Halford

Halford

First there was Judas Priest, then Fight, then the abysmal Two project, then Halford, and back to Priest.

Resurrection
Halford - Resurrection
(Metal-Is) 2000

1.   "Resurrection" (3:58)
2.   "Made in Hell" (4:12)
3.   "Locked and Loaded" (3:18)
4.   "Night Fall" (3:41)
5.   "Silent Screams" (7:06)
6.   "One You Love to Hate" (3:11)
7.   "Cyber World" (3:08)
8.   "Slow Down" (4:51)
9.   "Twist" (4:08)
10. "Temptation" (3:32)
11. "Drive" (4:30)
12. "Saviour" (2:57)


Rob Halford interviewing Bruce Dickinson for VH1.

Halford returns to what he does best -- HEAVY METAL!!! After the somewhat abismal Two and all the hype about Rob's sexual orientation, I really lost interest in him. After hearing an advance cassette of this album, I was blown out of my chair, much the same way I was when I heard an advance cassette of Judas Priest's "Bullet Train." Rob leaving the mighty Priest may have dissappointed a lot of people, but it has given us some killer metal releases by both bands. "Resurrection" is sandwiched somewhere between "Painkiller"-era Priest and the two Fight albums. "Night Fall" is especially Priest-like, sounding like an attempt to get some radio airplay. Despite this, it's actually a really good song and might actually succeed as I have heard it sveral times on the local rock station recently. Another pleasant surprise is that Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) makes an appearance sharing lead vocals on "One You Love To Hate." This and the title track are two incredible speed metal songs. The album was produced by Roy Z who has also produced two of Bruce Dickinson's best solo albums. Overall, this is a great album and a return to form for ol' Rob-a "resurrection" if you will.

Live Insurrection Halford - Live Insurrection (Metal-Is) 2001

DISC ONE
1. "Resurrection" (4:03)
2. "Made In Hell" (4:24)
3. "Into The Pit" (4:15)
4. "Nailed To The Gun" (3:35)
5. "Light Comes Out Of Black" (5:01)
6. "Stained Class" (5:33)
7. "Jawbreaker" (3:26)
8. "Running Wild" (3:02)
9. "Slow Down" (4:40)
10. "The One You Love To Hate" (3:12)
11. "Life In Black" (4:26)
12. "Hell's Last Survivor" (3:25)
13. "Sad Wings" (3:33)
14. "Saviour" (2:58)
15. "Silent Screams" (7:32)

DISC TWO
1. "Untitled" (:14)
2. "Cyberworld" (3:02)
3. "The Hellion" [instrumental] (:48)
4. "Electric Eye" (3:29)
5. "Riding On The Wind" (3:11)
6. "Genocide" (7:36)
7. "Beyond The Realms Of Death" 6:52)
8. "Metal Gods" (4:34)
9. "Breaking The Law" (3:50)
10. "Tyrant" (4:41)
11. "Screaming In The Dark" [Studio Track] (3:42)
12. "Heart Of A Lion" [Studio Track] (3:51)
13. "Prisoner Of Your Eyes" [Studio Track] (4:34)

Live Insurrection is a compilation of live tracks from the 2000-2001 Halford tour. According to the liner notes some of the songs are "bonus" tracks that were recorded during sound checks or on off dats. Two of the tracks "Light Comes Out of Black" and "Life in Black" apparently were not played in front of a crowd but fit in well due to some studio tricks. "The One You Love To Hate" is a recording of two soundchecks recorded in London with Bruce doing one soundcheck and Rob doing the other. The last three studio tracks are made up of a new Halford track ("Screaming in the Dark") and two Judas Priest demo tracks ("Heart of A Lion" and "Prisoner of your Eyes"). "Heart of a Lion" was originally recorded by Racer X in the mid-80's, though it was written by Halford/Downing/Tipton. I sort of wish that Rob would have played more Fight material. While I, of course, love the Priest material, it somehow just does not sound the same without the mighty Priest behind the voice. The Fight and Halford material, however sound phenomenal. I have to admit though, that it was cool to hear some obscure classics like "Stained Class" and "Running Wild." Comparing this offering to the last Priest live offering, I'd have to give the prize to Priest, but Halford is only a hair behind. Would love to see these guys resolve whatever differences they have and reform, not unlike Maiden. I mean, come on Rob, you and Priest are an entity. (And in 2004, it happened! Priest and Halford reunited!)

