Jugulator review by Judas Priest

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Oct 28, 1997
  • Sound: 3
  • Lyrics: 3
  • Overall Impression: 2
  • Reviewer's score: 2.7 Junky
  • Users' score: 7 (33 votes)
Judas Priest: Jugulator

Sound — 3
By 1997, Judas Priest had finally found their replacement for Rob Halford after roughly four years of searching: Tim "Ripper" Owens, formerly the singer of a Judas Priest tribute band. Naturally, the expectations were high in the light of such a discovery; little did diehard Priest-fans such as myself know what guitarists Glenn Tipton & K.K. Downing had been preparing for us this whole time...

As it turned out, "Jugulator" is just a steaming sh*t-sandwich almost from beginning to end. The band, and Tipton in particular, had obviously been greatly influenced by the thrash-scene of the 90s. Nothing wrong with that of course, there is plenty of great stuff to be found in that genre. But Judas Priest really couldn't handle the stuff; the album is filled with unimaginative C#-tuned thrash riffs, irritating vocal melodies, and solos that completely obscure the talent of Glenn & K.K. The production is also quite bland, and far too compressed to match the meaty guitar tones, although the drums sound okay.

Lyrics — 3
Tim Owens was, and still is, often praised as a worthy replacement of Rob Halford. I really don't agree, I can't hear what's so great about the guy. His lower register sounds like some weak little guy forcing himself to sound big and tough, and his higher register has been vastly overrated (in my opinion, he doesn't even sound close to Halford, although he can belt out some pretty good screams from time to time). His performance on "Cathedral Spires" is quite great though, especially near the ending.

The lyrics are just beyond description. Tipton was obviously going for Halford's brand of rich, descriptive tales of heavy metal villains, but failed miserably. The "Jugulator" itself couldn't hold a candle to guys like the "Painkiller", the "Exciter" or the "Sinner". And the rest of the lyrics look like they've been written by a weird twelve-year old trying to scare himself, being exclusively about stuff like alien abductions, electric chairs and the hangman's noose. The sole exception, again, being "Cathedral Spires".

Overall Impression — 2
Overall, this album is quite a painful experience if you're used to the old Priest material. And even listening to it as a completely different band, I really can't see why anyone would choose this album over something like "Far Beyond Driven". They did get a Grammy nomination, however, for "Bullet Train". And that song, along with "Cathedral Spires" and the title track which is actually pretty cool (some of Scott Travis' best drumming ever on that one), is pretty much the only motivation to buy this album. The rest of it is just badly produced, plodding, C-grade groove thrash which just makes my skin crawl with boredom every time I try to listen to it in one go. Be especially aware of "Brain Dead" and "Abductors", as they might be the very worst songs ever released by this band.

If you're a completist, like me, then you obviously need this in your collection. But if you're not, and you can't find it for less than 2 dollars, then I would advice you to stay away and get yourself a nice hot dog or something instead.

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Quadruple post of death! Also, its better than the reviewer will admit. O' course, its not the REAL priest, but pretty good for what position they were in.
    On the whole I agree with BaptizedinFire here. Jugulator isn't a Priest fave of mine, couple of ok tracks on it but otherwise it's a very "Meh" album.... It's a shame cos I'm a huge Priest fan and I really wanted to like this album but ultimately I was disappointed....
    The reviewer is an ultrbiased dumbass. I recommend this album. It's great stuff.
    I admit Rob Halford is the better singer of the two (but hell, there's hardly anyone around who can even touch Halford), but Ripper is pretty amazing too! I've even heard people compare him to Blaze Bailey, which is really unfair. Ripper wasn't Halford, but the guy has talent and skill. More so than most singers.
    I dunno... this is one of my favorite albums along with screaming for vengeance and especially painkiller
    Way Cool JR.
    Honestly I can't stand Tim Owens voice. To me he just looked and sounded like a replacement singer picked from either American Idol or Americas Got Talent. He just did not fit in at all with Judas Priest. Sorry just my opinion. This album is at the bottom of the list of one of my most favorite and influential bands ever. 'Ram It Down' and 'Turbo' are at the top.
    Leather Sleeves
    Wow, brutal. But I'm sure it wasn't that bad, if you liked three songs I'd think that would bring it up to near a 5. I'm ashamed but I never really listened to much Priest yet, yet for some reason, this review makes me want to.
    Great album. one thing i love about Priest is they can do any type of Metal. thats what makes them stand out above Iron Maiden and all the other classic's Judas Priest TRASH METAL baby... i love it 9/10 for me.
    I actually like this album, but what annoys me it's just when Halford goes for a more americanized sound, Priest does the same. What's the point of that??
    Chronologo wrote: but what annoys me it's just when Halford goes for a more americanized sound, Priest does the same. What's the point of that??
    In the 90's especially, metal bands were pushed by labels to do what's hip. Popular music = money. If they won't change their sound, then say goodbye to the label. There's a reason why a lot of thrash metal bands were kicked back to the very underground in the early 90's, and got pretty much eaten up by death metal.
    Steaming shit sandwich...lol Win. However, I like the Ripper for the album...just as I enjoyed his voice with Iced Earth and Ynvie Malmsteen.
    I wasn't a huge fan of this album but Cathedral Spires is an AMAZING song
    Honestly, if this made by a different band, I truly believe this would be seen as a great album. This doesn't sound anything at all like Judas Priest, but like some heavy thrash band. I personally both love and recommend it, but I don't view it as Judas Priest.
    Stupid Lyrics on Jugulator? Have you heard Turbo, Ram It Down and Painkiller albums? They are worse in a lyrical matter.
    It felt more like a JP tribute than JP itself, which is ironic as that's how Ripper got the gig in the first place when his tribute band's video landed in K.K. Downing's lap.