I might be the only Judas Priest fan who doesn't want Rob Halford to come back. In fact I didn't like most of the old Judas Priest at all, for example when I listened to "Live Meltdown" all the tracks I most liked were culled from "Painkiller" or "Jugulator". Ripper Owens is the man, his vocals are more powerful and stable than Rob's will ever be.

"Demolition" is the much awaited new album. I'd read some interviews that claimed the album was less aggressive; chief songwriter Glenn Tipton had had a lot of anger in him when he did "Jugulator", and much of that anger is no longer there. So "Demolition" is indeed less heavy overall and, yes, a slight disappointment.

It kicks off with the mechanic, thundering "Machine Man" (also the single). So far so good. "One on One" and "Hell is Home" are next, which are still good though nothing really special. "Jekyll and Hyde", apart from the cliche subject, is a good and rather heavy track as well. Then there's "Close to You". This track loses focus and has too much of a ballad feel to it. "Diamonds and Rust" I can handle, but Judas Priest shouldn't do too many ballads. "Close yo You", for me, is superfluous. "Bloodsuckers" is ace, in fact it sounds much like it could have come straight off "Jugulator". "In Between" is pretty good, too. "Feed on Me" is nothing special, "Subterfuge" is as heavy as a very heavy thing, "Lost and Found" is another sortof crappy ballad, "Cyberface" is very heavy but with very stupid lyrics, and "Metal Messiah" closes off the album in the shape of an anthem-like, heavy track.

The special version I bought has two bonus tracks that, to be honest, add preciously little. There are re-recorded versions of "Rapid Fire" and "The Green Manalishi (with the Two Pronged Crown)", and that's it. The live versions on "Live Meltdown" are much better.

As a whole, well, of course it's a pretty good album. If you are not encumbered by basic knowledge about computers you may even like the lyrics to "Cyberface". The production could have been a lot heavier, though, especially when it comes to the guitars. If you leave out the fact that we're talking about metal legends Judas Priest here, what you have is a pretty good heavy metal album.



Written August 2001


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