I was putting together some info for a near-future Judas Priest post when I got to thinking about Rob Halford’s solo career. This seed also got planted a few weeks ago when a few of us were at a buddy’s house and he had one of the the Halford albums on.
So today I present a quick run through the non-Judas Priest albums of Rob Halford. He did quite a bit of stuff in his time away from his legendary outfit, and threw a few more solo efforts out there after returning to Priest in 2003.
Let’s go all the way back to 1993 and begin the look at Rob Halford’s solo offerings.
Fight – War Of Words (1993)
Halford came out swinging with his first non-Priest effort. Fight were a band of the times, in a thrash/groove pocket that slotted very well with the metal in rotation in 1993. Though Priest had done well to update their sound with Painkiller, Halford took his own leanings into even more of a current direction with Fight. Also note that Scott Travis double dips here – he was drumming with JP and also with Fight. Also notable is Russ Parrish on guitar, now more well-known as Satchel from Steel Panther.
Nailed To The Gun was a single from War Of Words and it was a great introduction to Halford’s post-Priest life. It got plenty of MTV play and the buzz set Halford and Fight up decently well out of the gate.
Fight – A Small Deadly Space (1995)
Fight’s second and last release didn’t quite hit the same way the debut did. It maybe lacked the dynamics of the first and was a bit stripped down or “grungy,” perhaps. It’s not horrible by any means but it kind of flopped and spelled the end of the project. I did see Fight live on this tour, it was my first Halford live experience of any kind. Between the Fight stuff and a small handful of Priest tunes thrown in it was a hell of a show.
2wo – Voyeurs (1998)
Halford’s next move would be into the industrial metal space, a form of music that was huge at the time and something he had long expressed a desire to do. This one-off project saw him team up with John 5, now known as Rob Zombie’s guitarist and the new guy in Motley Crue. The record was released on Trent Reznor’s record label, though this was not a collaboration between the artists.
2wo did not make waves at all, in fact the album was derided on release and the project scrapped pretty early on. It has gotten some more love in retrospect but remains more of a curiosity than anything in the distinguished career of Rob Halford. I always thought the album was a worthwhile listen but I can see why it didn’t really take off.
Note that while I’ve only posted the song, there is a fairly crazy video out there for I Am A Pig. It takes a bit of digging to find.
Halford – Resurrection (2000)
As the calendar flipped to a new everything in 2000, Halford returned to his metal roots and launched a new project. This time he would collaborate with producer Roy Z, who had lent great weight to Bruce Dickinson’s solo career.
This project would be very well-received and reinvigorate interest in Rob Halford and the more traditional strain of heavy metal. The band toured extensively, including opening for a reunited Iron Maiden, which really spiked interest in the “old sound” again. Bruce Dickinson also appears as a guest on the song The One You Love To Hate, making true a long-desired fantasy pairing in metal.
Halford – Crucible (2002)
Halford’s next move would be to get a bit heavier and actually move aside a bit from the “trad metal” leaning of the last record. This record accomplished its mission and kept the Halford train rolling, with the featured song Betrayal being an absolute barn burner.
This is the point where Halford reconnected with Judas Priest. It would be several more years before a new Halford solo offering.
Halford – Winter Songs (2009)
The third Halford solo outing would be a bit of a departure for heavy metal in general – while not explicitly stated as such, this is a Christmas album. There are a ton of old Christmas standards here, as well as a few originals penned by Halford and Roy Z.
While this isn’t my cup of tea, there also isn’t really anything wrong with it. It’s what you’d want, if what you wanted was a Rob Halford Christmas album. Halford would revisit the Christmas album in 2019 with Celestial, an album billed as a “friends and family” effort.
Halford – Made Of Metal (2010)
It would be a quick turnaround from the Christmas special to the next proper Halford release, which to date remains the final solo offering. This would return to the more traditional metal sound of the first album and serves as a respectable bookend to Halford’s solo catalog, if indeed nothing further materializes.
It’s unknown if there will be another Halford release outside the bounds of Judas Priest. Halford has expressed a desire to collaborate with some specific artists, among them Ihsahn from Emperor. It has yet to happen though, and it’s been all quiet on the Halford solo camp after some mess about label and catalog rights years ago that somehow saw Halford not have the rights to his own solo music for a time. I’m not even sure how that story ended or if it did, but it was kind of a mess.
Whatever may come, Rob Halford has led quite a career, both with his main gig and outside of it. He has displayed a clear willingness to pursue sounds outside of the box and has had some great moments, both within and outside of the bounds of strict heavy metal.