Halford is the moniker on which the erstwhile metal god Rob Halford, former front man for Judas Priest, settled after forming a heavy metal band again after spending most of the 90's in the pop wilderness. Having left Judas Priest ten years earlier in order to pursue a solo career, Halford had spent the decade in various incarnations which never went anywhere.
By the time 1999 rolled along, Halford had had enough of the various disastrous endeavours of his recent past and announced a return to his metal persona. He signed a recording and management deal with Sanctuary Music (Iron Maiden, Blaze, etc.) and released Resurrection. The album was a thunderous return to form full of autobiographical lyrics. The album was the comeback story for the year 2000. The quality of the material, not to mention the true metal song writing, immediately fuelled speculation of Halford's reunion with Judas Priest. Over the next several years it became clear that while Halford would like to rejoin his old band, the Judas Priest members are not as keen seemingly happy with their new front man American Ripper Owens.
Resurrection featured a duet with Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson. Iron Maiden's front man had been recording his own solo album with producer Roy Z. at the same time as Halford's Resurrection was taking shape. Being on the same label and management group meant that Halford could tour as opener for Iron Maiden. The Canadian dates also featured another Sanctuary managee, namely Entombed. During the tour, Rob also appeared as a panel member on Canada's sports channel TSN.
While working on new Halford material, the singer also discussed forming a one-off project with Bruce Dickinson and Queensryche's Geoff Tate. The project dubbed The Three Tremors never came to fruition ostensibly a victim of bad timing.
Live Insurrection followed next. 2002 saw Halford on the European festival circuit and also brought Crucible. In the summer of 2002 reports surfaced indicating Halford seems both tired and unenthusiastic. In parallel to these reports, Halford would cancel several shows including appearances in Asia. As it turned out, Rob Halford had recently encountered memory and concentration problems. He could not remember the lyrics to his songs and was often forced to use a teleprompter. The front man would issue an apology to his fans for his performances.
Lachman would leave the band to concentrate on his grungy project Diesel Machine, as well as New Found Power which featured Dimebag Darrell of Pantera. In order to fulfil live obligations, producer Roy Z. joined Halford. Canadian guitarist Chad Tarrington was also mentioned as a replacement at this point. Simultaneously, bassist Ray Riendeau would depart. Flotsam And Jetsam's Jason Ward would replace him. A more permanent bassist would be Lizzy Borden's Mike Davis. Davis had recently spent time rehearsing for Ozzy Osbourne.
An impressive package of Halford, Testament, Immortal, Amon Amarth, Painmuseum and others would be billed as Metal Gods 2003 and would hit Canada and the USA in the spring of 2003. Dark Tranquillity was also reported to be in contention for a slot on this tour. The tour would collapse mid-way due to financial mismanagement and booking issues.
In the spring of 2003 Halford saw it fit to issue a statement denying rumours (again) that he is rejoining Judas Priest. Nevertheless, inevitably and commercial potential collided and the singer officially rejoined Judas Priest in the late summer of 2003. The first new Halford song in four appeared in November of 2006 at Apple's iTunes site. The song was called Forgotten Generation. Rob Halford formed his own Metalgod Entertainment company and began issuing releases focused initially on his own music in 2007. His first release was Metal God Essentials - Volume 1. Metal God Entertainment and Rob Halford set up a new clothing company in 2009 called Metal God Apparel “for today’s rock and roll lifestyles.” Halford was back in solo mode with Halford III - Winter Songs in the autumn of 2009. The album was the Judas Priest singer’s first new and original record in seven years and included both new metal songs and seminal Christmas jingles. Rob Halford confirmed that Halford would perform on July 24th, 2010 at Montreal, Canada's second Annual Heavy MTL Festival. Halford, however, played its first show in more than seven years on Saturday, July 17th, 2010 at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. Metal God Records recently announced the release of Halford - Live In Anaheim CD and DVD. Halford and Ozzy Osbourne were touring North America together in November and December of 2010. Metal God Records announced a new live DVD by HALFORD called Halford Live At Saitama Super Arena out October 10th, 2011.
