Live in London is Judas Priest's fourth live album, and second double live release in the last five years. Coinciding with a live DVD, this 2CD set, recorded on the Demolition tour, features a few crushing numbers from that album, as well as a plethora of classics from throughout the bands history. If Unleashed in the East was the signature live statement of the early incarnation of Judas Priest, Live in London will no doubt prove to be the same for the Tim "Ripper" Owens era.
I'm sure many fans had a tough time accepting Mr. Owens in the Judas Priest family. Seriously, replacing a legend like Rob Halford is no easy feat, and Juggulator and Demolition, while above average heavy metal albums, didn't really set the world on fire. However, hearing tunes from these albums in a live setting, plus Priest staples sung by Ripper, will certainly turn some heads. Mr. Owens absolutely smokes through blistering renditions of "Victims of Changes", "Touch of Evil", "The Sentinel", and the classic from Stained Class "Beyond the Realms of Death." Recent numbers like "Blood Stained", "One on One" and the rampaging "Hell is Home" take on new meaning live, as the guitars of K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton are ultra heavy, like a mix of Black Sabbath, Nevermore, and Pantera, spewing brutal riff after brutal riff. Many favorites from Priest days gone by are given similar treatment, like "Grinder", "Metal Gods", "Running Wild", "Desert Plains", "Hellion/Electric Eye", "Hell Bent for Leather", and many others. Hell, even the cheesy "Turbo Lover" is so lethal here it had me banging my head like it was 1986 all over again!
The one weak spot is on "Painkiller", where Ripper Owens tries to outdo the master Halford, and just can't. Halford was inhuman on the original recording of that song, and while Owens can REALLY scream when he wants to, he just doesn't come close on this one and his aimless shrieks kind of ruin the song. On the rest of the tunes though he does a fine job, and more often than not he had me forgetting that Judas Priest had another singer at one time. This is a highly recommended 2CD set of HEAVY stuff, and old time Priest fans should give this a chance. Ripper is the real deal.