Rob Halford

Resurrection (Metal-Is Records)

Resurrection finds the former voice of Judas Priest wavering between the classic metal stylings for which he's revered in many quarters and more-contemporary touches of the type that have made multimillionaires of malcontents who were still sucking strained bananas when Rob and the lads were living after midnight. As might be expected, results of this cross-pollination are decidedly mixed. On the whole Resurrection is most rousing when Halford transcends metal clichés (as far as he's able) and reveals something of the spirit that keeps him fighting the good fight long after anybody cares.

Cases in point include "Made in Hell," wherein Halford employs his familiar gutsy grind to deliver a narrative that's refreshingly autobiographical, if laughably hyperbolic (sample stanza: "I took the scream around the world/From London to L.A./Unleashed in downtown Tokyo/Blew Godzilla away"). Likewise the title track offers muscular riffage and double-bass percussion under a piercing vocal that proves the now closet-free Halford can still strip paint off walls faster than Bob Vila when he wants to. Equally successful is "Drive," a leering love song as notable for its uncharacteristically positive message as for the way in which it will no doubt repulse any mullet head who hasn't yet cozied up to metal's homoerotic underpinnings. The fun peters out, however, when Halford takes himself too seriously, which is pretty often. "Saviour," for example, lacks the almost-knowing campiness of prototypical Priest pummelers, while the seven-minute-plus "Silent Screams" bares more of the singer's soul than anyone but his therapist needs to see. Though the latter tune begins promisingly with acoustic guitars and keyboards, it quickly descends into a host of sins including contrived rhythmic constructions, hackneyed split-octave vocals, and lyrics that read like the diary of your average middle-school miscreant. For such reasons Resurrection is unlikely to breathe new life into Halford's career.

 
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