HALFORD - CRUCIBLE - SANCTUARY
After the unexpected success of Resurrection and the apparent forgiving
Rob Halford for his mistaken past statements, the fans were looking to
number two announced as Crucible. As becomes quickly apparent Halford
not repeated himself which is both good and bad when you consider the
debut's strength. There are no instant winners here as were on the
and at 56 minutes (although there are many silent seconds here)
any objective account features a couple of songs which should have been
out. Rob Halford being a vocalist it does not come as a surprise that
singer is mixed front and centre. What is surprising is that the other
four musicians are not only mixed lower, but often sound thin. This is
especially true for the guitars. Furthermore, here and there liberties
taken with the vocal production which constitute an experimental twist
things. Luckily, Halford sings several songs with a true high pitch
good to see. In fact his performance is both confident and powerful.
Halford is in top form, the same cant be said of his band who somehow
restricted and unadventurous. Where are the bashing drums or the
solo? The sound over all too comes across as a tad synthetic. This may
may not suit the more esoteric and progressive moments immortalized
For our money, Crucible and One Will are the most favourable songs here
the way to go henceforth.
HALFORD - METAL GOD ESSENTIALS - METAL GOD/FUSION III
Halford's Metal God Essentials double-disc is the perfect purchase for the Judas Priest fan who never invested in singer Rob Halford's solo music. Encompassing the best songs of the man's career whilst in solo mode the CD features songs from the band Fight, Halford and a couple of newer and unreleased tunes, namely Forgotten Generation and Drop Out. The packaging is not lacking and a good sign of things to come for Halford's recently established Metal God Entertainment imprint, which is due to release at least three more discs of the man's performance between 1992 and 2006. The disc comes with a bonus DVD featuring a couple of promotional videos and some nondescript backstage footage. Then again, given the bonus nature of the second disc it is not exactly proper to complain about this aspect of the release. Metal God Essentials is just that, although hardly for those in possession of the original albums, and here is to hoping that some of the future music either by Judas Priest or Halford solo is as good as the best material here. - Ali "The Metallian"
A secret downtown hotel, an alias (with a 15-minute advance notification of via a call to the mobile telephone), an intermediary and a strictly shortened chat… the plot for a new nefarious plot, a new novel by Robert Ludlum, CIA shipping arms to Lebanon? No, a day in the life of the metal god, Rob Halford.
Metallian editor Ali "The Metallian" interviews Rob Halford upon release of Metal God Essentials - Volume 1 and uses the occasion to speak on a variety of Halford and Priest-related issues. - 08.06.2007
METALLIAN: Rob, Thank-you for your time this afternoon. Tell me about Metal God Essentials - Volume 1. Furthermore, as the name implies, there will be more to follow.
HALFORD: You are welcome, Ali. We have had enormous success with the download world. We released this stuff originally on iTunes and put on halfordmusic.com and all of them went well. My next phase was to actually put out a physical CD and DVD. To facilitate that we created Metalgod Records which is Metalgod Entertainment. It is going to be a broad-based platform for all things metal from now on and into the metal future. Metal God Essentials - Volume 1 was the first thing we wanted to offer because, quite frankly, that was the easiest thing to put together. All the other work is still being created. Metal God Essentials - Volume 1 is a bit of an older view of things that I have done so far in my solo career. We mixed it up with some Halford, Fight and new Halford tracks. We put a couple of Attie Bauw remixes and presented it in the Metal God Essentials - Volume 1 format. It is already out in Europe and will be out here by the beginning of July. It is a really exciting moment for me to have Metalgod Entertainment to launch everything. When you listen to the music from front to back you go on the journey I have been on from the early '90s and on until the new songs Forgotten Generation and Drop Out.
METALLIAN: Based on what you just said it sounds like Metalgod Entertainment will release music by other artists in the future.
HALFORD: Yeah, I mean that's my hope, Ali. I just want to give everything I can in the metal world. I want to be a part of it in the future. We are not ready for that yet, but eventually we will be. We will start looking into the talent. This is not all about me. It is creating a business platform and to get everything launched. We are a young company. We have been around only for a couple of months. We are taking little metal baby steps at the moment. We have good expectations for the future for metal with other people.
METALLIAN: Let's talk about Essentials II and the other releases you have planned.
HALFORD: To be honest Ali I haven't even thought about that just yet. The next thing to come out is the Rock In Rio show, which we did with Iron Maiden in early 2000. It was just brilliant. If you have seen Silent Screams streaming on halford.com that gives you a taste of what that night was about. After that, there is a five-DVD exposé of how everything came about with Fight and others. It is an all-encompassing release and visual of all our releases. It is a really cool thing that will probably come out with the Fight demos. The demos date from before I had the deal with Sony/BMG. Eventually there will also be another Halford CD of new material, but that is a while away and has to wait for the Judas Priest record Nostradamus. We have stockpiled a bunch of new Halford material.
