Judas Priest - Jugulator review
|Release date:||October 1997|
02. Blood Stained
03. Dead Meat
04. Death Row
06. Burn In Hell
07. Brain Dead
09. Bullet Train
10. Cathedral Spires
Heavy Metal is is a way of life. If Iron Maiden gave it a mascot in Eddie or if Dio [R.I.P.] gave it a greeting in the sign of the Devil's Horns, then Judas Priest gave it the look of chains,denims, leathers and studs. But their reputation goes beyond their fashion statement as they are also well known for their music. The album which I am about to inspect is one of their lesser known albums and is called Jugulator .
Jugulator was released in 1998 and was the first not to feature Rob Halford. His place was taken by Tim 'Ripper' Owens, formerly a singer of British Steel, a Judas Priest tribute band, This rags to riches story would later be the inspiration for the movie "Rockstar". Jugulator was released at a crisis time for Heavy Metal. The Grunge movement had all but spelt doom for the Hair bands of the 80's and had badly wounded the old school Metal bands like Iron Maiden. Other big bands like Metallica had too drastically changed their sound to be even called Metal anymore. No one even gave Judas Priest a chance as without their charismatic frontman,Rob Halford, and in the middle of the Grunge movement they were as good as dead. But Judas Priest defied all the odds to release one of their heaviest albums ever recorded. Read my lips when I am saying that Jugulator is one of their heaviest albums ever and you have to listen it to believe it.
The album opens with the title track "Jugulator" which gives you the feeling that a factory metal presser is headed towards you and it will annihilate you. Tim "Ripper" Owens proves that he is a match to Rob Halford pitch for pitch and note for note and screams like a howling siren. Glenn Tipton and KK Downing are as timelessly brilliant as ever. Both of them exchange leads of brain frying dexterity in "Bullet Train". On hearing their guitar playing it is difficult to believe that both of them are in the half-century mark as far as age is concerned. Scott Travis is remarkable behind the drum-kit and is double-bass kicks at times almost sounds like a galloping horse! The production is first-class and even in the midst of those heavy guitars it is possible to hear the Ian Hill's neatly executed bass-lines. Songs like "Dead Meat" and "Death Row" will leave any headbangers wanting for more. The album ends with "Cathedral Spires" and it contains classic introductory riff which is reminiscent of the classic era of the 80's and is a perfect ending to a mercilessly heavy album.
Jugulator is my all-time favorite album and it is perhaps the most under-rated album by Judas Priest. This can be explained by the fact that people were so much used to the Halford-era Judas Priest that they did not even consider this new line-up worthwhile. Had Halford been on the album it maybe would have been a classic as Jugulator had all the typical ingredients of a Priest classic, only the original vocalist was missing. But people often forget that this album was released at a time when Heavy Metal was almost considered dead.
The very fact that Judas Priest made such a heavy record in such unfriendly circumstances is commendable in itself. This is an under-rated Judas Priest classic.
|Jugulator is the first Judas Priest album without Rob Halford on vocal duties and was released seven years after the previous album, "Painkiller."
I am sure many people were questioning the future of the band when Rob left after "Painkiller" was released, I am sure many people would have been asking how they were going to top that album even if Rob stayed in the band - but the other four members marched on nevertheless. Tim "The Ripper" Owens was the man elected to fill the (rather large) boots of Rob after the band held auditions, which also included now Primal Fear's Ralf Scheepers. The band chose Tim Owens almost immediately after he sang the beginning of "Victim Of Changes." He had been put forward for the auditions by the recommendation of two of Scott Travis' friends who saw and recorded him sing live with the Judas Priest tribute band "British Steel" he was in at that time.
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| Hermann Langke
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