Tuesday, July 5, 2016

2wo - Voyeurs (1998)

After the break up of Fight, Rob Halford went on to even stranger territories, maybe because he was inspired of the 90's culture in general, I really do not know. 2wo is not a new band though, it is instead a collaboration project between Rob and John Lowery, a man that you all know more as John 5, Rob Zombie's current guitarist. It is certainly a odd match up when you look at it in theory, but one could always hope that it would be a Ozzy Osbourne kind of thing. A veteran musician takes in a unknown guitarist for the start of his solo career, creating amazing music together.

As it turned out, it did not end that way. "Voyeurs" is the only album that 2wo ever did, and the two guys went on to other projects separately. Halford went on to create Halford, and John became the guitarist for both David Lee Roth and Marilyn Manson (what a combo!). Listening to the music in "Voyeurs", I can see why. It mostly consists of some grungy industrial metal that just does not suit The Metal God very well. His voice is, as always, stunning, but it just does not fit. Hell, even his overall image looks out of place in this project, Rob looks more like Geoff Tate than Rob Halford on that album cover, which is a clear sign that he was a little lost.

Now, if you ever wanted to know how weird the 90's were, just look up the video for the album's only single, "I Am A Pig". This is hands down as close to a professional porn video as you will come, without actually watching a porn video. It was produced by porn director Chi Chi Larue, and included several porn stars doing blurry S&M scenes in some sort of a sex dungeon. Now, by this time, Rob had come out as a homosexual, so I am not surprised at all to why he made this happen, but still... weird, even by 90's standard. The song? Definitely fitting as a single, and one of the better songs on the record, but not overly impressive.

Most of the appeal of this album comes from the heavy riffs of John 5, he makes these slimy songs a little harder, giving them a much better edge. I honestly think he has kind of a niche playing style that certainly suits the right artists, and it does hit this particular project that he has with Halford, but it would not work with either Fight or Halford. He is an accomplished guitar player and song writer, and while he does not get out the most of his skills on "Voyeurs", he still does a stellar job with cool riffs and nice solos. Overall, nice solid work from John.

Even with a good performance from both Rob and John, I still feel like the song writing on the album is pretty sub par. The closest band I can compare this to might be Nine Inch Nails, but without the catchy aggressiveness, replaced by a more sludgy type of... stuff. Honestly, it sounds like kind of a mess some times. Some songs are quite cool, like "Stutter Kiss", "Water's Leaking", "My Ceiling's Low", and "Bed of Rust", but some of the other ones do not make a lot of sense, or what do you guys say about the song title "Hey, Sha La La"? Complete nonsense. The lyrics especially are ridiculous, just a bunch of gibberish that is hard to comprehend. This is certainly not the album for those who wants poetry in motion.

2wo is ultimately a weird phase of Rob Halford's career, the high point of a time when he tried to find his footing again in the music industry after his departure from Judas Priest. "Voyeurs" is far from a great album, and while it does fit in the time period in which it was released, it still feels out of place. This is not the type of music Rob was meant to sing, and I wonder if he even knew that while making this album. It is an odd album that has some kind of charm to it, but is it any good? It is not bad, but it is safe to say that there are tons of albums that feature The Metal God that are a hell of a lot more enjoyable.

Songs worthy of recognition: Stutter Kiss, I Am A Pig, Water's Leaking

Rating: 5,5/10 Beds of Rust

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