Saturday, July 9, 2011

What Child the Hell is This?

Halford III: Winter SongsOK. My indiscriminate buying habits have finally done me in. I was enjoying Halford's Made of Metal this week and that, of course, had me digging Resurrection and Crucible again. I was really surprised to see an entry I hadn't heard of, Halford 3: Winter Songs, on the shelf at Half Price Books today and snatched it up without even turning it over. I jumped in the car and popped it into the stereo.

The opener, "Get Into the Spirit," was alright. Pretty typical Halford fare, meaning great tempo, shredding guitars, lots of piercing screams, and the worst lyrical content imaginable: Here comes the dream that's been waiting / the triumph we seek is so close that it's so near / I love the chance that we've been taking / the moment for us is right here // Get into the spirit / reach up to the sky and so on.

Rebecca Black may have a future covering Halford tunes. That said, it's about what I expected. So I anticipated the first real rocker of the album would follow real soon and instead got this:

How the hell did a person who owns every Judas Priest record, including all the live ones - even the two live ones with Ripper Owens - miss the news that Rob Halford recorded a Christmas album? And how did I go a year and a half without finding it?  And why, of all times of year, did I have to add it to my collection in July? Yes, it has "Winter" in the title and, yes, he's standing in the snow but, really, isn't at least one of these true for 83% of metal albums out there?

To be perfectly honest, I would have bought Winter Songs at any time if I had known it existed. Even today, if I had turned it over and read the song titles I would have gone ahead and purchased but sure as hell would have shelved it until much later in the year and, even then, probably would have just approached it as a novelty item.

I cannot review this now. How could anyone? Can any Christmas album not recorded by Frank Sinatra be good? (Yes, actually. See: Dread Zeppelin's Presents). And, as most of them are so bad they complete the circle back to goodness by default, can any Christmas album really be bad? (Yes, actually. Again, see: Dread Zeppelin's Presents). When a "serious" rock band does a Christmas record it really demands to be set aside from the discography. But when Halford numbers the damn thing it demands to sit right between Crucible and Made of Metal forever.

Luckily, the same trip also paid off with Amorphis' The Karelian Isthmus and Deep Purple's Come Taste the Band. Opposite ends of the spectrum, to be sure, but that juxtaposition is less jarring to me than the Metal God and Father Christmas. At least until the snow falls.

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