Saturday, February 02, 2008

Lesser of two evils

It's the first Lesser of 2008 and before I get at it I justed to wanted to add that when I do this for veteran bands that I will change one of the categories from what it was last year. The production/originality category will be removed and in it's place will be the "Disappointment Factor". The is category will just be that the band whose album was least disappointing compared to that band's previous works will win the point. Okay, so let's get at it.

Iron Maiden-Virtual XI (1998)

Judas Preist-Demolition (2001)

In the 1990's both these legendary metal bands had their vocalists leave. Maiden went out to replace Bruce Dickinson fairly quickly and they perhaps had an advantage in that they had replaced singers before when Dickinson replaced Dianno so Maiden fans had some hope. As they did with the previous vocalist vacancy they went for someone different from the guy they previously had. They brought in Wolfsbane vocalist Blaze Bayley. Priest kind of disappeared for awhile, but eventually they resurfaced after hiring an American singer named Tim "Ripper" Owens. Of course we all know the tale of him having been in a Priest cover band. So Priest went the opposite direction of Maiden and went for a singer who was similar in style to his predecessor. Iron Maiden's X-factor was both similar and different to previous Maiden albums and it wasn't just the vocals. Priest's Jugulator seemed to try hard to seem current, but seemed to be lacking and like Maiden it wasn't just the vocals. Then both bands did second albums with their new frontman and I think most fans hoped these bands would get it together. However, I think both bands went further downhill so let's see how these two albums stack up against one another.

So it's Blaze Bayley of Maiden against Ripper Owens for Priest. If it were just straight out ability based on what I know these two guys can do that I would easily take Owens because he has a far better range. However this is based on what they did on these albums. Bayley is more a hard rock singer and he sounds pretty flat far too often and that's why he doesn't completely work with this band. For some reason Priest chose to make Owens voice sound a bit more muffled at times and they didn't let him push his voice much here. However he gets enough parts to shine on and Bayley just kind of bores me.
Point to Judas Priest

So it's Dave Murray and Janick Gers for Maiden going against Glenn Tipton and KK Downing of Priest. The guitars for Maiden sound far less powerful and more restrained than normal, but it's still largely Maiden even though you have to listen harder for it. In some ways the guitars for Priest are still Priest in that they have that basic tightness yet the sound is different and it really hampers the appeal for me. They also have trouble building much of anything once they get into a song because it's just so repetitive.
Point to Iron Maiden

Rhythm Section
We have Steve Harris on bass and Nicko McBrain on drums for Maiden against Ian Hill on bass and Scott Travis on drums for Priest. This Maiden album is very restrained and the bass suffers a little more from that than do the drums. However it's still Steve Harris so there is still enough to draw your attention. Nicko's drums are good enough, but a little more in the background than on previous albums. Ian Hill's bass parts are as always barely audible. Scott Travis might fair best out of anyone in the Priest camp because they add odd effect to his drums as they did with other parts of their music. Still you can't beat one of the best rhythm sections in metal even on an off day.
Point to Iron Maiden

Disappointment Factor
I wasn't big on the previous albums by either band. Yet for Maiden it had only been six years since the decent "Fear of the dark" and I thought they had a lot to overcome in their first album without Bruce because it was such a change. So I really expected them to have it together and deliver on this album. For Priest it had been eleven years since their last good album in Painkiller. Yet they lost Halford who was a huge part of their sound so I had real doubts that they would get it back on track. So Maiden were a bigger dissappointment for me because they got even worse on this album and they seemed to be getting further away from their former greatness.
Point to Judas Priest

Who rocks more
Boths bands had real shortcomings in this category and that is very surprising for both acts. Maiden watered their music down and Priest muffled much of theirs with effects and odd sounds. However most of Priest's songs here rarely got better after the first say 40 seconds. yet several Maiden songs picked up as they went along and managed to build some steam and get something going. Not that clear cut and not that deserving, but ....
Point to Iron Maiden

So Iron Maiden win it at a tune of 3-2. Neither album was really awful, but both were difficult to get through. Maiden have since turned it around, but Priest have yet to get back to form.

I'll have another lesser of two evils next month which will likely feature two solo albums, but I am not sure which ones yet.


Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

wow, what an excellent brawl there... but I only have Jugulator and it's not that bad, honestly...not what we'd constitute a proper Priest album, but it's adequate if you take your mind out of it

8:43 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

I never listened to either of these, but I'm not surprised Maiden won, because, as you say, Maiden is better even on an off day.

10:15 AM  
Blogger DPTH International said...

What an interesting session. Both bands are iconic, so it seems weird to have a lesser of two evils post with them. Nice breakdown though.

8:38 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home