without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Demolition presents somewhat of a conundrum to me, for while I felt that Tim 'Ripper' Owens was better integrated into the band's overall sound, there are many laughable, lame choices in songwriting and lyrics that I find it incredibly difficult to take this seriously. I mean, really, this should have been the album that evolved the few tracks laid out by Jugulator into something worth experiencing, not some phoned in devolution into weaker, pedestrian riffing that felt out of touch and out of place in the new century. Even the cover to this album is immensely lazy, with that goofy title font and the lack of even the corny steel-limbed shredder beasts that fronted the two albums before it. If something looks uninspired, then it quite likely could SOUND uninspired, and Demolition is a swollen, 70 minute waste deposit that drowns its few positives in sewer loads of swill and shit.
Like Jugulator before it, the production was kept in the family here, with Glenn Tipton taking on the duties himself. I can't say that the album sounds all that terrible, because it's got a modern gloss and clarity to it that matches the dull thrashing clamor of its music. The chords and the endless chugging sequences are effectively punchy but vapid due to their basic and undeveloped notation, but they're flush with the volume of the drums and the more focused vocal lines. Ian Hill's bass-lines plunk along aggressively, but the problem is that the riff patterns being strewn out over him just feel like rehashes of Painkiller and Jugulator with mild differences, as if the band was, unsurprisingly, lazily trying to relive their past successes to no avail. Demolition is an album that would have GREATLY benefited from an outside input, in terms of the song quality. I mean, none of these are good, but the fact that they keep coming in an endless tide of mediocrity speaks to me that they might have tried to cut this down to 40-45 minutes of the most intense material. Demolition is an obese pedestrian in dire need of vehicular homicide...
...and it doesn't take very long to sink to the bottom of the toilet bowl. "Machine Man" starts out with a Scott Travis drum solo redolent of...well, "Painkiller", before erupting into this dull cycle of chords and a chugging verse sequence. Owens feels more controlled and restrained, and as a result I think he's a better fit to the surge of the music. Unfortunately, that music fairly sucks, and once he breaks into the lyric lines of the pre-chorus/chorus I nearly fall out of my chair and puke coffee out of my nostrils. 'So you motherfuckers want to race/you've all got LOSER tattooed on your face!' They dress the song up with the spurious, wild little affected guitars that lead into a decent if forgettable lead, but it's incredibly haphazard and painfully average. The sad fact is that Demolition gets no better as it progresses. Mid-paced power/thrash tunes like "One on One" and "Bloodsuckers" often feel like they just rephrases some of the Painkiller licks, and not formed into a positive configuration.
It gets worse. "Hell is Home" sounds like some garbage Black Label Society track that lost its way into Tim Owens' vocal booth. "Lost and Found" is the requisite power ballad, and while Tim does a decent doppelganger of what Rob Halford might have sounded like phrasing the same track, it's incredibly mediocre musically, with lamentable blues lead lines. "In Between" follows a similar course, only with more electric guitars, but it still seems dull. Tracks that attempt to take on a more epic, atmospheric structure like "Cyberface" and "Metal Messiah" come up far short of their intention with the Eastern, lurching flavor (though Owens pulls off a couple decent hooks here, too little and too late), and really there is not a single piece here that I would incorporate on ANY highlight reel in reference to this particular band. I realize that moving over to a label like Steamhammer from CBS/Epic might have lessened expectations, but didn't the suits even give this album a listen before releasing it? It should have been confined to its demo reels.
I don't know about you folks, but Judas Priest is not a band I turn to for generic, flatline drivel, and there's really no excuse for such an insipid recording from a band who once wrote classics like Sad Wings of Destiny, Sin After Sin, Screaming With Vengeance, and Painkiller. That this album would more or less put the nail in Ripper's coffin and eventually steer towards a reunion with the siren himself Rob Halford is no coincidence: just listen to this. Ironically, I don't think that Owens was primarily at fault here. His delivery was solid and concentrated, if not exemplary; he just had nothing interesting to sing over, and don't be surprised that these tracks (and those from Jugulator) find themselves increasingly absent from both the memory of the audience and any future set lists.