Halford - Crucible (Metal-Is) 2002

1. "Park Manor" [instrumental] (1:11)
2. "Crucible" (4:26)
3. "One Will" (3:32)
4. "Betrayal" (3:04)
5. "Handing Out Bullets" (3:16)
6. "Hearts of Darkness" (3:48)
7. "Crystal" (4:37)
8. "Heretic" (3:49)
9. "Golgotha" (4:20)
10. "Wrath of God" (3:11)
11. "Weaving Sorrow" (3:28)
12. "Sun" (3:48)
13. "Trail of Tears" (5:56)
14. "She" (4:01)
15. "Fugitive " (4:01)

The Metal Gods
Promotional poster for the Crucible tour that was cancelled in favor of the Judas Priest reunion.

Well, metalheads rejoice for the voice of heavy metal, Rob Halford, has returned with yet another metal opus to bang thy head to. 'Crucible' is the studio follow-up to the incredible "Resurrection". Rob's band, for the most part, looks like a bunch of nu-metal geeks, however it is not the look of the band that counts, but rather the sound. This disc is just as heavy as it's predecessor, if not a bit heavier. Once again, the talented Roy Z (Bruce Dickinson/Rob Rock/Tribe of Gypsies) is brought in to record and write with Rob. His signature sound is all over this disc. Although I did not see any credits on the insert, I would be willing to bet that Roy played guitar on much of this album as well. The guitar solos sound like his work. Rob's vocals are as sharp and piercing as ever, although he does do a lot more of the lower register "tough guy" style singing on this disc than I remember on "Resurrection". Not to fear though, there are plenty of those high falsetto wails to appease even the most skeptical metal fan. "Betrayer" has Halford screaming like he did on "Painkiller". One thing that sets this disc apart from the last is that it seems a tad less commercially accessible. There are no real standout 'hit' tracks that I heard on the first couple listens, whereas "Resurrection" had 'Night Fall' and the Halford/Dickinson collaboration of "One You Love to Hate." Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Take Judas Priest's "Defender's of the Faith" for example. This album lacked any commercial hits as well but was one of the band's finest metal albums. I think in time 'Crucible' has this potential as well. Tracks like 'One Will" and the title track are destined to be classics.

House of Blues Halford - Live: Disney House of Blues Concert (DEP/CDR bootleg)
Recorded live at the House of Blues, FL, 2002

1. "Painkiller" (6:11)
2. "Jawbreaker" (3:30)
3. "Resurrection" (3:47)
4. "Made in Hell" (4:12)
5. "One Will" (3:34)
6. "Hearts of Darkness" (4:06)
7. "Into the Pit" (3:58)
8. "Golgotha" (4:36)
9. "Cyberworld" (3:13)
10. "Hellion/Electric Eye" (4:08)
11. "Riding on the Wind" (3:46)

Stellar bootleg! I am not exactly sure what the deal is with this one, whether it is just a sound board recording or was recorded for radio, but either way the sound quality here is near perfect, album quality. Excellent track listing as well, although some of these tracks were released on the officially released "Live Insurrection" album. However, I doubt most of these Halford tracks will ever be heard again now that Priest has reunited.

Winter Songs Halford - Winter Songs (Metal God) 2009

1. Get Into the Spirit (5:26)
2. We Three Kings (4:06)
3. Oh Come O Come Emanuel (4:38)
4. Winter Song (5:38)
5. What Child Is This (4:27)
6. Christmas For Everyone (3:06)
7. I Don't Care If It's Christmas Night (3:14)
8. Light of the World (4:13)
9. Oh Holy Night (4:09)
10. Come All Ye Faithful (2:27)

