The third full-length album by the solo project of Judas Priest frontman, legendary British singer Rob Halford.
Written, arranged and recorded between 2008–2009, it is Halford's first solo release in more than seven years. The release includes a collection of new Halford-penned tracks plus traditional Holiday favorites presented with original Heavy Metal arrangements by Halford himself and producer/guitarist Roy Z.
Halford has produced a decent album with minimal cheesiness. The album kicks off with “Get Into The Spirit,” a song that really doesn’t reference Christmas at all and could have gone on any other Halford or Priest albums. Halford’s "Painkiller"-esque vocals are in full force backed by chugging Metal riffs and squealing lead guitars. The next two tracks are traditional Christmas carols, which Halford sings straight up. There is enough fast riffage and use of minor keys to keep these songs “Metal.” The “We Three Kings” intro even has a pretty satisfying Iron Maiden style intro and Roy Z and Co. provide a great galloping rhythm to “Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel”, which transforms a rather somber carol into a solid rocker.
“Winter Song” is a cover of a Sara Barreilles song, which is faithful to the original with a piano backing up Rob Halford’s vocals. It’s a slow ballad but after blasting through the first three tracks, the change of pace makes sense. “What Child Is This” is also sung respectfully with primarily acoustic guitar accompaniment.
The middle of this disc consists of three Halford originals that stray from the traditional. “Christmas for Everyone” starts off with chimes and jingle bells and doesn’t pretend to be anything but a Christmas song. It has a 1950s Rock ‘n’ Roll vibe to it that reminded slightly of George Thorogood and the lyrics deal with the joys of Christmas. It’s actually a pretty solid tune, but if you hated the idea of Halford recording a seasonal album, this track will definitely piss you off. You'll get a similar impression from “I Don’t Care,” which deals with the hassle of getting home for Christmas and is Punk-tinged Rock.
“Light of the World” is another ballad, which makes heavy use of strings and is eerily reminiscent of “White Album”-era Beatles.
Finally, we come to the last two tracks in the album “Oh Holy Night” and “Come All Ye Faithful.” This is where Halford really shines as these songs are truly suited to his vocal style and he nails the high notes. Rob Halford makes the most of the soaring choruses in these traditional songs.
Overall this album is a pleasant surprise, although with only 10 tracks it is somewhat short. Halford puts in a strong effort to make a Metal Christmas album that’s pretty tasteful and fun at the same time. Essentially, if you love Rob Halford’s singing and you don’t mind Christmas music, pick up this album, grab a rum and eggnog and kick off the season with the Metal God himself!!
Metal God Records, 2009 (MGE7077171). Made in Europe. Used: very good.
1. Get Into The Spirit 5:26
2. We Three Kings 4:06
3. Oh Come O Come Emanuel 4:38
4. Winter Song 5:38
5. What Child Is This? 4:27
6. Christmas For Everyone 3:06
7. I Don't Care 3:14
8. Light Of The World 4:13
9. Oh Holy Night 4:09
10. Come All Ye Faithful 2:27
Total playing time: 41:24