halford"? Well deal with it! There's a guy here that sings like very few can sing worldwide and if your problem is the vocal delivery I'm sorry to tell you but your problem is called cult of personality. It's not about who performs it but HOW it is performed. And Tim filled every inch of Priest's footwear in this one (Hey that doesn't mean that he is better than Halford... it simply means he did it 100% perfectly... and then some may I add). This record is amazing. Raw, aggressive, exaggerated, refreshing and a bit corny and juvenile but that's part of its peculiar charm.

The future for this new incarnation of JP had everything to continue to ripp bodies worldwide for a good number of albums and Jugulator's follower was antecipated with great enthusiasm and a solid security it would be good and heavy. But this band is made of surprises... and unfortunatelly some are pretty bad as we would notice 4 years latter. But that's another story. JugulaTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOR... yeah!

Highs: cheer aggression in megartons through tracks such as Jugulator, Blood Stained, Bullet Train Burn In Hell, Abductors andclosing with the epic Cathedral Spires.
Lows: some pretty goofy lyrics and titles but that's all
Rating: 18.5/20
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Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
I really wish I could share that enthusiasm you have for Jugulator, but I really can't. I've been through it again today and it's worse than I remembered. There are some moments of greatness - the riffs are usually pretty good - but most of it just falls flat on its face. To put it bluntly - it sucks.
  1. Jugulator - 4
  2. Blood Stained - 8
  3. Dead Meat - 2
  4. Death Row - 1
  5. Decapitate - 1
  6. Burn In Hell - 1
  7. Brain Dead - 1
  8. Abductors - 3
  9. Bullet Train - 2
  10. Cathedral Spires - 5
Rating: 28%

Still one of the worst things I've ever heard.


Ancient Mariner
The Ripper years (Part 2):

Well I remmember like it was yesterday when Machine Man came out and, of course, I rushed to buy it. After another fuzzy noise intro, the drums erupt into a breakneck pace and immediatly the rest of the band follows. Killer song again with some really cheesy lyrics and (as always) a monster vocal display from Mr. Owens. Subterfuge was ok too... something like "classic metal meets alternative metal bathed in Marylin Manson's post production". As difficult it seems the song kinda works decently. Other thing I really noticed was the guitar sound... and it was due to reasons faaaaaaaaaaar from flattering. I normally don't pick on production (hey... I like Grindcore) but there are some exceptions that really hurt my eardrums (isn't it true Mr. Bob Rock?). Demolition has this handicap. The damn guitars seem suffocated like some cheap VST layer that makes them sound more artificial than plastic itself. Then came the rest of the album.

Ok the good things first: Adding to Machine Man, Hell is Home is a gorgeous song (look for the live version since it is much more organic), In Between is a cool catch and go tune, Bloodsuckers is also great quality heavy stuff (those high notes in the chorus are as Halford as the original) and Jeckyll and Hyde's combines orchestrations with a brute fast tempo in a real refreshing mode. Devil Digger and Subterfuge are listenable tunes also. And then there's the rest... AND GOD HOW I WISH THERE WASN'T!

Feed On Me and Cyberface come as the usual fillers that add little to nothing. Close to You is an hyper uninspired power ballad ... not that it is horrible (and the lyrics on this one at least are quite decent unlike the majority of the record). But it's soooo cliche... boring and predictable as boring and predicatbele can get (in a record featuring another attempt of a ballad). Metal Messiah starts with a good riff and has a cool pre chorus/ refrain. But WHAT ARE THOSE RAP LIKE VERSES? The midi like synth on the chorus? And the lyrics must be near an all time low in music history's lyrical content. What to say about Lost and Found other than it sounds like a sunday school tune penned by some drunk Vicar with the music sensitivity of a herd of deaf buffalos? But the bottom of the pit is One On One. Once again the lyrics here are awful even to Demolition's low standards. And regarding "music" here's what's going on: start with a copy of Wollt Ihr Das Bett In Flammen Sehen's main riff (great song back when Rammstein was Rammstein) devoid it of the aggression of the original of the and stick it into a soulless, limp garbage of an atempt of a riff raff alterno-metal tune.

That being said this record's great defect is not lack of good/ enjoyable songs (as you can see I really enjoy half of the album). No... where Demolition fails blatantly is as one when you put together all the parts.
1- If that's true that some songs really seem to stem from the same band and are really "Priesty", tunes like Subterfuge, One On One, Lost And Found, parts of Metal Messiah and Jeckyll and Hyde (no matter if I like 'em or not... and some of them I really do) just seem completely out of place: some sound like heavy metal, others like lalala tunes, others like alterno metal a la White Zombie or M. Manson . Coherency stands for Demolition as hair brushes for utterly bald people: a long lost memory. 2- That plastic guitar sound and production really make my spine shiver I must stress. Some band members should be disallowed to come near sound mixing devices of al sorts. 3 - Jugulator's lyrics were cheesy and basic but at least had a focus (carnage, death and mayhem). Demolition's message is completely all around and nowhere at the same time not to mention the band managed to write even worst lyrical content than in the prior album (in some cases wwwwwwwway worst!)

To sum it all Demolition was a failure in various aspects: a) while atempting to bring back old fans estranged by the brutality of Jugulator, b) while retaining some new enthusiasts of their new punchier sound, c) while trying to appeal to new publics namely the modern/ alterno metal head of the late 90's and early 2000's and mostly d) to while solidifying Judas Priest's new line up. In return It was a letdown to almost everyone and the band's future was on the ledge once again. As an aftermath, Tim Owens was the sacrificial lamb despite doing a stellar job in both albums. So, backdoor moves were being put to action and the reunion with the Metal God seemed to be a reality (and a great way to rebound from the sea of deception that was demolition because of... well.... classic line up reunions... we all know how things work). Would the new release be their epitaph or the glorious comeback everyone wished? One could only root for the later.

Highs: A handful of good songs, especially Machine Man, Hell Is Home and Bloodsuckers.
Lows: One On One, Lost And Found, Metal Messiah are awful. Lots of fillers. Album lacks coherency. Plastic production and even worst lyrics than the previous album.
Rating: 9/20
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What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
I gave Jugulator another listen today. I have to say it's a pretty good album, a lot of catchy songs. 7/10


Out of the Silent Planet
Does anyone know why the title track of one of the best albums of all time is 1:30 minutes long <-> Defenders Of The Faith

And the song before it (''Heavy Duty'') is also very short (2:25).