Expectations were high for Jugulator, the first release from Judas Priest since Rob Halford left to form Fight in 1993. Indeed, the album debuted at an impressive number 82 on the Billboard album chart. New singer Ripper Owens, formerly of Winter's Bane, almost lives up to the hype as a ballsy singer, but he lacks the upper octave range that made Halford's voice distinctive. The lack of distinction is primarily what makes this album a lukewarm rehash of 1990's Painkiller. The title song itself is merely a weak rewrite of "Painkiller," while musically the band has become derivative where once it was innovative. This is particularly true in the case of guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton, who unashamedly ape the soloing style of the boys from Slayer. Also failing to impress are the lyrics on Jugulator, which are juvenile by even the crudest standards of heavy metal (though lyrics have never been the band's ace in the hole). Judas Priest may deserve praise for refusing to abandon heavy metal in its time of need, but that doesn't excuse this rather pedestrian affair from sounding entrenched in late-'80s thrash.
AllMusic Review by Jeremy Ulrey