REVIEW: Judas Priest – Demolition (2001 Japanese version)

PRIEST WEEK

Its PRIEST WEEK!  
Monday:  Rocka Rolla (1974)
Tuesday: Priest…Live! (1987)

Wednesday: Metal Works 73-93 (1993)


JUDAS PRIEST – Demolition (2001 Victor Japan)

1997:  Judas Priest thudded back into stores with Jugulator, their first without Halford.  It underwhelmed me, and I had to wait four more years for Judas Priest with Tim “Ripper” Owens to finally return again in 2001 with Demolition.  Jugulator was a mixed bag and I hoped for more on the lineup’s second album.  I was excited; according to my journal I played my copy three times in the first 24 hours.  It doesn’t indicate how many of those plays happened in the record store!

As a die hard fan, I had a lot riding on the first album with Ripper, Jugulator. It was a let down, probably even more so since the new singer was so damn good!  The live album that followed, ’98 Live Meltdown, won me over in a big way, the Jugulator songs being much better live.  Ripper had an amazing voice with power to spare, but the lyrics (which he did not write) were juvenile and the music was a tad monotonous. Demolition is marginally better lyrically, and much improved musically.

The winner of Worst Lyric Award 2001 was “Cyberface”.  As I have stated before, I generally do not like songs about the internet! “Don’t access the site/or beware his megabyte/no virus scan/detects the man”.  I’m guessing Glenn just got high-speed at his house or something.  This is a low point, but on some tracks we’re getting back to respectability!

The sound and production of the album was still too 1990’s in style. The guitars are good and chunky, the bass, usually lacking on Priest albums, is in your face, and Scott Travis is seriously kickin’ it on the drum kit. The guitars and vocals sound a tad too processed, though. A little too much tinkering with the effects racks. Ripper’s not screaming as much as he used to. I imagine his voice was already starting to wear, considering the great job he did on tour. Still, he rips it out for a couple tracks and it’s very welcome.

Songwriting-wise, the band are coming up with much more interesting riffs and songs than last time.  Perhaps Jugulator suffered from lack of variety.  On Demolition we run the gamut from fast thrash (“Machine Man”) to groove (“One on One”) to ballads (“Close to You”).  At 13 songs, I think Demolition could have stood for some editing.  Lose “Cyberface” and “Feed on Me”.  What you’d be left with would have been a strong collection of songs.  The truth is that a handful of tunes, like “Bloodsuckers” and “Metal Messiah” could have been on a Halford-era album.

PRIEST_0004Elsewhere there are still the modern nu-metal touches that I never liked too much.  The guitar part in “Devil Digger” is a good example, as is the rap-like delivery of Owens on certain parts of certain songs.  But Ripper didn’t write the songs.  Don’t blame him.

There’s only one tune that Ripper had a writing credit on, which is the Japanese bonus track “What’s My Name”.  This is the only song in Priest history with a Ripper Owens writing credit. Live, Mr. Owens often introduced the Priest classic “The Ripper” by inciting the crowd to yell his name.  “What’s my name?” Ripper would ask the crowd.  That’s where the title comes from, and it’s a pretty good song.  This is one I’d been hunting for, for years.  I’ve bought Demoltion three times now.   First was the regular CD, then a European digipack with two B-sides*, and finally this Japanese edition.

The worst thing about Demolition is the nondescript cover.  Mark Wilkinson must have been too busy drawing new Eddies for the reunited Iron Maiden or something, because this cover is by L-Space design instead.  And it sucks.  Not that Judas Priest have always had the greatest album covers (Stained Class, anyone?) but this sucks.  At least the Japanese version came with a sticker sheet of the new Priest logo.

Anyhow, I really do like this album.  The Ripper era of Priest was uneven, and although Demolition is overly long it does contain enough Priest metal to salve the soul.

3.5/5 stars

PRIEST_0001* The two B-sides were the ’98 re-recordings of “Rapid Fire”, and “Green Manalishi”.  “Rapid Fire” is thrashed up with additional lyrics, and “Green Manalishi” is slowed down to a grind.  These were both originally released on the 1998 Japanese CD single for “Bullet Train”, which I already have.  Therefore my digipack version of Demolition will be passed on to another rock fan.

