by ALA QADI NE, USA Reviewed on January 17th, 2002
Being an avid Priest fan, I recently listened to 98 Live Meltdown one year ago and loved it so I decided to purchase it. The album is superbly recorded and mixed so it sounds just as good -if not better- as being at a Priest concert. Ripper Owens, Halford's replacement, is better than Halford in certain aspects, worse in others. He's easier to understand and maybe even louder than Halford, but his screaming and growling sounds a lot more commercialized and cheesier than Halford. Because of this, Ripper's vocals are more suited to Heavy Metal a la Vince McMahon WWF show intro, rather than music meant to be taken seriously. Overall, he's an average replacement.
Betwixt the two CDs there are 24 tracks which make this an excellent value. "The Sentinel" is probably my favorite track on this CD. The song is very fast, has a very catchy melody, and simply rocks. The lead guitar solo in the middle of the song is great. Other high-tempo great hits are "Nightcrawler" and the popular "You've Got Another Thing Coming."
One of the few complaints that I have about this album is that it seems Judas Priest didn't put forth much effort into playing these live songs with the gusto and effort that they did in the original songs from the studio albums. Certain songs, (esp., "Painkiller" and "Living After Midnight") don't sound nearly as good as their studio counterparts. The instrumentation (esp., guitars) isn't nearly as hard or clear and the sound isn't as full.
Judas Priest is probably my favorite hard rock/heavy metal band of all time and this is one of their best releases ever; it's certainly their best LIVE album.
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