Wednesday, January 06, 2010

As the Palaces Burned: Judas Priest - Jugulator

On September 24, 1991 Nirvana released Nevermind. Nine years later, a reunited Iron Maiden played Madison Square Garden. The time in between was one of metal's bleaker periods, where the genre's mainstream face all but disappeared and it retreated not just underground, but underwater. To celebrate the rare gems of this dark time - and remember our fortune now that metal has ceased to be such a dirty word - we're launching As the Palaces Burned, an occasional series that will cover metal albums of note released between 1991 and 2000.

Today's entry, Judas Priest's buried and forgotten classic, Jugulator.

Way before YouTube would make finding replacement band-members from tribute bands positively mainstream (hello Journey!) Judas Priest found their replacement in Tim "Ripper" Owens. At the time this got laughed at by the Metal community as "pathetic," but really, in 1997 there was not much Judas Priest could do that wouldn't have been mocked. At the height of Nu-Metal, Boy Bands and what was still called "Alternative" there was very little place for Judas Priest.

But they soldiered on, and made a true follow up to Painkiller. Still written by the core songwriting team of Glen Tipton and KK Downing, Jugulator is a sick album. It is heavier, faster and more explosive than anything Priest had ever done. The opening track "Jugulator" was not only a war cry for the band, but showcased that Ripper could absolutely hold his own on Halford's turf and in his upper tenor range. The songs varied wildly from the near grunge of "Blood Stained" and "Death Row" to the old school and epic closer "Cathedral Spires."

Ripper would end up getting his due in the Metal community much later for his work with Iced Earth and Yngwie, but "Jugulator" was an amazing work by a band inspired and at the height of their creative powers, even if no one was listening.

1 comment:

SaucyJ said...

fuck and yes