Digipack version of Demolition

Digipack version of Demolition

Advertisements

62 comments

    1. I’m trying to picture what a Cyberface is. I guess it’s somebody wearing a virtual reality helmet, like they all thought we’d be wearing, back in the 1990’s. They never imagined Google Glass!

      Like

        1. You could make a hoverboard now using liquid nitrogen, a board covered with superconductors, and a magnetic rail. Unfortunately it’s not the most efficient concept, and it does require a magnetic rail to ride on, and I don’t know if it could hold a person — but it’s still a hoverboard!

          Like

        2. Forget hoverboards, that’s for chumps and I wouldn’t use it here in today’s -14C plus windchill. No, I want a Holodeck and nothing else. If we’re gonna invest in cool technology, we may as well invent the last thing humanity will ever create.

          Like

        3. Nope, and here’s the difference (with a random example): with a transporter beam, perverts would beam themselves into a ladies locker room. With a Holodeck, they could make a ladies locker room and nobody gets scarred for life.

          I would not say no to a transporter beam, though. I’d tour the world.

          Like

  1. This sounds like a good album to me! The internet thing is hilarious. Here’s another one, I was listening to A Tribe Called Quest’s Low End Theory the other day, and I’d forgotten that they have a song all about their pagers. Ha!

    Like

      1. I think given the time, given the new member, this is a solid album. Every metal band had to experiment with their sound in the period AG (After Grunge) and I think Demolition was an admirable shot at the target.

        Like

        1. Oh and I don’t know if you picked up on it, you’re the “other rock fan” that can have my digipack. I was waiting to see if you’d want it; and it sounds like you do, so it’s yours!

          Like

    1. The pager – what an delightfully inefficient device. You know that somebody wants to get a hold of you, but you had to get to a phone to reply. I enjoyed the Low End Theory – it felt like Arsenio Hall was namedropped just about every other song!

      Like

  2. I never got any of the post-Halford Priest albums, and this review makes me think I’m not missing anything (especially since I really like Priest but I’m not a huge fan). My only exposure to Ripper Owens was via his performance on a couple of Iced Earth albums, which are fantastic. And I’m a huge fan of the movie Rock Star. Even though that’s not officially the Ripper story, that’s how that project began so I always feel like his spirit is somewhere in that film.

    Oh, and I agree with you regarding songs about the internet. It’s strange that plenty of great songs were written about the telephone but late-20th century technology did not follow suit.

    Like

        1. Even though the phone isn’t the go-to communication method these days, it seems to be the medium of choice at least in popular songs. With one of the biggest hits from the last few years (Call Me Maybe), Carly Rae Jespen opted to use the phone instead of the world wide web!

          Like

    1. One possible explanation (and it could just be the coffee talking here) is that we take technology for granted now. If you have a need, there’s probably an application or piece of hardware that can get you sorted out. Sure, the telephone wasn’t exactly a novelty, but I think the rapid exponential growth of technology in our lives has led us to take it for granted.

      I think we’re the last fortunate generation. If it all comes down and the world unplugs, it’ll suck but we’ll be OK. The kids after us, who grew up wired in, will be utterly useless.

      Like

    2. Rich I think that if Priest ever put out a compilation album with a few Ripper songs on it, I’d say go for it. But aside from the Metalogy box set (which I’ll get to eventually) you can’t get a CD that has both singers, which is a shame.

      Rob has referred to Ripper as his “good friend”, and has thanked Ripper for “holding the mic” while he was gone. Ripper stepped down from Judas Priest very graciously — as a fan, glad to see his hero back.

      Iced Earth, yeah! And Ripper sang with Yngwie too.

      Like

  3. You know with all the vocalists quitting there bands in the early 90s I passed on the two Ripper studio albums but did buy the Live In London cd.
    I don’t know what it was but I just tired of band member changes and the only one who I thought pulled it off was the Motley Corabi album…all others pass….even though I did buy the two Blaze Maiden albums and I probably held that Againest Priest cuz after Maiden man i didn’t wanna hear it…….
    But Ripper covering the Halford stuff was impressive….

    Like

  4. My very small contribution to this discussion is that there are TWO versions of this title. I know because I accidentally acquired the “clean” version first. When I popped in the disc, on Track1, “Machine Man”, I noticed that the lyric “So you motherf#ckers want to race…” had been edited to make the lyric slightly obscure (although it was easy to tell what Ripper was saying). I immediately sought out the one with the parental advisory sticker. I find it interesting that the ‘clean’ version goes for a little more money used on the Amazon marketplace.