As the title suggests, Halford's "Winter Songs" is a collection of Christmas and holiday themed music. The album is a mixture of traditional Christmas songs and Halford originals. Album opener "Get Into the Spirit" is a rip-roaring metal number that easily could have fit onto the debut Halford CD or even Fight's "War of Words". With the next song, Halford offers up a hard rock arrangement of a traditional Christmas classic "We Three Kings". Halford proves that he still has a great voice in the traditional Christian worship songs, "Oh Come O Come Emanuel". It almost felt odd hearing Halford sing such as song, being that he is the Metal God from Judas Priest. However, he does pull off a convincing performance. It’s actually one of my favorite tracks on the album and one that I would even describe as majestic. Track four was a bit of a shock. This melodic, ballad has a pop feel to it and shows a more emotional, sensitive side to Halford. As well, the traditional Christmas ballad "Oh Holy Night" is exceptionally sung, once again showing a more serene side to Halford tough metal image. Perhaps hardcore fans will not like this sort of thing coming from a man dubbed "the Metal God", but I found it to be quite good. There are a few tracks I didn’t care for as much. "Christmas for Everyone", for instance, sounds a bit like "Living After Midnight" with a snowsuit on, but even this songs worked ok in the fun spirit of the Christmas season.

"Winter Songs" is not really a heavy metal album with the expection of "Get Into the Spirit" and to a lesser degree, "We Three Kings". Rather, it is a fun holiday album with a distinct Christian/Christmas overtone. I was a bit surprised at the number of openly Christian based songs that Rob chose. He easily could have chosen some of the more secular holiday numbers such as Run Run Rudolph, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, etc.  He didn’t even try to come off as the bad-ass metal singer by remaking traditional songs and renaming them to something like "Have a Heavy Metal Christmas" or "Jingle Hell Rock". Rather, Halford kept it simple, reminding listeners what Christmas is all about; the birth of the Messiah.

Overall, I think Halford's song selection and most of his original numbers are quite impressive. No, this won’t be an album that will be spun year round. However, once December rolls around each year, I am sure this will be one of those albums that will help rekindle that holiday spirit.

Made of Metal Halford - IV: Made of Metal (Metal God) 2010

1.   Undisputed (5:17)
2.   Fire and Ice (2:52)
3.   Made of Metal (3:55)
4.   Speed of Sound (4:32)
5.   Like There's No Tomorrow (4:20)
6.   Till the Day I Die (3:50)
7.   We Own the Night (3:54)
8.   Heartless (3:38)
9.   Hell Razor (3:44)
10. Thunder and Lightning (5:28)
11. Twenty-Five Years (7:01)
12. Matador (5:39)
13. I Know We Stand a Chance (3:57)
14. The Mower (4:40)

Halford is a man that needs little introduction in the world of heavy metal. "Made of Metal" is the fourth studio solo album by  metal legend Rob Halford. As with the past albums, this recording was once again produced by Roy Z, who also handles guitar duties and co-writes many songs with Halford. With this album Rob returns to more of a galloping, classic heavy metal sound. Songs like "Undisputed" and "Speed of Sound" would not have felt out of place on "Resurrection", while the double bass assault of "Fire & Ice" and especially the heavy, mid-paced chug of the title track remind me of the first Fight album. The first single to be released from "Made of Metal" was "The Mower" which is probably the heaviest song on the album with a slightly more modern feel, not unlike some of the material on "Crucible". This song has Rob howling in his signature "Painkiller" style. "Hell Razor" even recalls the classic "Stained Class"-era sound.

The lyrical direction of this album is a bit lighter-fare then we are use to hearing from Rob. There are a lot of sports themes here with songs about NASCAR, boxing and bullfighting. (What? No hockey? GO FLYERS! GO KINGS!) "Twenty-Five Years" is a melodic, acoustic based song that celebrates a quarter century of sobriety for Rob.

Overall, "Made of Metal" is  closer to "Resurrection" than "Crucible" but is overall even more melodic than "Resurrection". "Made of Metal" is everything a heavy metal record should be. Fist-pumping, head-banging heavy metal; pounding drums, screaming guitars, rip-roaring leads, outstanding vocals and catchy songs.  If I had any complaint whatsoever about this album it would be the mastering, which could have given the overall album a beefier sound/tone. Otherwise, "Made of Metal" is a fine slab of straight-forward heavy metal.

