Judas Priest

'98 Live Meltdown

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For many veteran heavy metal bands, the dawning of the 1990s proved to be a nightmarish fall from grace, as industrial and grunge rose in prominence and many bands were forced to ante up to the wild new sound. Therefore, fans shouldn't have been too surprised when Jugulator, Judas Priest's first album in seven years, was their heaviest to date. Although Jugulator was rated poorly by countless critics, it received a fair amount of media attention and charted surprisingly in the Billboard Top 100. Thus, even if their fan base was not as strong as before, and though they lost their central figure, vocalist Rob Halford, Judas Priest had nonetheless struck a chord with Jugulator, even if the attention it garnered was rather different from the sort that they received in their early-'80s heyday. A year later, seemingly with the intentions of trying to assure the public that they weren't going to go away, the group released the rushed double live album '98 Live Meltdown. Only a few songs from Jugulator are on the release; while this is far from a fatal flaw, it nonetheless makes Meltdown all the more of an obvious apology to their fans for the band's lackluster performance on it. The album does contain a good (if not predictable) track listing, but the ever-aging band sounds forced and winded. Die-hard fans (especially those who saw Priest on the Jugulator tour and who were hungry for some sort of souvenir) may have been interested in Live Meltdown, but those seeking a classic dose of heavy metal would likely find the album to be a disappointment.

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