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Although I rated this album with a 95%, I must say it dissapointed me when I heard it some years ago. Why? My expectatives were too high. Some years later I can see things with more clarity: it is not Stained Class, but it's certainly the best thing Halford can put out these days. It is also a great relief to know that I can live my life safe without taking a high risk of listening to Two again.
The cover sleeve is great. It is cheesy, but what did you expect? This is a Halford come back!
The album starts with Resurrection, one of the best songs of the album. It is a mid tempo heavy metal piece, but somehow it trascends traditional standars adding certain thrash-like riffs that are, as well, updated from what classic thrash may sound like. It has the best vocal performance of the album -from listening to the rest of the songs, you might think that Halford lost the abbilities that made him big, but this song proves you wrong- and the chords played at the chorus are great. Nice solo, but those little high notes played at the beginning of the song when the drums enter -and after the solo at the equivalent moment- are rather annoying. I love the lyrics, they have an obvious personal value for Halford and, somehow, they constitute an "apology" to the metal community ("I tried to look to far ahead, And saw the road go to my past instead").
Made In Hell is the second track. Riffs are more traditional than Resurrection's and it is mid-tempo as well. Is a great track, very energetic, mainly because of the drumming -check the chorus-. The two-guitar harmonies at the end of the solos is very cool and the Judas Priest's Steeler-like part at the end of the second chorus, although "plagiarized", adds a nice touch to the song. Now, on this song, vocals make you remember that Rob is not a youngster anymore, he sounds a little "old and tired". Lyrics are cheesy, but they must be good live -as most cheesy lyrics-.
Locked and Loaded goes next. This is the most modern song of the album, although the riffs are quite classical: the way they are put in the song and the distortion give them a weird touch. This is Rob's voice lower point of the album.
Nightfall! One of my favorite tracks of the album. The intro is amazing and, again, the mid tempo traditional metal element is all around, but certainly it isn't outdated. Voice improves here, notably on the chorus. The rythm section, as in the rest of the album, is outstanding. I don't like the solos but, afortunately, the rythm guitar that goes with them makes up for them. Lyrics seem to be quite deep in a twisted/love idea.
Silent Scream. I've grown to like this track, but when I heard it in 2000 it used to bore me. I still think the mix of ballad-heavy-ballad-heavy with almost any addition to each change is quite boring, but it is a high quality track -my favorite part is the power chords played right before the second pre-chorus-. The chorus still bores me, and the heavy part in the middle I find it to be rather mediocre -and it's vocals are horrible-.
The One You Love To Hate. I know now why this album dissapointed me: how the hell do you manage to put the best metal singers together and have such a mediocre song? It sounds like a "Chemical Wedding meets Fight" nightmare. I won't torture myself talking about it.
Cyberworld. Best track on the album, often overviewed. The fast intro will wake you from the TOYLTH nightmare and drive you to the cyberworld! The verse riff is great and the chords played to enter the chorus -and the chorus itself- are meant to be together with the finest metal hours of Halford and the genre itself. Vocals could have been better -if you can do it on Resurrection, why don't you try it here?-, but they do it for me. The ending part is amazing as well, ranking high the two-guitar riff; the vocals improve here.
Slow Down. Yes, this track slows down the record. But it's cool and, although a powerful song, it's quite nostalgic in general. Drumming is too modern for my tastes. The vocals before the last chorus "Will I rise..." are great, it reminds me of my favorite Halford performance (The Rage).
Twist is a cover from the guy that Judas used to cover so much -I don't know who the hell he is or anything about his career... I know nothing-, the one responsible for (Take these) Chains and Some Heads Are Gonna Roll... Now, why would he write such a weak track? It is standable, but still it is boring.
Temptation improves the last song, but it is nothing compared to previous tracks as Cyberworld or Nightfall. This is, perhaps, the most modern song on the album -hey, it is a comeback album, but he can't deny his post-Judas career with such ease-, but it is enyojable. Quite emotional as well. The end seems endless, cause the chorus gets played over and over and it is rather simplistic.
Drive is a fun song, but it is not remarkable at all. The modern riffs are here again -it is like the album is parted on a traditional vein till Cyberworld and the modern tracks start later, with the respective expeptions of The One You Love To Hate and Saviour-. The drumming is rather uninnovative, but it is what provides the entertainment in the song. The vocals are nothing special, and the same about boring endings can be said. In the middle of the song, before the guitar play of vocal lines, there's this crunchy riff I found to be quite amusing, it is a little out of place.
Saviour is, together with Cyberworld, Nightfall and Resurrection, what make this album great. The same said about Resurrection can be said here: great trad. metal riffs with some update, but with disgusting high notes at the entrance of drums and bass and a great chorus. The vocals are not anything special, they are rather weak (to Halfors standards), but in the chorus they make up the song. Lyrics are very Judaslike -Painkiller era- and the song, as a whole, is really outstanding.
So that's it, a great comeback, if not the best comeback ever done in metal. Musically it is a great album, and it certainly stirred many emotions among Judas Priest and traditional metal fans.