It seems as though I myself do not agree with the "general opinion" of too many albums, if such a thing exists. Though the albums from once giant metal bands such as Iron Maiden or Megadeth were repeatedly crapped all over by critics and fans alike, I have not really found anything wrong with them. I liked The X Factor and Virtual XI. I liked The Black Album. I liked Risk. So before I listened to Judas Priest's Demolition, I assumed that I'd enjoy it just as much as other albums. Maybe everybody was just bitter that Halford was gone and had been replaced. Boy was I wrong. To this day, Demolition is by far the worst Priest album I have heard yet. Keep in mind that I haven't heard the other heavily scrutinized Ripper album, Jugulator.
The biggest reason Demolition is such a dud is not Halford's replacement, Tim Owens, but instead, it's very simple. Judas Priest's 2001 effort is directionless, boring, and very uninspired. Songs like Machine Man and One on One plod along for a combined 12 in a half minutes, and do not present a good first impression on the album. These tracks alone exhibit a bad habit that the album's primary songwriters get into, and many errors are repeated throughout the album. The writing feels very half-assed, the riffs feel monotonous, and the little things that made past songs like The Sentinel, Painkiller, and Electric Eye are nowhere to be found. The once exciting, metallic sound has been replaced by a sludgy, down-tuned sound that is bland and, well, very ineffective. Demolition has Priest attempting to add some modern metal elements into their music, but this influence does more harm than good, and the band falls flatly on its face.
Perhaps the worst part of the album is its monstrous length. The album is 71 minutes long and has many songs which approach or even exceed the 6 minute mark. Good Lord, what was the band thinking when they put this together. I will never understand what goes through their minds. Back in the day, they had excellent tracks like The Ripper and Hellbent for Leather, and neither of them passed the 3 minute mark. This time around, the songs contain little to no hooks and they decide lengthen them by three to four minutes. Two of the songs, One on One and Cyberface even come within 15 seconds of the 7 minute point. This is definitely unacceptable, especially from a band of Priest's standards. For, shame, Glenn and KK, for shame.
Much like ex-Iron Maiden singer, Blaze Bailey, Tim "Ripper" Owens was not as well received as he should have been. In truth, he does not do as badly as some make him out to do on Demolition, but after hearing Iced Earth's The Glorious Burden, I'd be hard pressed to say he did a good job on this album as well. Ripper was definitely misused on this album. At times he breaks through with a very catchy vocal performance, as can be found during the chorus of Subterfuge, but for the most part, Ripper uses a more mid to lower-range technique. Ripper has a really great range, and his Halford-esque high pitched screams are very fun to listen to. But they aren't utilized here, nope. Ripper has an okay showing, especially on some of the ballads, but he could be so much better if they had written proper vocal lines for the lyrics.
2001's Demolition was a very disappointing album. After 27 years in the music biz (at the time of Demolition's release), you'd think that Judas Priest would be able to do no wrong. But the "Metal Gods" are more on the mortal side of things at this point in time. Sure, they don't have to prove anything to critics and fans, as they have undeniably done a hell of a lot for metal. But that doesn't mean they should slack off when they put together new records. The goal should be to produce the best the band has to offer, and if this WAS the best they could do, then well, wow… I'm sorry, but the metal grapevine is right on this one, Demolition is an awful album, easily among Judas Priest's worst. Don't bother checking this out.