Ladies and gentlemen, the only other Judas Priest album featuring the vocals of "Tim" The Ripper "Owens". How does this one stack up to "Jugulator"? Well, it's weird. The good songs on here are probably even better than the good one of the previous album, while the "bad" ones are arguably even worse. Well, "worse" is a harsh choice of words. They're not really bad per-say, but pretty generic and unmemorable. To me, that's almost worse than an outright bad song.
The sound, lyrical content, and structure here is almost totally different from the last album. As opposed to the demonic and apocalyptic jackhammering of the former, the songs on "Demolition" go for more of the classic Priest sound. The melody and catchiness are are more up and front here, the lyrics a bit less evil but still kinda dark, and most of the songs sound more condensed. It's sort of a modernish mix of "Screaming For Vengeance" and "Turbo" with a bit of "Jugulator" sprinkled on top.
The bandmates put out their usual great efforts here. Glenn and KK have come up with some decent solos here, though not as good as some of the ones on "Jugulator". Still, their efforts are strong. Ian Hill still pounds out those bass riffs with attitude, while Scott Travis is unfortunately wasted more so on this album thanks to the mostly mid-pace of the songs. PRIEST, make you songs faster!!! Give this guy more to do; as he has so clearly demonstrated on "Painkiller", he has fucking talent! Lastly, The Ripper is very good here. His vocals are clean and melodic, and while he doesn't utilize his obnoxious grunts and growls near as much here, he doesn't unleash his fantastic screams near as much either. Great effort on his part still, though.
The songs are a mixed bag here and not as consistent as the work on "Jugulator". But like I said, the better numbers are pretty great. Opening track "Machine Man" is really cool and catchy, with memorable riffing, a good solo, and some fun shouted vocals wrapped up in a "Freewheel Burning"-like package. The closer, "Metal Messiah", is similar is structure but slower. It has a short but good solo, but the main event here is The Ripper's vocals; he RAPS! Well, sort of. It's semi-rapping, and since it doesn't last too long, that makes it more tolerable than the real thing. Plus, it's worth the weight for the gorgeous main chorus. Believe me, you won't soon forget the elegant heaviness of "Heeee's the one, The Father, The Son, Creaaator, Destroyer, METAL MESSIAH"! Good stuff. Other good moments include a personal favorite, "One On One", which is a bit repetitive but has a great riff and an ass-kicking chorus, and "Jekyll and Hyde" with it's pounding bass work under the song's building pre/main chorus. However, it's also far from perfect. Heavier moments like "Hell Is Home", Devil Digger", and Feed On Me", just sort of come and go. Ballads (yes there's honest-to-science ballads here) like "Close To You" and "Lost And Found" feel somewhat tacked on and not particularly necessary, although I will admit "Lost And Found" is kind of a nice song.
Overall, "Demolition" is an inconstant album, and pays for it. While the melody and classic feel are a little more in play this time around, only a few songs are really good. Most are just unmemorable and feel a little out of place and, like some songs on the last album, overly long. Worth a check for the more traditional feel, but again, only a few songs are really anything good, but at least they're really good. Though weak, "Demolition" isn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be.
Judas Priest attempted one last great stab with "Demolition" that found the band taking on every trend around it and desperately fumbling for a hit to bring the name of Judas Priest back to the forefront. Sadly, this effort is sloppily produced, the songs are goofy, the vocals aggravatingly "tuff-guy" and the entire concept falling through the tracks. The quite-cool album art can't save Priest from the fact that on "Demolition" they find themselves churning out sometimes entertaining fluff that would rate as purely disposable had the name Judas Priest not been shamefully connected to it.