Anaheim Halford - Live in Anaheim (Metal God Records) 2010

DISC ONE
1. Painkiller (6:10)
2. Rapid Fire (4:05)
3. Heretic (5:08)
4. Resurrection (3:17)
5. Made in Hell (4:23)
6. Golgotha (4:33)
7. Into the Pit (3:58)
8. Light Comes Out of Black (6:19)
9. White Heat Red Hot (4:25)
10. Never Satisfied (5:43)
11. Breaking the Law (2:18)
12. Hearts of Darkness (3:49)
13. Handing Out Bullets (3:21)

DISC TWO
1. Diamonds and Rust (3:36)
2. Hellion (:43)
3. Electric Eye (3:31)
4. Riding on the Wind (4:19)
5. Victim of Changes (10:09)
6. You've Got Another Thing Comin' (8:21)
BONUS TRACKS  (Live in Japan)
7. Heretic (3:53)
8. Sun (3:33)
9. Golgotha (4:31)
10. One Will (3:37)

Vicious double-disc live offering from Halford when the band was at their peak, live in 2003. This was the tour to support the "Crucible" album, so of course many of those songs are included here. Halford (the band) was astonishingly tight, heavy and propelled by the drumming of the ferociously talented Bobby Jarzombek (Riot). The band also featured "Metal" Mike Chlasciak on lead guitar. The set includes eleven Judas Priest songs along with eight by either Halford or Fight, plus a version of "Light Comes out of Black," the song Halford recorded with Pantera as his backing band for the soundtrack to the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As much as I love Priest, I would have actually preferred a few less Priest tracks and a few more Fight tracks. I mean, how many live recordings of "Breaking the Law" and "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" do we need? However, this is but a minor point, especially when you get such rarely played songs as "White Heat Red Hot" and "Never Satisfied". There is also a ten-minute long version of "Victim of Changes"."You've Got Another Thing Comin'" is also stretched out to about eight minutes with sing-alongs and crowd interaction. Halford's in-between song banter is less canned than the stuff he did in the big stadiums with Priest. I suppose a smaller crowd makes for a more intimate banter. 

"Live in Anaheim" has a stellar recording qualities, a biting performance and a great track listing all combine for a great listen from front to back. Four bonus tracks, recorded at a later gig in Japan,  are included as well. These tracks seem a little more polished but are a nice inclusion.

Live at Saitama Halford - Live At Saitama Super Arena (DVD) (2011)

1.   Resurrection (3:43)
2.   Made in Hell (4:20)
3.   Locked and Loaded  (3:25)
4.   Drop Out (3:56)
5.   Made of Metal (4:05)
6.   Undisputed (5:20)
7.   Nailed to the Gun (3:41)
8.   Golgatha (4:27)
9.   Fire and Ice (3:03)
10. The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown) (3:19)
11. Diamonds and Rust (3:33)
12. Jawbreaker (3:41)
13. Cyber World (3:13)
14. Like There's No Tomorrow (4:33)
15. Thunder and Lightning (6:37)

Another Halford live album? This is the third official live Halford CD since "Live Insurrection" was released in 2001. While, I can understand those who feel that the abundance of live albums is overkill, I frankly don't care. I am a fan and love live music. There's something about the crowd noise, the aggression and the energy. Perhaps some of that is faked in the studio. Again, who cares? Kiss "Alive" is one of the greatest live albums ever and it's widely know to be mostly re-recorded in the studio.The purpose is to capture something on tape that cannot be captured solely in a studio.  If it works it works!  In the case of "Live At Saitama Super Arena", it works!

"Live At Saitama Super Arena" is actually the CD soundtrack for the Blue Ray/DVD film of the same name. Since I am not one to spend enormous amounts of time watching live videos and much prefer listening to music, I am reviewing this without having seen the film. The set is a mixture of mostly solo Halford, though there are a few Fight and Priest songs thrown in for good measure. The recording, which was shot for DVD in Japan, was from the "Halford IV: Made of Metal" tour, so there are several cuts from that album. Those songs come off better live than they did on that album. The band is tight and Halford delivers a nearly flawless performance. What else can a fan ask for?  This is Rob Halford at his best: powerful and over-the-top! This is heavy metal as it was meant to be played: live and loud!

Halford
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