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There's plenty of legends that have flown the flag for metal and fronted some of the greatest bands the genre has ever produced, Ozzy, Dicko, Dio. Yet amongst them all there is only one that was bestowed the title The Metal God!!!!!!!!!
Halford had a lot to prove after leaving Priest all those years ago, and its fair to say that Fight wasn’t exactly his greatest solo work, however works under the Halford banner have mostly been stellar. Resurrection was a heavy metal masterpiece and follow up Crucible displayed a heavier darker side, unfortunately the less we talk about the bewildering Winter Songs the better, but everyone’s allowed at least one slip up (enter any of the Big 4 here). So here we are, post the successful Priest revival and Halford is back in full metal mode with the appropriately titled Made of Metal.
Halford IV is a blend of two parts: 1. well played modern metal with childish lyrics and 2. heart felt introspective love songs with just a little too much angst to feel comfortable. Let’s get it out now, Rob as we all know is gay, good on him I’ve got no hassles there love your leather bloke. But when songs either intentionally or not start to give a little too much information eg ‘I find myself in you, And I can't let you go, In me in you’, well……… lets just say I like my metal content strictly butter side up.
Kicking things off is ‘Undisputed’ which lives up to its chorus as the ‘Undisputed Heavy Weight Champion of the World’ in regards to being stupid. Now Rob has written some cheese in his time but this awkward clunker takes the cake, its so cliché and rhymes so predictably bad that even while drunk on News Years Eve you'd be hard pressed not to be embarrassed belting this one out on Sing Star. Then theres also the title track which takes on further thought provoking themes like car racing, but wait theres more there is also Matador a stirring number about………………….a matador.
Boo I hear some of you yell, Halford has always come with a sprinkling of cheddar and yes to this I must concede, but for a man now nearing his 60th decade I would expect a bit more substance than what is dished up here.
Bad adolescent homophobic jokes and diary products aside (sorry Rob, much love), Made of Metal still packs a punch when it wants to, after all anything involving the talented Roy Z cant not. The Mower is good value as is Fire and Ice and even Hellraiser and even some of the slower ballads are well constructed and well sang. However with the more modern edge and daft lyrics this is potentially right up there with the awful albums Priest did with Ripper in the Metal God’s absence. Its neither the old school trad metal of Resurrection or the Heavy brooding style of Crucible, but something a little more groovier and newer in between.
Surprisingly one of the better tracks for me is the one that could be the most derisive in the form of ‘Til the Day I Die’ it’s a nice little country tinged ditty with a good build up and ‘Blaze of Glory’ attitude an interesting interval to the soft and hard surrounding it.
So there we have it, a mixed bag of the serious and insightful and the playful and dumb, not a great combo. Musically it’s a pass with some well written heavy tunes, lyrically it’s a shambles from the smirk worthy to the cringe worthy. Long term fans I am sure will find a lot to love and it is good to still see the old dame of Metal out and about belting out the anthems (his voice is still loud and strong), however there is a use by date on us all and maybe The Metal Gods is fast approaching.