    Like

    1. Wow. I had no idea such an edit version existed. Who would buy a Judas Priest album that would want it edited? It’s not like Priest are a rap artist that 10 years olds buy. Weird. Double weird that it sells more on Amazon marketplace, but then again some of those sellers are clueless.

      Like

    2. Wow. I had no idea such an edit version existed. Who would buy a Judas Priest album that would want it edited? It’s not like Priest are a rap artist that 10 years olds buy. Weird. Double weird that it sells more on Amazon marketplace, but then again some of those sellers are clueless.

      Like

  5. Cyberface? Thats funny, can’t be any worse than Virtuality by Rush. Gotta be Peart’s worst lyrics ever.

    Anyway Mike, which do you regard higher, Maidens Blaze era or Priests Ripper era?

    Like

    1. You said it Craig. Net boy, net girl. Send your signal around the world. Put your message in a modem, and float in the cyber-sea. Fuck that shit!

      I think I prefer Blaze-era Maiden. Unlike my esteemed colleagues Jon, Aaron and HMO, I actually really like them. I get why people don’t like them, and as I always stress here on my site, context is so important. Those two albums hit me at the right time in my life.

      Like

    2. You said it Craig. Net boy, net girl. Send your signal around the world. Put your message in a modem, and float in the cyber-sea. Fuck that shit!

      I think I prefer Blaze-era Maiden. Unlike my esteemed colleagues Jon, Aaron and HMO, I actually really like them. I get why people don’t like them, and as I always stress here on my site, context is so important. Those two albums hit me at the right time in my life.

      Like

  6. When Iron Maiden replaced Bruce Dickisnon with the awful Blaze Bayley, they made their two worst records of their career. Still I don’t blame Blaze for that because those albums would have sucked even if Bruce sang on them. And No Prayer For The Dying was shite as well and Fear Of The Dark only had two really good songs on it.
    Same with Ripper era Priest. The two Ripper albums are really bad, I think, but I don’t think they would have cut it with Halford singing either. These were just really bad times for metal and I guess it affected these two giants in a negative way.
    I don’t really want to put my chainsaw on all those albums cause I think that they did the best they could under the circumstances. But still, these are records that I probably won’t ever listen to again.

    Like

      1. Thing is, I wasn’t even pissed of at Canada winning the Olympics. I was only pissed of that Team Sweden acted like a bunch p*****s. They didn’t even try. That game was a day at work for Team Canada. Did U see the pic I posted on your FB-wall, btw? Really funny one, I think. :-)

        Like

        1. Yes and I will also say that you had the classiest Olympics-related messages of anybody I saw on Facebook. I saw some ones about Sweden that were a tad nasty…something about a silver medal that you have to put together yourself (the Ikea joke).

          Anyway we’ll meet again in 4 more years, maybe next time America will actually win a medal in men’s hockey!

          Like

  7. Thats kind of what I thought. I love No Prayer though, really don’t understand why it gets such short shrift. More than Bruce gone I really think that whole period is lacking more for Adrian Smith. H is the glue that holds Maiden together and the music they made without him is lacking for melody and structure. However I still think No Prayer is killer. It was the first album released after I became a fan so it holds that spot in my heart.

    I never got with Priest until much later, I think part of it had to do with Halford to be quite honest. The leather biker boy image seemed, um, what exactly are you getting at here? Why is the guy from the Village People sining with this metal band! ;) Oh it seems so obvious now!! That being said I have much respect for him now, and the late 70’s early 80’s period is cool to me now. The song that turned me was Sinner. I had a car with Satellite radio and turned to a metal station and they played that one. I was awed and in shock. What pipes!!!

    Like

    1. It’s funny Craig, but when I first heard Priest the whole “leatherboy” image was something I knew NOTHING about. When I first saw Police Academy, when they’re in the Blue Oyster Bar, I just thought the dudes in there were bikers? I had no idea why they were ballroom dancing or anything. Not a clue. So for me, Rob’s image just seemed like he was the ultimate hard core metal singer. Aside from the hair which I figured, hey, his mom probably doesn’t want him to grow his hair long, just like my mom!