METALLIAN: In your mind Halford is still an on-going band.
HALFORD: It is. I mean Metal Mike and Bobby are in Painmuseum project. Mike D., my bassist, is in a band and Roy Z. is producing his own band Tribe Of Gypsies and other bands. The guys are all active and busy in their metal worlds but we are still together as a band.
METALLIAN: Going back to the beginning of your solo career I was always curious why you disbanded Fight.
HALFORD: Well, it was a lot of things. It was a new band. There was a lot of shifting around in terms of personnel and the business side of course. I mean I didn't discount the fact that I would do another Fight album, but then I bumped into John Lowery or Johnny 5 who is now with Rob Zombie. We met up and said this is really cool. Let's see what we can do. We brought in Bob Marlett and as a result, we started putting together some music. By chance and circumstance, we came together with Trent Reznor in New Orleans and we went from the Fight experience to the Two moment. I think really what I was doing Ali was searching for all these different opportunities in music. I mean I don't think I had a predetermined plan. The Fight experience was a great one, but I had all these opportunities I wanted to explore so I did. The Two project was kinda controversial because it wasn't pure metal, but I had a lot of fun working with Trent, a hero of mine, and Rave Ogilvie of Skinny Puppy. I still stand by that music. I am trying to get the original songs for release because if you hear the originals they have a different feel about them. I want to share the moment with everybody as well. That reinforces my belief Ali that everything I have done in music has longevity. The great thing about metal is that it is not fashionable and disposable and forgettable. Great metal lives forever. I knew the Two experience will be a short-lived one. I met Roy Z and said I want to refocus myself and that is what we did with the Resurrection album which was a massive success for Halford. Then the big rumours about the reunion of Priest were resurfacing although that didn't become reality until we did the Metalogy box set. We got together for that at my house.
METALLIAN: The current release features a couple of Canadian re-mixes for the domestic version. What is special about those?
HALFORD: They are all different. Producer Attie has done four or five different mixes. We are doing different mixes for different territories. We are always looking for different things to do and say. A lot of this stuff has already been out in the download world we want to offer something different on the CD format. The package is great to look at and hold. There is a lot there.
METALLIAN: You might have noticed how racism and general discrimination has infiltrated the metal scene. Your arguably strongest song on Resurrection was Made In Hell which indirectly refuted metal's affinity with discrimination since you point out metal came from the blues.
HALFORD: You know, it has been my belief, especially because of my sexuality, that everybody should accept everybody in all walks of life regardless of their sexuality, religion, colour of your skin or whatever. I think when I came out it kinda destroyed the myth of what metalheads are because on the broad base all metal heads are intelligent, compassionate, loving and caring people. We are involved in a very aggressive style of music, but that doesn't make us any different to anybody else. So when I went through that experience and I was afforded everybody's love and respect that was a great moment, you know? I think at whatever level homophobia, racism and all that is left at there is no place for that in metal or in life. It is a world where you have to embrace each other.
You know the song Made In Hell was an opportunity to give a direct commentary. Whenever those ideas come into my head I think it is a good story line and an opportunity to utilize it.
METALLIAN: Any chance we can address the eternal rumours that Unleashed In The East was not a live album at all?
HALFORD: It is a live album, but unfortunately, when I was in Japan I had a lot of problems with my throat. So I did rerecord some of the vocal tracks again. To keep it live I told producer Tom Allom to just press 'play' and press 'record' and I will sing along with the entire show and any parts that need to be fixed we will do the studio magic. That is what you have to look at. Beside that, everything is as it is. I think that is what a live album should be. You should try to keep the essence of it and not mess around with it and turn it into a studio album.
METALLIAN: Yet, the vocals were rerecorded.
HALFORD: Portions of them were rerecorded.
METALLIAN: Will there ever be a Three Tremors project and recording with you, Bruce Dickinson and Geoff Tate?
HALFORD: Ooh, I would love to do that. I think it is a great idea. The problem is finding the time to do it, you know? I mean the basic concept is a brilliant idea and at some point in the future I hope it will become real.
METALLIAN: Any opinions on a forthcoming book on Judas Priest called Defenders Of The Faith?
HALFORD: It is an unauthorized publication. We have nothing to do with it. There will be something from the band along those lines - eventually.
For more information on the band and his projects go to work in the morning and spend some time on the Internet exploring http://www.robhalford.com.