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Halford: Made of Metal
Halford Made of Metal album new music review

Halford Made of Metal

Heavy Metal
3.0/5.0

How many years has it been since ole Robbie raised lovely hell? The magnificent Crucible came out in 2004. After that the Judas Priest reunion happened followed by a couple of albums, one nostalgic, the other a bloated concept record. So nearly eight years later here comes Rob and Roy Z screaming for vengeance with Made of Metal. The cover art is a bit suspicious since a 3D image of a race car hardly inspires enthusiasm. You'd expect Rob would have just settled for another leather clad mug shot but no, NASCAR fever has hijacked the album's visual representation.

Overlooking the questionable art, the music inside the album is surprisingly remarkable. The past ten years of metal has proven especially fertile for the genre as a whole and many 'old' bands from the 80s have soldiered through with flying colors. Rob Halford is no exception, though witnesses at live events have reported his getting rather geriatric on the performance front. Still, his mind stays sharp, imagination more so. Despite such blessings in his golden years, it hurts the sensibilities of devoted listeners that Rob can't seem to deliver the usual goods on some tracks here besides the choicest cuts. Sure, most of the album is tighter than an S&M outfit, but a few odious clunkers just reek of cheese. Was Rob fighting a tight deadline?

Opening salvo Undisputed begins on the right note. It's fast, aggressive, and hook-driven. But it soon goes astray with lyrics examining the mindset of a pugilistic champ. It's an underwhelming surprise to hear Rob's voice take a backseat here and on several other songs, as his usual high pitched screech only erupts at the very end with the brutalizing The Mower, which is the album's most slayful offering. The countrified ballad Till the Day I Die is another highlight with its solemn brooding pace and heartfelt lyrics. The same praise should be poured all over Twenty Five Years, another slow tempo offering where Rob seems to be exorcising so much inner turmoil.

Forgiving its weaknesses, Made of Metal has its highlights. Despite his age, Rob Halford manages an uneven pace with scorchers like Fire and Ice followed by a humdrum title track, only for the momentum to regain its balance for the next few songs until the dirge that's Matador. That's the problem with this album; it's too hit and miss for a consistent listen.




In Short

Forgiving its weaknesses, Made of Metal has its highlights. Despite his age, Rob Halford manages an uneven pace with scorchers like Fire and Ice followed by a humdrum title track, only for the momentum to regain its balance for the next few songs until the dirge that's Matador. That's the problem with this album; it's too hit and miss for a consistent listen.

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