Thursday, August 11, 2016

Halford - Halford IV: Made of Metal (2010)

The fourth, and to this date the latest, Halford album saw the Metal God return to what first made his project Halford so awesome, pure and classic heavy metal with a modern touch to it. While the title of the album is really unoriginal and the cover, which features the front of a Nascar car sponsored by Metal God Records, is a little too American for my, and should be for Rob's, taste, it was ultimately the music that spoke to me, and the music really knew how to persuade.

The album was released in 2010, a time when my interest for metal started to grow larger and larger, exposing me to all kinds of new exciting music. I got a hold of "Halford IV: Made of Metal" after hearing the title track, and watching its music video. I still get some good nostalgia watching that video, but I have to admit, it is a really corny video. An Alien coming down to Earth, transforming his spaceship into a Nascar car, competing in a race, all of which was computer animated. Yeah, the video flat out sucks, but you still get a good laugh out of it, and it does not really help that the song fits right in. While having a catchy chorus and some great instrumentation, the songs gets ripped to shreds thanks to the added effects. A good first single, but way too overproduced.

So my nostalgia did not answer back here, but there were other moments in the album that made me go "Oh yeah, I remember this one, and I still love it". "Halford IV: Made of Metal" contains a good package of great songs, showing great variety in the sound. While most of the songs lean towards a more metallic sound, there are a few nods to Rob's Judas Priest days. "Speed of Sound" is the perfect example of that, a classic NWoBHM anthem that is simple, but extremely enjoyable retro metal that would go well with "British Steel" or "Stained Class".

Another nostalgic tune is "Hell Razor" and this one REALLY sounds like it was taken straight from the 80's, even the mix here sounds old but gold. It almost makes me a little bummed that Rob did not go full swing and create a full album with nostalgic tunes, but I do understand that it would not work in full scale. If he did that, then the album would sound like it came out 25 years too late. A clear evidence that while Rob glimpses back to the past, he still has his mind set to the future.

When it comes to the more modern stuff, "Halford IV: Made of Metal" sways like a pendulum, from really good, to simply awful. The opener "Undisputed" kicks ass, a explosive start and a knockout punch already at round 1, while "Matador" tires out the rest with its grand performance towards the end of the album. "Like There's No Tomorrow" is another highlight, and one of Roy Z and Mike Chlasciak's finest moments in Halford history (they are doing some amazing work in this album). But songs like "Thunder And Lightning", "Heartless", and "I Know We Stand A Chance" drags down the momentum of the album, and the overall mood.

One songs stands in the middle of this ever rocking pendulum, and that is the final song of the album, "The Mower". Just like any other Metal God fan, I get a freaking huge boner of Rob's screaming falsetto, and he truly nails it in this song. However, the song falls completely flat thanks to its extremely sluggish tempo and mediocre riffing. What is the point of using this amazing voice if you don't have a song that can match up to its furiosity? Such a shame, this song could have been the icing of the cake, but ended up as burned toast.

When this album first came out, I loved it, and I still do 6 years later, although not as much as before. "Halford IV: Made of Metal" will forever stand as the second best Halford album out there (after "Resurecction"). It has some inconsistencies here and there, but overall, it is a well oiled machine that runs on pure metal, and Rob runs it with an iron fist.  It may not be a pretty album, but it is still pretty good.

Songs worthy of recognition: Speed of Sound, Like There's No Tomorrow, Hell Razor

Rating: 7,5/10 Matadors

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