      Like

  8. Ah, the gay thing. Well, I think it’s really funny that there are all these songs written about gay people and lots of people doesn’t have a clue what they’re about. Like Breaking the Law, that came out some 10 years before Rob came out. It’s even more funny that a band like Stryper covered it and played it live. With their christian beliefs and all. And then there’s Queen’s We Are the Champions that was written as a pro-gay song. Now every team is singing it after winning a championship. It’s also really funny that Rob more or less created the whole leather and spikes image that the whole masculine metal community took after.
    But when it came to Halford, I guess no one really raised an eye brow when he came out. “Really? Halford’s gay? Naaaaaah!!!” Not much. ;-)

    Like

    1. I’m glad that most metal fans don’t care about his sexuality. I’m curious on an intellectual level of how his life differed from the regular stereotypical rock star life, but I could care less about what somebody does in their bedroom.

      Now, it’s funny to be singing along to Turbo Lover and thinking that Rob was singing about dudes, but Rob was also smart enough to leave most of Priest’s lyrics open, gender wise. Applicable to everybody in all walks of life.

      Like

      1. Small contribution here? I suspected from day one of the MTV Days “Hot Rockin” and “Heading out to the Highway” videos. Didn’t care then, didn’t care during the split and don’t care now none of my biz! But the music Priest put out especially “British Steel” the record to me in my opinion kicked off the 10 or so years that Heavy Metal ruled the world with its release date April 13, 19 f**kin 80! Killer heavy metal records came in droves! Good times!

        P.S. Demolition Machine Man! Thanks for video here

        Like

        1. Hey there Neue Regel! I really had no clue back then even with those videos…in hindsight it seems obvious but I really didn’t have a clue!

          British Steel is an album that I like more and more over the years. As I said elsewhere I’d like to review it but my edition is 2CD+1DVD and I need to give it the time and attention it deserves. When I was younger, I didn’t like songs such as Steeler or The Rage or Rapid Fire — maybe they were too heavy for my younger self. But I sure love them now!

          Like

        2. Yeah, me too. I remember watching the video for Living After Midnight and thinking that the guy pitched for the other team, but just as you said, I didn’t care then and don’t care now. I love Priest and Halford is a hero of mine, always will be.
          Homephobes and racists, prejudice people, there’s no room for such people in my life. Either you’re good person or an idiot, that’s what counts. Sexuality or color don’t.

          Like

        3. Yeah exactly. Who cares? I’m only interested insofar as how it affects the music. For example Phil Lynott didn’t really fit in with the whites or the blacks, and that comes out in a song like Half-Caste and numerous others. I really only care about his race as to how it comes out in his art.

          Like

  9. Still pull this release out from time to time and play for a couple days. Like mentioned by Mike in the review, the guy kills the drums! Amazing abilities and there are certain aspects of this record I admire and enjoy, I guess looking back on Ripper’s time with Priest, im glad the band put out some music. It would have sucked if they hadn’t and we all wouldn’t have in my opinion 6-8 maybe 10 songs that kick ass from the Ripper era! 2005 was I must admit a good year for Halford Judas Priest fans! I was lucky seeing them early on when they reunited opening for all original lineup Black Sabbath on the Ozz fest tour! Incredible packed out show! Taker easy!……..PRIEST!!!!!

    Like

    1. I was really happy when Rob came back, and that’s nothing against Ripper. As you said, looking back, it’s good that they put out music. And some of it was really good. If Halford says “I would like to sing those songs live” (and he has) then they can’t be that bad.

      Like

      1. Really? Good info to hear! Thanks! If anybody is capable of that high road its Halford, he seems a real ambassador to heavy metal music, I believe 100% that he would not hesitate to do some of those songs although I hadn’t ever gotten that info before Mike thanks again! Cool place here I’ve learned some stuff from you here, hope Priest does some live stuff coming up. Killer live still we caught em before KK left on there British Steel tour in Florida, especially memorable show. Taker easy!

        Like

        1. I’ll miss KK, but I did just watch Priest’s new DVD, Epitaph with Richie Faulkner. I gotta say you can never replace an original but Faulkner is awesome! Really awesome. He just shreds, and he interacts with the crowd more than the other members who tend to stay and play. Good stuff and encouraging for the next album, and future of Priest.

          Like

Rock a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s