Review : HALFORD – "Made of Metal"

HalfordIV: Made of Metal
Release Date: 2010Sep28 (US)
Label: Metal God Entertainment
Rating: 3/5

A short while ago, I was playing Motorpsycho‘s Heavy Metal Fruit on the ‘Mind Over Metal’ broadcast, then transitioned into Halford with “…and speaking of heavy metal fruits…”. I like to poke fun at The Metal God. And I tell you, he is still a consummate performer and one of the most gracious people I have ever interviewed. Because of my love for him, it is difficult to write about the fourth album by the band that bears his name. Legacy is of slim consideration to this reviewer.

However strong the music may be—by one of the best-assembled bands of the past decade—the beginning is front-heavy with anthems that seem to be reflective of Rob himself (he writes some or all of every song, so this is not surprising, especially since Halford largely fuels the band) but wordy choruses in “Undisputed” and the title track should have been filtered with cheesecloth. In particular, the latter unsuccessfully rocks a Nascar theme, as do the liner notes and accompanying promo video. If the band is trying to appeal to Red State America, the twanging “Till the Day I Die” works much better, and has lines like “I ain’t got no time to be slowing down / With one foot in the grave” …you go, sir!

These are the tracks that show the very real mortal aspect of our Metal god. You have to believe that the passing of one Ronnie James Dio more deeply affected the artists who were also his peers, and I believe that event—in addition to the normal aging process—sparked much of the creativity behind Made of Metal. He shows deeper appreciation for interpersonal relationships, but these hold some of the weaker moments on the album. “Thunder and Lightning”, “We Own the Night” and “I Know We Stand a Chance” are all ostensibly about friends and lovers, and while I’m happy that he’s happy, I think they belong amongst the four to five songs that could have been axed for stronger flow.

I was almost ready to give up until “The Mower”, which brought “Painkiller” to mind just because both songs end in “-er”. I was dubiously prepared for the worst, yet Halford delivers their most ferocious tune to conclude. I’m not sure what took them so long, apart from wanting to end on a high note, but it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with their heaviest offerings.

This is obviously a marked improvement over Halford III: Winter Songs, but I still yearn for the vicious nature of Resurrection—this band’s finest album. Made of Metal is perfect for those in the mood for traditional Metal with modern production fronted by a living legend; but overall, be selective—it’s a rough ride.

FCC OK
Try 5, 6, 8, 12, 14

01. Undisputed
02. Fire and Ice
03. Made of Metal
04. Speed of Sound
05. Like There’s No Tomorrow
06. Till the Day I Die
07. We Own the Night
08. Heartless
09. Hell Razor
10. Thunder and Lightning
11. Twenty-Five Years
12. Matador
13. I Know We Stand a Chance
14. The Mower

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