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This compliation from the 'Metal God' Rob Halford spans his career from his exit from Judas Priest in the early 90's up until newer material which was recorded in 2006. Material is taken from works by Halford's first post-JP band Fight, as well as his solo work under the name Halford. There is no shortage of length presented here, as the CD boasts 15 tracks totalling 65 minutes; a bonus DVD includes additional live material.
Tracks from the Fight album 'War of Words' are present here in their 1992 demo forms. The title track, with its screeching verses is a great choice, and the inclusions of 'Nailed to the Gun' and 'Into the Pit' are obvious choices. The songs sound different than the WoW versions, they possess a rawer quality and a really sound to have been recorded on a simple device (there is only a single vocal track on 'Nailed').
The majority of the rest of the material is taken from Halford's 2000 solo album 'Resurrection' and 2002 album 'Crucible'. While the latter was a mixed bag insofar as quality is concerned, the choices here reflect the best from that album. 'Resurrection' was an excellent album, and included here are the crushing, screaming title track, and straight-up, pounding heavy metal like 'Made in Hell' and 'Locked and Loaded'.
While 'Crucible' tracks like 'Sun' and 'Crystal' are fairly plodding and boring, they are par for the course on 'Crucible'. The only real notable song here from that album is 'Golgotha', which has a hard time starting up much in the same way as the other 'Crucible' tracks, but randomly erupts with a speed metal section about 2 minutes in; Halford's singing on this song is also mention worthy, as it carries the speed metal section in a definite "Painkiller" direction (and who doesn't want that?).
A couple more live and demo tracks here, 'Silent Screams'; an epic and ghastly power ballad, and 'Screaming in the Dark' from 2001's killer 'Live Insurrection' album.
Lastly, there are two newer tracks from the studio, recorded in 2006. As much as I hate to say it, 'Forgotten Generation' is probably the shittiest song on this entire compliation. It steals the riff from 'Nailed to the Gun' but somehow puts a damper on its raw power, resulting in an overproduced, lazy and midpaced rocker. Halford's vocal performance is also lackluster; these parts could have been performed by any given vocalist, and they lack Halford's signature raspy aggression. Fortunately, the other track is somewhat better, but still lacking the power of earlier material; 'Drop Out' has some magic going on during the chorus and solo sections, but c'mon, Halford sounds like Ozzy during the verses!
Overall, this is an excellent purchase for any fan of the Metal God. It makes 'Crucible' unecessary to purchase, seeing as it has the only worthy material from said album. The inclusion of the alternate Fight tracks will also be pleasing as raw, original versions of those visceral songs.
Favourite tracks: Nailed to the Gun, Golgotha, Silent Screams, Resurrection. (the live version of 'Never Satisfied' is also completely awesome and is available on the bonus DVD).
Whether it’s Judas Priest or his various other projects, Rob Halford has established one fine reputation as heavy metal’s most recognizable figure throughout his multiple decades of staying true to his roots. During select phases in the early 2000s, the legendary singer rejuvenated his solo band after a long absence and conjured two unique full-lengths alongside a nifty live album. Needless to say, Halford’s epic band that appropriately revolved around him has had a good run throughout its longevity, so in tribute, we have this huge agglomeration of his greatest moments along with other swell augmentations. Entitled “The Metal God Essentials: Volume 1,” this bag ‘o’ classics presents the metal god’s choice cuts from his self-titled group, but not without tossing in a few new tunes and a cool DVD also; it’s a mini-arsenal of Halford, Halford, and more Halford!
Coming off records that were popped out a couple years before this observation, you’ll probably notice the production has been digitally improved for a heavier, thinker sound reeking of Roy Z.’s crushing guitars and a wonderful balance of instrumental audio. Now to make things even better, we have a DVD featuring many video clips along with a few well-known trophies played live. Adding to such a genuine addition is great audio quality, clarion picture images, spot-on performances, and energy unlike your typical live show. I really didn’t think double penetrating an entire release with fifteen songs and a gigantic DVD would turn out nicely, yet you’ll likely have a gas experiencing Mr. Halford’s musical and visual majesties.