This record does have a few good moments such as the BRILLIANT "Close to You" (I'd love to hear Rob sing this one), the double-crunching "Feed on Me", the grooving "Subterfuge" and the rather quirky ballad "Lost and Found". The 'heavy' songs each have their moments such as the opening riff to "One on One", the amazing chorus to "Metal Messiah" and the rather groovey opening riff to "Hell is Home". Sadly, none of these songs work as cohesive units and the lyrics are just dumber than dumb. This shows a band that simply couldn't cut the fat and were too worried about hitting all the right trends than they were in writing a solid album that reflected vision and poise. This sounds like a sloppy mess with a few brilliant moments that entertain from time to time...just enough that Priest fans were praising it in early moments only to realize that lack of true value shortly thereafter.
Some people will like this album as it is a passable 'rock' release. Does this hold a candle to anything recorded in the Halford days? No. Does this rate as anything worth remembering in the grand annals of heavy metal history? No. Judas Priest are not back with this release...they are simply a fading concept that sometimes works as junk food. These songs are entertaining in the way a million disposable Metal Blade bands have been entertaining...it's fluff that one really would have no faith in if not for the brand name attached to it.
It's pathetic really...teen angst with passable cheese-rock hooks may entertain for a moment but marked the band for death until Rob Halford made his glorious return.
The follow-up to Jugulator and the second studio album with Tim 'Ripper' Owens is not at all as bad as people will make you believe. Most people tend to call it mallcore, but that is incredibly wrong. There are no silly melodic, clean sung passages or choruses, the riffs are too interesting and innovative, there is no random unmelodic screaming and there are no "I-will-slit-my-wrists-because-my-life-sucks-boo-fucking-hoo" lyrics. So those who scream "mallcore" as soon their favourite band takes a new direction (Hi FatalStrike), you are allowed to piss off. One of the biggest trademarks of Judas Priest has been the significant style changes between every single album, and they have yet to disappoint me.
So, despite all the silly keyboard effects abound, this is anything but mallcore. The sound is in fact closer to classic Priest than Jugulator, in that it's not very thrashy and brutal, although this has it's crushingly heavy moments. There are also more melodic ideas found here, which is another thing that marked the classic Priest. The song constructions also go back to fairly simple patterns, and there are not as many different vocal lines as you would find on Jugulator, which is generally a good thing, as it brings a better sense of focus to the songs. And the production is also somewhat better than the dry sound of Jugulator, and also adds a much higher bass, although the aforementioned keyboard effects can get really annoying at times.
Another notable change with this album is Ripper's vocals. He sings in a dark, semi-growled midranged voice pretty much all the time. And while he does it very well, and while it does fit with the aggressiveness that still abound on the album, a few of the demonic falsetto shrieks that you could find on Jugulator would only do good. Another thing this album lacks, which also was absent on Jugulator, is good soloing. They just don't make sense.
While the general sound and style change from Jugulator has been for the better, the songwriting department in itself is slightly inconsistent. There are a bunch of weaker songs that brings the album down from it's full potential, namely Devil Digger, In Between, Lost and Found and Cyberface. Devil Digger is a pretty decent midpaced number with quite groovy, dark vocal lines, but it never really gets anywhere, and the pointless "I don't want to fade away" ranting does little to me. In Between goes through a number of time changes yet still manages to sound the same all the time and never seems to get anywhere. That's quite an accomplishment. Lost and Found is just a below average acoustic ballad. Cyberface is definitely the best of these four, though nonetheless quite weak. The lyrics are hideously cheesy yet pretty funny, and the vocal lines on the chorus are incredibly lifeless and sound somewhat robotic. What brings this song above the others is the crushingly heavy midpaced headbanger of a main riff.
