THE MANY FACES OF
Since 1973, Rob Halford has established himself to be a major driving force in the world of metal music. His unique vocal style has been gracing stereos and concert halls alike for the past twenty-five years and "Crucible," his latest release with his latest band, aptly named Halford, is in stores now. It seems there is no stopping metal's loudest and strongest voice. Thank God!
Judas Priest released twelve albums with Halford at the mic and what a catalog of great songs they are. Even after all these years, the music stands up surprisingly well. My generation listened to Judas Priest tunes on 8-track tape, vinyl, cassettes and now CD with a fervor that most bands could only wish for. Priest tunes rocked the 80's when hair was a staple in a band and when glam was more important than music. And then there was Judas Priest, making music that was as natural to them as breathing.
Halford and Priest helped define metal music and that definition is still applies today. Since Halford left Judas Priest in 1993, he has continued to redefine himself and the face of metal with each new band.
In 1993, Halford and his new band Fight released "War Of Words." "War of Words" was a brilliantly gritty and slightly twisted journey down a dark, dangerous road. Rob Halford was definitely venting some strong emotions on this release. "War of Words" is as strong as anything else in the history of rock music as far as I'm concerned and still today continues to be one of my very favorite CD's.
The second Fight album was released was in 1995. Unfortunately, "A Small Deadly Space" was not very well received. It was a good strong release, but it clearly lacked the fire and charm of its predecessor. "Space" would be the last Fight release to date, but who knows? Rob may revise Fight for future projects. Fight is Halford at his very best, intense, strong and dripping with emotions.
I was lucky enough to meet Rob Halford in 1995 at the Foundations Forum and he was terrific. He signed about 300 autographs and took the time to talk to each and every one of us. It was very special and I will never forget it. I also gave Rob a temporary "Batman" tattoo. He said he was going to put it on the side of his head. I don't know whether he followed through, but I like to think he did.
Halford's next release was with Two, a project featuring Halford and Trent Reznor. "Voyeurs" was released in 1998 and, frankly, my first reaction was very negative. The vocals were sickly sweet, very un-Halford like. As a Priest/Fight fan I did not like what was coming out of my stereo.
After a few spins, however, I started to get a feel for the "Voyeurs." Rob Halford was once again changing the face of who and what he was all about. (Interestingly, Bob Marlette, who recently contributed his talents to the brilliant Alice Cooper release "Brutal Planet," also produced "Voyeurs.")
At about the same time "Voyeurs" was released, Judas Priest finally got around to releasing their first recording with Ripper Owens replacing Halford on vocals. On "Jugulator," Ripper Owens emulated Halford beautifully - which is exactly what he had to do. Ripper had once been in a Judas Priest tribute band and, listening to his work on "Jugulator" and, even more so, on Priest's "'98 Live Meltdown," you can see why.
As of this writing, it's been about a month since I began this tribute to one of rock's true masters - Rob Halford. Believe it or not, before I began this article, I had not heard much, if any, of Rob's latest band, Halford. Writing this, however, made me seek out both CDs.
"Resurrection" and "Crucible" are both powerhouse releases of metal inspiration, each in its own way. "Resurrection" is heavy to the bone, music that rocks like the devil with studio production that rivals anything out today - in any genre. Actually, "Resurrection" reminds me of a Judas Priest CD.
"Crucible," on the other hand, is raw and stripped down metal that sounds like it was recorded in a small room in one take with chicks and pizza waiting in the background. In other words, it sounds more like Fight.
Editor R. Scott Bolton asked me recently which CD I like better. I must tell you that after I first heard "Resurrection," I thought, "How can this shit get any better?" Then I heard "Crucible" and I thought, "This is how!" "Resurrection" is a killer studio release of high production value that just fucking rules, while "Crucible" makes me want to mosh, just like the first Fight release did.
Both of the new releases show Rob's incredible vocal range and killer musical style that is simply unmatched in today's metal scene. Released in 2000, "Resurrection," in my opinion, is one of the very best studio releases of that year. It simply kicks metal ass. It is dark, twisted and full of great stories that read like an episode of Dark Shadows or The Night Gallery or perhaps a bio of Rob's life. The release left me breathless and wanting more.
"Crucible" is raw and gritty with enough power and determination to rule to metal world. Fuck FM radio for not playing more of Halford.
Today, Rob Halford continues to do the thing he does best: rock'n'fucking roll. Sure, I'd like to see Halford join up with Priest for maybe just one more tour, but for now, Rob Halford is metal's most vocal vocalist and truly a metal god!
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Copyright © 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:10 -0400.