Halford – Halford IV: Made of Metal (Metal God Productions)

Wednesday, 20th March 2013
Rating: 7/10

The cover…is this a Nascar racing game for the PS3? You should know better, Halford. One can understand the cross-promotional aspect of having an actual race-car adorn the Metal God banner (which is the case, for some junior circuit apparently) and using it as an album cover, but this, from the same guy who brought us British Steel, and Painkiller? Really? Hands-down, worst album cover of the year, even topping Downspirit’s Point of Origin.

Anyway, as the first real studio album from Halford since 2002’s mildly redeemable CrucibleMade of Metal on the musical front, is perhaps the man’s most satisfying since 2000’s Resurrection. Lots of solid, but unspectacular riffs and melodies fronting “Undisputed” and the Euro-flavored “Fire and Ice,” while “Like There’s No Tomorrow” picks up where the spirited moments of Crucible left off. However, “Thunder and Lightning” treads dangerously close to Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love (A Bad Name).” Oh boy.

Clearly, Rob Halford (the man, that is) is picking at various lyrical leftovers, with “Made of Metal” being about racing (gulp!), “Matador” about bullfighting (no way!), and “The Mower,” which could be the home maintenance answer to the Hellion or Metalian. Hard to get past how low-brow and plain cheesy some of this is, but Halford has been doing this a lot longer than anyone else, so it’s natural for the lyrics to suffer. At least it’s not Nostradamus.

With his voice still in relatively good shape (save for when he has to sing“Painkiller”), Rob Halford’s once-robust solo career appears to have levelled off, much in the same way the Judas Priest reunion has. Made of Metal is rife with clichés and at the same time, is about all a man approaching 40 years in metal can do, which is all we can ask for at this point.

www.robhalford.com

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)