Halford – IV: Made Of Metal (2010)

Halford – IV: Made Of Metal (2010, Metal God Records)

  1. Undisputed
  2. Fire And Ice
  3. Made Of Metal
  4. Speed Of Sound
  5. Like There’s No Tomorrow
  6. Till The Day I Die
  7. We Own The Night
  8. Heartless
  9. Hell Razor
  10. Thunder And Lightning
  11. Twenty Five Years
  12. Matador
  13. I Know We Stand A Chance
  14. The Mower

Band Lineup:
Rob Halford – Vocals
Roy Z. – Guitars
Metal Mike Chlasciak – Guitars
Mike Davis – Bass
Bobby Jarzombek – Drums

Producer: Roy Z.

Country: USA

Total Time = 1:02:49

Halford
Halford MySpace page

It’s been a few years since Rob Halford released a new album under the Halford band moniker, 2002 to be exact with CRUCIBLE, but now there is a brand new studio album of Metal songs titled MADE OF METAL. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 8 years between albums because the Metal God has been very busy with his committments recording and touring with  Judas Priest and his Metal God empire that includes his own record label, solo catalog remasters, special album releases like the Halford – III: Winter Songs (2009) release and a clothing line. Add touring with the Halford band on this past summer’s Ozzfest and now supporting Ozzy Osbourne internationally, it’s safe to say that Rob Halford has a lot on his plate while Judas Priest takes a well deserved break. Judas Priest is my second favorite band so anything the band members do on the side is always of interest so I knew about the new Halford album from the beginning. Rob’s previous solo releases under the Halford name (2000’s RESURRECTION and 2002’s CRUCIBLE) were high quality Heavy Metal records so my expectations were definitely high when Rob announced he was in the studio creating a new album.

I got my first taste of MADE OF METAL when the digital single ‘The Mower’ was released through Halford.com and then Halford performed ‘Made Of Metal’ when I saw the band live on Ozzfest 2010. I was impressed by both songs and I knew that the new album was going to be really good because ‘The Mower’ sounded like something straight from the first two Halford albums but I also detected that there was a more melodic approach to at least the title track. After listening to the album daily since it’s late September release, it’s easy to hear that Rob’s reunion with Judas Priest has greatly influenced his current solo work because most of the album has a more commercial sound then the previous Halford releases. Obviously Rob’s voice is a large part of the Priest sound so similarities between the two bands are obvious but I think that the 2009 tour celebrating the 30th Anniversary of BRITISH STEEL (1980) may have influenced the writing to have more of a late ’70s/early ’80s Judas Priest vibe. Songs like ‘Undisputed’, ‘Speed Of Sound’, ‘Like There’s No Tomorrow’, ‘Heartless’ and ‘Hell Razor’ all sound like they came straight off Priest records of different eras. That may be a good thing for many fans because Priest’s last album, NOSTRADAMUS (2008), was heavily debated among fans. ‘Undisputed’ has some really bad clichéd lyrics but it’s still a good song, ‘Speed Of Sound’ has a fast tempo like something off SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE (1982) but the chorus comes off like something from TURBO (1986) and ‘Like There’s No Tomorrow’ has a very melodic sound underneath the dual guitars, a Priest trademark throughout the ’80s. Take a listen to ‘Heartless’ and ‘Hell Razor’ (both are back to back in the running order), ‘Heartless’ could easily fit on an album like BRITISH STEEL while ‘Hell Razor’ has a more ’70s Metal sound found on SIN AFTER SIN (1977) or STAINED CLASS (1978). Backing up a little, ‘Fire And Ice’ sounds like current day Power Metal similar to Hammerfall and Primal Fear and the title track sounds like a song that could easily fit on the NOSTRADAMUS album. The title of the song, and album when looking at the cover, is a little deceiving…..Rob Halford is the Metal God and ‘Made Of Metal’ sounds like it would fall right into place as a Metal anthem and Rob declaring his dedication once again but it’s actually a song inspired by NASCAR. Yes, NASCAR! Look at the cover and you see the “supersonic silver flying machine” and the lyrics to the song are blatantly about racing, even name-checking NASCAR. Is Rob pulling a Gene Simmons here by looking for an affiliation like Gene did years ago with Indy Racing?

I don’t like the Blues/Country/Western sound of ‘Till The Day I Die’, it reminds me of Bon Jovi’s ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ but not anywhere as good and ‘We Own The Night’ has it’s moments but it is so commercial that it becomes forgettable. ‘Thunder And Lightning’ has more of a Hard Rock sound to it and the underlying riff reminds me again of Bon Jovi, this time with ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’. There is a true ballad on MADE OF METAL called ‘Twenty-Five Years’ and it’s very surprising because it’s not really something you expect from Halford. It’s a quiet song for the most part with Rob softly singing until the chorus kicks in and he adds more power to his vocal along with the guitars. Looking at the lyrics, the first thing that comes to mind is the song is about Rob’s battle with drugs and alcohol and staying sober…..not sure if that is what the song is actually about but good music can always be interpreted different ways. ‘Twenty-Five years’ breaks the album up a bit and gives a different fresh sound to all the Metal. Expanding more sounds, ‘Matador’ has a Latin flavor to the overall Metal sound and ‘I Know We Stand A Chance’ sounds like something that a female-fronted band like Lacuna Coil, Epica or After Forever would do. Maybe it’s the mid-tempo pace or the love torn lyrics but this doesn’t sound like Metal God territory. Rounding the record out is the previously mentioned single ‘The Mower’, a song that is very heavy and reminiscent of the vocal work Rob did with the higher screams on RESURRECTION, CRUCIBLE and even Judas Priest’s ANGEL OF RETRIBUTION (2005). It’s a heavy song and a good way to end the album but really listen to Rob’s vocal style and tell me you can’t hear some Udo Dirkschneider (U.D.O. & ex-Accept) in there!

Bottom Line:
Like I mentioned before, I was definitely looking forward to this album and I have given it a daily listen since it was released. The problem for MADE OF METAL is that it’s very hard to top Rob Halford’s first two solo albums RESURRECTION and CRUCIBLE…..those are two classic Metal albums from the early part of the decade. It was easy to beat Halford’s third album, WINTER SONGS, because I just didn’t get into the whole “winter/Xmas” style. The bottom line here is that if you like Judas Priest, then you will like MADE OF METAL. All the songs on this album are very accessible and melodic and it’s obvious that the last few years focusing on Judas Priest has made the Metal God’s sound more commercial and full of hooks. Overall, I like this album a lot, I find myself easily getting into the music and the songs stick in my head making it relatively easy to sing along. This may not be the heaviest Halford album, this may not be the best Halford album either, but I would rank it up there as a solid release that I believe gets better as you play it.

Favorite Songs:
‘Fire And Ice’, ‘Made Of Metal’, ‘Heartless’, Hell Razor’, ‘Twenty-Five Years’, ‘The Mower’