Wednesday, January 27, 2010

As the Palaces Burned: Rob Halford - Resurrection

On September 24, 1991 Nirvana released Nevermind. Nine years later, a reunited Iron Maiden played Madison Square Garden. The time in between was one of metal's bleaker periods, where the genre's mainstream face all but disappeared and it retreated not just underground, but underwater. To celebrate the rare gems of this dark time - and remember our fortune now that metal has ceased to be such a dirty word - we present As the Palaces Burned, a weekly series published every Wednesday that covers notable metal albums released between 1991 and 2000.

Today's entry is Resurrection by Halford

As we previously covered, I was the only person upset when Rob Halford rejoined Judas Priest. I was happy seeing Priest in clubs kicking ass with Ripper, while Halford was an amazing and viable band in its own right. I would love to cover their misunderstood and highly underrated second album Crucible, but its 2002 release date falls outside the window of this series.

So we will look at Resurrection, the comeback record. I really like this album, and when I put it on again to write this I was pleasantly surprised at how well it holds up. It was a safety album. After leaving Judas Priest and releasing a the mediocre industrial goth album 2wo Rob Halford needed to re-establish himself in the hearts and minds of the Metal community. So what would you have done in 1999-2000? I would have done what Rob Halford did. Get together with Roy Z who re-energized Bruce Dickinson's career (this will be covered in great detail in a later entry), put together a heavy as balls band, and write a record that sounds as close to classic Judas Priest as humanly possible.

After years of hearing nothing from Rob Halford this song was leaked by the label.

Wonderful, right? I still get chills when I hear him scream "resurrection" at the very top of his vocal register. The rest of the album is a decent meat and potatoes hard rocking affair. My favorite song is the obviously "Electric Eye" influenced "Cyberworld" which has a wonderful chorus hook. "The One You Love to Hate" is a duet with Bruce Dickinson which truly exemplifies the "less is more" attitude of the album. There is no experimentation present anywhere. They saved that for album number two. This album's only purpose was to be a completely kick ass Metal record which would re-establish Rob Halford's career, and it worked.

It was official that the Metal God was back when he played as the first of three act at the sold out August 20th, 2000 Iron Maiden MSG show which we here at Baroque Bleak Brutal consider the spiritual rebirth of Metal. He was still a bit of an unknown quantity, and even at the ludicrously early 7PM set time the Garden was already packed. When his band started the opening notes of "The Hellion," the world's most famous arena got up on their feet and gave the man a standing ovation. I'm tearing up right now remembering the feeling of watching 15,000 Metal fans collectively have their own spiritual resurrection.


The One You Love to Hate (with Bruce Dickinson)


SaucyJ said...

Dearest Author,

As amazing as solo Halford is (heck those two records blow away anything the reunited Priest has adone) I well remember you experiencing the same chills I had when he got back together with Priest. It's only now when we look back on records like NOSTRADAMUS and we're fresh off a night of Ripper KILLING IT that we can say we wish he'd stayed solo.

Nonetheless a fabulous and well deserved article on killer record.

Seth said...

That first Ozzfest performance was amazing, but I was happier with Ripper sticking with Priest and Halford being its own band.

Having had the pleasure of seeing Halford twice on the Crucible tour, plus such great shows as Priest/Anthrax at Roseland, I was more than happy with the status quo.

Not only have the two Priest reunion records been a complete bust, but Halford's third album is a piece of shit Christmas album. Bummers all around.