As this is a best-of thingy, “The Metal God Essentials: Volume 1” presents some of the greatest Halford tunes ever recorded, including excellent tracks from both his major releases and a few new treats as well; no complaints with any of those. Besides all that goodness, there seems to be a tiny amount of Fight demos that somehow squeezed in on a compilation meant for Halford’s pair of solo albums without any real meaning; you could argue it’s to honor his musical career, or is it? It seems like a sly pitch to expose Fight’s “K5: The War of Words” anthology that came out dangerously close (and on the same label, ironically) to our CD in question. Sorry friends, but if I want to hear Fight, I’ll buy their damn disc instead of this one.
Other than that slight inconsistency, this massive omnibus fits properly among Rob Halford’s many enjoyable efforts as it firmly strides along with heavy metal flowing through its veins; a characteristic the god himself has demanded whenever summoned. If you do creepy stuff like collecting dirt Halford has walked on, then buy “The Metal God Essentials: Volume 1” and continue acting really damn weird; it also ain’t a bad place to start if you’re curious about his solo band. Overall, this whole collection really reflects the magic and power surging through the energetic Judas Priest vocalist, and as a release, it’s certainly worthy for a few bucks.
Halford - Metal God Essentials Vol.1
Consecrated with Judas Priest, with a respected solo career, Rob Halford shouldn’t need any introductions because if you don’t know him then maybe you’re not as “metal” as you thought you were. Between Priest, Halford and Fight, the man must be recognized as the epitome of the Heavy Metal singer and this “Metal God Essentials Vol.1” might just as well be called “How to be ‘THE’ Heavy-Metal singer in 15 hard to imitate lessons”.
Condensing his career with Fight and Halford, both mechanisms through which Rob Halford skillfully explored harder sounds than the ones of Judas Priest, “Metal God Essentials Vol.1” places the word “Heavy” in “Metal. Yet I’ll understand if you ask yourselves if it’s worth paying money for the same songs you already have in the albums.
Having at his disposal metal slabs such as “Golgotha”, “Made In Hell”, “Resurection”, “Locked And Loaded”, “Betrayal”, amongst others, would give Rob the right to issue a best-of anytime he wanted. The wild drumming and explosive riffing these tittles symbolize, courtesy o names such as Patrick Lachman (ex-Damageplan), “Metal Mike” Chlasciak (John West, Painmuseum, ex-Testament), Roy Z or Bobby Jarzombek (ex-Iced Earth, Sebastian Bach, Rob Rock), are exactly what you need when you want to bet safely on something that will make your had bang and think deep down inside “yeah, this IS metal!”.
Other than the classics, we also have the new and well achieved “Forgotten Generation” and “Drop Out”, the demo version of “Silent Screams” and a remixing of “Redemption”. “Nailed To The Gun” and “Into The Pit” are yet more demos recorded with Fight after Rob left Judas Priest.
The cherry on top of the cake would be the DVD and if nowadays it’s easy to stuff in some videos to justify the face value, Rob goes farther, giving us the video clips for “Betrayal”, “Forgotten Generation” and “In The Morning”, plus the life performance of “Made In Hell”, “Silent Screams” and his interpretation of the Priest classic “Never Satisfied”, the later where the multi-talented Roy Z grabs the chance for some showmanship during the solo. All show the professionalism and stage presence of the competent musicians and performers Rob surrounded himself with, particularly Patrick Lachman, here a lot more admirable than with Damageplan. Deep down, it’s a pleasure to watch.
So, do you need “Metal God Essentials Vol.1”?
Excellent anthems and yet a DVD represent excellent value for your hard earned cents. If you already have the albums, this should still be worth it, but if you don’t, then you should definitely buy this. If you’re looking for an entry door to Halfor’s career, then this is it and it could hardly get any better, even if covered in gold and diamonds.
Originaly for www.rockheavyloud.com