Sound: Halford, of all people, deserves an introduction a mile long. However, in a world of metal, it isn't needed. And if it's needed for you, don't bother listening. With his fame of name rising with Judas Priest, Halford has been a leading icon in metal for years. Aside from some mythologist results, a search for the god of metal will most likely result in Rob Halford himself. In recent years Halford has taken on a few side projects, one of which including the self-titled band Halford. Consisting of a vocal phenomenon, a solidified metal drummer and expert musicians in the field of metal strings, Halford has been serving the music industry with songs made of, well, metal.
While not many people even know of it, Halford has released it's fourth studio album. The recent release is on his record label Metal Gods, and Halford IV - Made of Metal is another solid distribution of metal music. Rob Halford worked on this album with Roy Z, an experience songwriter, musician and producer, who has worked with Bruce Dickenson and Judas Priest in the past.
The screaming vocals of Rob Halford, the ripping guitars, the triumphant rhythms and stadium shaking drums are all there. Halford fans, Priest fans, metal fans - rejoice. Halford is back, and from anyone who enjoyed his music with Judas Priest to his latest side project works or just metal in general, this is an album you'll enjoy. With Bobby Jarzombek on the drums, there's no lack of unison with guitar and rhythm. Polish guitarist Mike Chlasciak does an incredible job of creating the metal sound any one would expect to be there, with no lack of blazing solos that would make someone want to pick up a guitar. I'd say bang your head, but it's a pretty safe bet most of his fans are a bit older by now, so a fist pump will be accepted. All the songs are a decent serving of metal, and while some would say it's quite bland, there's those who will love to hear what Halford recently has to offer. If you're one of them, don't hesitate to get the album. // 7
Lyrics: The fact of reviewing the singing skills of Halford is almost laughable. Having his own vocal powers sought after by many, and never quite mimicked perfectly, his vocal skills might just be one of the reasons he is called a god of metal. However, with this particular album, some may have to admit the question of whether Halford is actually losing his energy. One might think that the once piercing vocals of Halford are coming to an end with a lot of the tracks not reaching that extraordinary volume he once had. For much of the album, I personally felt he didn't do justice to himself.
On first listen, some of the lyrics can cause a sudden thought of Halford losing ideas of what to sing about. I wasn't sure if the first track was serious, as it contained a chorus that goes He's the undisputed heavy weight champion of the world. It was however, a catchy song. It also seemed that Halford decided to take a comparative path with songs like Thunder and Lightning and Fire and Ice. Looking at the rest of the titles, it can be easily said that they are all pretty traditional. At the end of it all however, I'd hardly dismiss any of the songs to be short of what any true Halford fan would want to hear.
There were two tracks on the album that really jumped out to me. The first one was the sixth track Til The Day I Die. Relinquishing the traditional metal sound for a while, with this track Halford took a path not heard often for his type of music. The song resembles and old time alternative blues rock vibe, complete with spoken word and slide guitar. It was an incredibly enjoyable song, and I felt like it actually fit perfectly. The other song that made me restore my faith in Halford was the ending track titled The Mower. This song starts with a depressing bit of spoken words, leading to a deafening bass drum guitar combo that couldn't help but make me smile. Kicking straight into the first verse, Halford starts piercing through the air with the voice I had been waiting to hear the whole album. It was an absolute pleasure to be heard. The song, in the best description available to me, is beautifully metal.
The album also contains some very catchy tunes, with some bringing back memories of old Priest albums, and actually some of a traditional Maiden piece. Heartless, Thunder and Lightning, Made of Metal, Twenty-Five Years and Fire and Ice are the songs most probable to be listeners high points of the album. // 6
Overall Impression: Halford IV - Made of Metal is an album that I had been waiting to hear since I found out about it months ago. Being a Judas Priest fan since early childhood, and a fan of all types of metal, Rob Halford has not always just been a personal vocal hero, but a certain love for music he is involved in also retains a certain bond with me. I've always enjoyed his work, not only because of his vocals, but his choice of musicians to play with. Halford is the next best thing to Judas Priest for this type of music.
In relation to older Halford albums, I enjoy this one the most, with Resurrection in a close second. This is a CD I went to the store to buy the day it came out. It's a great add to a metal collection, and will remain being played for years to come. // 7