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It’s a shame that Rob Halford thinks that his only prior glory worth repeating is Priest’s Painkiller material. I’d like to think that’s not his stance, but it’s precisely what he’s done every time he gets a band together. Fight’s War of Words was Painkiller number two and lackluster enough that a third was unnecessary. Yet here I am, reviewing Halford’s solo debut Resurrection, aka Painkiller number three. Those expecting just that will embrace this with open arms; the album is full of songs that sound like they could have been B-sides and off-cuts from that period. Those expecting something new….well you’re out of luck, at least for now.
The band Halford has assembled for his solo project is talented, at least. The drumming is formidable, the guitar solos are good, and everything sounds pretty tight. Even Halford himself sounds as good as he ever has, though he overuses his falsetto a bit in the opening track (the most Painkiller-esque of the album). But it’s not the musicianship that is the problem, it’s the songwriting. Some tracks are classic Priest-style speed metal, while others are down-tempo modern shit.
Obviously it’s the speed metal ones that make this at all worthwhile. “Resurrection” is pretty sweet; carrying on that proud Painkiller tradition unhampered by Halford’s aged voice and the modern sounding, down-tuned guitars. “Made in Hell” keeps up this pace, sounding at times like Comeau-era Annihilator (or rather, Comeau-era Annihilator sounds like this). Both of these tracks make you forget that this isn’t Judas Priest pumping through the speakers. The pace suffers after these tracks, but is resurrected by “Cyberworld,” another killer speed metal tune. Everything else is questionable at best and embarrassing at worst. “Locked and Loaded” and “Night Fall” are the first ones to show signs of weakness; the modern metal influences really start to show their faces when the tempo drops. Of course, never does this album descend to the level of what Judas Priest was doing with Tim Owens at just around this time period, but I digress. “Silent Screams” is kinda epic in a “Dreamer Deceiver” sort of way, but nothing too special. Similarly, “The One You Love to Hate” features guest vocals by Bruce Dickinson, but that’s about all it has going for it. Afterwards, expect lots of stuff that borders on modern rock (“Twist” especially) and mallcore, though I find “Drive” somewhat catchy despite the lowest tuned guitars on the album. “Saviour” tries to bring the tempo up one last time before album’s end, but it’s too little, too late.
So with Resurrection, we get a couple new classics and a good bit of new shit from the once-legendary Rob Halford. This isn’t the worst he has to offer, however, so it can still provide the occasional spin without regret.