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CD Review: Halford – Metal God Essentials Vol. 1

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halford metalgodessentialsvol1The contents are exactly as advertised: Metal God Essentials Vol. 1.  This release collects the highlights of Rob Halford's solo career to date in a sumptuously remastered package.  For the uninitiated, it's the perfect introduction to Halford outside Judas Priest; for the faithful, it should suffice quite nicely until Nostradamus.

When Halford and Priest split, they got the short end of the deal.  Halford went on to do two full-lengths and an EP with Fight, an industrial collaboration with Trent Reznor in Two, and two studio albums and a live record with Halford.  All this material, even the much-maligned Two, holds up with time.  However, it's not all even.  Halford's Resurrection is by far his strongest solo effort, while Fight's A Small Deadly Space is grungy and lifeless.  This collection skips the filler and cherrypicks the best of Fight and Halford.

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Three conclusions emerge – (1) some of this stuff is pretty darn Priest-like ("Resurrection," "Made in Hell"); (2) Halford has had some smoking guitarists in Patrick Lachman, "Metal Mike" Chlasciak, and Roy Z; (3) the dude is holding up incredibly well.  He's 55, and his pipes are as strong as ever on new songs "Forgotten Generation" and "Drop Out."  If his name recalls the same old '80s hits, think again: the haunting "Silent Screams" and "Trail of Tears" are two of the best metal ballads in recent years.

The accompanying DVD isn't much to look at – it throws together videos and studio and live footage seemingly randomly, with no narrative.  However, the shooting and editing of individual segments is quite professional.  Halford is amazing throughout.  His voice really is that good, even when he's just messing around in the studio.  It's one of the best sounds this world has heard – here's looking at Metal God Essentials Vol. 2.


Rob Halford on MySpace
Frontiers Records

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