wed 25/11/2020

CD: Rob Halford - Celestial | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Rob Halford - Celestial

CD: Rob Halford - Celestial

Judas Priest frontman spreads some Christmas cheer

Rob Halford: Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la-la

If there’s one man who has got the chutzpah to sing songs about the Baby Jesus while flashing the Devil’s horns, it’s Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford. In fact, on the CD cover to his latest solo album, this is exactly what he’s doing – for Celestial is Rob Halford’s Christmas album.

If there’s one man who has got the chutzpah to sing songs about the Baby Jesus while flashing the Devil’s horns, it’s Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford. In fact, on the CD cover to his latest solo album, this is exactly what he’s doing – for Celestial is Rob Halford’s Christmas album. It is also a record which shows serious brass neck by taking a handful of original tunes and a truckload of traditional Christmas carols and applying a total New Wave of British Heavy Metal make-over throughout.

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” keeps all of the original lyrics but accompanies them with monster riffs, thumping drums and Halford’s howling vocals. “Deck the Halls” gets the same treatment, with added guitar solo from Robert Jones, and is an absolute scream. Meanwhile, “Joy to the World” comes across like early Queen and even boasts a Brian May-esque guitar sound. There is some light and shade, however, and “Away In a Manger” is considerably more laidback, while “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is reborn as a power ballad. “The First Noel”, on the other hand, is given the full Songs of Praise treatment and couldn’t be more traditional – church organ and all.

The original songs aren’t quite as jaw-dropping as those from the Church of England songbook, but “Donner and Blitzen” is pure heavy metal panto that makes Meat Loaf sound like a model of restraint. Indeed, on Celestial, Rob Halford has proved himself to be the one man who can out-camp The Darkness, even with a complete lack of fruity humour and innuendo, but by somehow throwing all self-consciousness aside. For this is an album that doesn’t so much straddle the line between genius and insanity but gamely embraces both, and could just be the greatest rock’n’roll Christmas album ever because of it.

Rob Halford has proved himself to be the one man who can out-camp The Darkness

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

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