Sunday, July 1, 2007

HALFORD: (2002) Crucible

Rob Halford's 2000 comeback album, Resurrection, won over even the most jaded metalhead, and Crucible is likely to do the same. Paying no attention to current trends and sell-out bandwagons, the former Judas Priest frontman and his mighty crew stay true to traditional heavy metal, yet they never come across as dated. Guitar duo Patrick Lachman and Mike Chlasciak swap monstrous riffs and fluid solos that are as solid as a brick wall, while Halford himself is in top form, able to reach high notes with an ease that could put youngster metal shriekers to shame. Even when he belts out the disc's only ballad, the bonus track "She" (found on initial pressings, along with the cut "Fugitive"), it's with unsurpassed conviction. The album is a nonstop metallic assault complete with anthems ("One Will"), speed metal ("Betrayal"), and accessible midtempo rockers ("Sun"), as well as dark and moody moments, such as "Crystal" (which deals with the dangers of crystal-meth addiction). Looks like this metal god is going to be with us for a long time. --Gail Flug

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