Part 5 in a miniseries on Rob Halford’s solo career! Missed the last part? Click here!
HALFORD – Resurrection (2000 Japanese edition, 2008 remastered edition)
Note: There have been several versions of this CD. The original CD and Japanese import versions had a certain tracklisting, but the track order was changed up a bit for the Remastered edition (see tracklists at bottom). Since that’s the version that’s out right now, that’s what I’ve decided to review. I got mine in a combo pack with the DVD, Resurrection World Tour Live at Rock in Rio III. Rob has also retroactively started to number his solo albums; as such the remastered version is technically Halford 1: Resurrection.
Voyeurs by Two was not a mega seller regardless of the association with Trent Reznor and Nothing Records. Rob needed to return to heavy metal or risk alienating his fanbase.
I think pretty much everyone was enthused by the title track and lead off single, “Resurrection”. This wasn’t techno wizardry with whispery vocals. This was heavy metal, with screams! Although Rob was already headed in that direction at the end of Two, while working with Bob Marlette, it is Roy Z that drives this one single home. Yes, Roy Z, the Roy Z that Bruce Dickinson utilized to collaborate on many a great solo album. With Halford now drinking at the well of riffage that is Roy Z, “Resurrection” was bound to smoke. And it does. Take the sound of classic Judas Priest circa Painkiller, adjust for 10 years of sonic trends, stir in Roy Z, and you have “Resurrection”. Rob makes sure you know he’s serious from the very opening, screaming as only he can.
What I dislike are the lyrics. “I walked alone into a Fight”? Rob, you weren’t alone, you had Scott Travis with you! “I tried to look too far ahead, and saw the road lead to my past instead.” In other words, sorry about the Two album, this is what I really want to be doing.
The first three tracks totally smoke, all falling somewhere in a Defenders/Painkiller vibe of Priestly goodness. At first I didn’t like “Night Fall”, the fourth track, too much. Its redeeming value is a great chorus, totally in the Defenders mold.
“Silent Screams” is one of the songs that Rob was working on with Marlette at the end of Two. Rob was especially proud of this lengthy number, and he released a demo version of it for free on his official website. The demo version is an evolution from Two. It has screams (appropriately enough) and heavy guitar riffs. The album version has a more emotional lead vocal and tones down the keyboards. The song is a bit slow and ploddy to start with but it is epic in quality and it sure does rock by the halfway point!
The big gimmick on the album was the duet with Bruce Dickinson, “The One You Love to Hate”. The connection is Roy Z, but obviously a matchup like this would generate much hype. Arguably the two best singers in metal, together at last. Bruce sounds great, holding his own against the Metal God, who sounds vintage 80’s. I have to say I enjoyed this one a lot. Shortly thereafter, there were rumours of a coming supergroup called the Three Tremors – Rob, Bruce, and Geoff Tate of Queensryche. All three artists were touring together at the time, but this idea was never meant to be taken seriously.
“Cyber World” is fast and heavy but unfortunately also boring and skip-worthy. Likewise, the groovier “Slow Down”. Dull title, dull song. I tend to think of Resurrection as losing steam on side 2. I guess that’s why the remastered edition inserts the Japanese bonus track “Hell’s Last Survivor” right here. Sounding something of a Screaming for Vengeance outtake, I think this was placed here to compensate for some of the weaker tracks.
“Temptation” is a little on the boring side, so two new tracks are inserted at this point for the remastered edition: “God Bringer of Death” and “Fetish”. In my opinion it doesn’t sound like they belong here. Rob’s voice had changed a lot in the 8 years since, and the sound is more like later Halford albums. Neither song is particularly notable.
On the other hand, “Sad Wings”, which was previously only on the Japanese version, is awesome. It has a sharp riff and a chorus that is designed to remind you what band he was the singer of. This is followed by “Twist” which sounds like maybe it had its origins in Two, but I like it a lot. “Drive” is also pretty decent, and the album ends with “Saviour” which has an anthemic chorus.
Bottom line: Pretty decent if a bit safe comeback. Rob wasn’t treading any new ground here musically, but Roy Z never fails to class up any album he’s on. His tasteful and blistering solo work is just marvelous.