Judas Priest Unmasked

There is a band out there right now masquerading as a classic metal band. Their name is Judas Priest. They have seen fit to unleash their first album in four years, "Demolition," on a world who has little use for them anymore. Whether they know this or not is uncertain, but what is certain is that "Demolition" is a flop and I cannot stick up for them after this.

I listened to this album in disbelief. I tried to comprehend that three of the aging punsters in this outfit, K.K. Downing, Glenn Tipton and Ian Hill were responsible for some of metal’s best moments. "Sad Wings Of Destiny," "Stained Class," "Screaming For Vengeance"… "Demolition" … somehow that doesn’t belong. The band’s sound is totally removed from anything they previously recorded. It really is not the same band. I read somewhere that they should change their name. That is a fair description. The sound is far too modern – shitty downtuned riffs dominate every song and repetition sets in immediately. Trying to separate "Devil Digger" from "In Between" is pointless. They, and many others, are just the same song. There is this electronic sound running through this album that is very annoying. "Subterfuge" is the main offender, verging on the dreaded nu-metal territory many have come to dread. It is painful to listen to.

I bashed Halford’s "Resurrection" last year. I must have been mad. There is no comparison between "Subterfuge" and "Made In Hell," Halford still understands what real metal is. Priest have forgotten. They are lost in their own world. There is no excuse for slop like "Lost And Found," a ballad even the eighties would disown.

I can’t imagine what these men were thinking while recording this. Do they think that teenagers are going to pick up on this? They don’t care. The ones who do (did?) are the real fans who will be so alienated by this they will give up. On the surface there was cause for optimism. When the song titles were released, I had to laugh at "Machine Man," "One On One" and "Metal Messiah." But turkeys they are. I know it is hard to imagine but all these songs sound like castoffs from 97’s "Jugulator," a reject in its own right. The band’s performances have never been more insipid. "Ripper" Owens is a joke as vocalist. He comes across as a grunge hopeful, ten years out of date. There is nothing even close to a classic metal vocal by him here. Listening to him attempt some rap-metal on "Metal Messiah" is hilarious. What’s even funnier is that he did not write on any song. So what’s this guy’s purpose? He’s just a hired gun with nothing to lose and he’s sleepwalking his way through it. But then again look at the service he’s getting. Tipton has ruined this band.

Halford must have been the metal influence in this band because Tipton’s lyrics are awful. He tries to get serious on disasters like "Close To You" but still wants to prove this is "Priest" by writing such slabs of shit as "Cyberface," which is comedy metal at its worst, witness Owen’s "robotic" voice. It’s an ill-advised mixture which does not fool me. Go one way or the other. People never bought Priest records for intelligent statements. They want to be entertained. But with 13 songs and a 70-minute running time, you’ll be asleep by the time "Jeckyll And Hyde" hits your speakers, as this is the shortest track at just over three minutes. Nine are over five.

I don’t see where Priest fit in anymore. I thought Maiden’s "Brave New World" wasn’t so hot last year either but, realistically, it’s an all time classic opposed to "Demolition." Maiden at least stick to their strengths and traditional sound. Priest just want to forget theirs.

I’m sure people will still pack the concerts, but after looking at the scaled-down venues they are playing on the tour it’s a far cry from the arena days of the eighties when Priest rivaled Maiden stateside. The only band Priest are rivaling these days are themselves. Simply because there are few bands putting out filth like this.

Along with Megadeth, I will try to pretend ‘Demolition’ never existed.