Jugulator is one of the most imaginative Judas Priest albums I've heard. I half-expected to hear a rehash of their proto-metal efforts from the 70s, which wouldn't have been bad, but in Jugulator, Priest have managed completely re-invent themselves. The music is fast, brutal, aggressive, and stands up against the best metal that is out there today (in any sub-genre, including speed, thrash, doom, and death) without compromising too much of their previous melodic style. The screaming of new vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens is just as great as Rob Halford's was. It's good that Priest chose a route where they could play music that showcased screaming vocals. Owens isn't necessarily a clone of Halford's and there are times when he manages to sound better than Halford would have. The great guitar solos and rhythm work by Glenn Tipton and K. K. Downing shows the remarkable chemistry the band possesses, and is impeccably complemented by Ian Hill's bass and Scott Travis' drums. Every track in this album rocks. Jugulator is must-have release for any metal fan.
There are many bands that at different points could be called The Pillars of Heavy Metal Music, from Black Sabbath in the 70s to Iron Maiden in the 80s to Slayer in the 90s. But today, in 1998, as I listen to Judas Priest's live double album for the sixth time, I am forced to consider to Judas Priest as one of them. I unfortunately missed Judas Priest when they came around here (the second time they didn't even play in San Francisco!), but this album captures a lot of their magic! Tim "Ripper" Owens shows that not only he can imitate Rob Halford's already-amazing vocals, but can also top it. The music has a great raw-live feel to it, and, as a listener, you can really feel the passion in the music (though the guitars could've been produced a bit better---the drums and vocals come out fine though). The classic Priest tunes (including tunes like Breaking the Law, Painkiller, Touch of Evil, Diamonds and Rust, Victim of Changes, and Hell Bent for Leather) are all revved up (harder, faster, better) with their new 90s hard core style of performance. This album sets the pace that both young and old metal bands should follow.