The rest is all pretty solid. The opening track Machine Man is the ultimate highlight- really fucking heavy speed metal, with insanely catchy and memorable vocal lines, a damn fine underlying double bass attack and a powerful shout-along chorus. Other highlights are Hell Is Home with it's very groovy vocal lines and the dark, moody intro, the beautiful ballad Close To You, the fast paced Bloodsuckers which has some well-needed high-pitched vocals on the chorus, the aggressive Feed On Me, the groovy Subterfuge with another catchy shout-along chorus, and Metal Messiah, with rather silly almost-spoken verses but that mindblowing chorus exploding out of nowhere. "HE'S THE MAN! ARMAGEDDON! WALKING THROUGH FIRE! METAL MESSIAH!" Quite possibly one of the greatest choruses ever.
The songs not mentioned are all rather average, and rank somewhere in the middle. In the end, Demolition is definitely a step in the right direction for Priest, even though it's somewhat inconsistent. But they badly need to get the solos right.
Oh, almost forgot: I guess I have to say something about What's My Name, the only song so far co-written by Ripper. It's a quite decent, midpaced song with a rather groovy and electronic-sounding intro riff leading into the decently heavy under-vers riff. The vocal tone on the song, I must admit, do mildly resemble to Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, only Ripper somehow makes it sound decent. In conclusion, it's a pretty decent song, although I wouldn't recommend that you follow my example and rebuy a special edition of Demolition for 25 bucks just to get this song...
Priest's second album with Owens proved to definitely be a lot stronger than "Jugulator" - taking back a bit of the usual trademarks in the form of a lot of melody and decent solo's coupled with a bit of experimentation.
While there still are a few weaker tracks ("Cyberface" & "Jekyll And Hide") it appears that the average quality of the songs is a lot higher than the ones to be found on "Jugulator". One problem though which also plagued that previous album is the production - instead of sounding dry and boring, Glenn opted for a spacey nu-metal sound for part of the tracks this time - having silly and crap effects and sounds inbetween what are basically quite decent songs - definitely something that Priest DOESN'T need to be succesfull...
It also seems that Ripper has even grown a little bit more in his role as singer / frontman and shows off an entirely new side of his voice - instead of constantly seeking higher registers - there's a lot of very powerfull midrange singing to be found on here - which fits him very well (although the odd shriek wouldn't have been bad either mind you)...
Best songs on here are the most "experimental" ones - "Hell Is Home" (sounding a bit like "Turbo Lover", but darker and doomier), "Subterfuge" (White Zombie like ? ) and Metal Messiah (which features a classic metal chorus, yet almost rap-like inbetween melody lines). Furthermore there also is a lot of enjoyment to be had from "One On One", "Machine Man" (sounding Painkiller-esque) and "Bloodsuckers".
Sadly enough this is a very underrated and overlooked album - and it's certainly a fair deal stronger than "Jugulator", "Rock A Rolla" or "Point Of Entry"...
Yes, all the silly effects and slightly electronic sound remind me of Turbo. But, if Turbo were this good, it would not suck nearly as badly (yeah that was a bit obvious!) What I'm saying is, this is a good album. It's actually one of Priest's most consistent - though at the price of having no outrageously amazing songs like "Ram it Down" for instance. At least there are no complete vomit-inducing feces-piles like "Abductors". It's just pretty nice from beginning to end.
Highlights include "Machine Man", which is a great opener. "One on One" is totally good midpaced headbanging material in the vein of "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll".
"Close to You" is actually the best ballad they've done since "Beyond the Realms of Death". It's that good - better than "Out in the Cold" or "Touch of Evil", both great songs in their own right. "Subterfuge" is also a winner - it's catchy as fuck, and those that call it mallcore have obviously not had their ears grated mercilessly by Korn enough times.
Some of the weaker tracks are "Devil Digger", "Lost and Found", and "Cyberface" - all of them just kinda boring. "In Between" is merely okay too, so is "Metal Messiah", whose verses are not rapping, they're just not sung either, but the chorus is great. Priest has always had nice singalong choruses, and this album continues that tradition.
Yes, it's good. The cover art blows, but the music is quite decent - again, no real overwhelming highlights, though. So it's merely good, and not great.