Halford - Winter songs 3/5

Reviewed: 12-18-09


1. Get into the spirit
2. We three kings
3. Oh come o come Emanuel
4. Winter song
5. What child is this
6. Christmas for everyone
7. I don't care if it's Christmas night
8. Light of the world
9. Oh holy night
10. Come all ye faithful

It is that time again when both the holiday traffic on the freeway, and the international highway of information (the internet) leads me to quote Tankard, "Fuck Christmas!" I refuse to listen to Christmas music, but thankfully in the old saint nick of time, I can still enjoy King Diamond's "No presents for Christmas", which serves to spread my holiday jeer.

I will always celebrate classics like Stryper's rendition of "Winter wonderland". I am grateful for Blackmore's Night's 'Winter carols', and the killer Christmas compilations such as 'We wish you a metal Xmas and a headbanging new year' and X-mas Project 'Bangin' around the X-Mas tree'. My favourite of all is Twisted Sister's 'Twisted Christmas'.

Now, to add to the essential Metal God collection, Rob Halford has released his own Christmas take (or is it a mistake?) on the Yule Tide Tradition. This fulfills his winter desire which stems back to the the spirited days of Fight, when he distributed his 'Silent night' selections of Christmas classics to his friends and family.

Shortly after the release of Halford's 'Crucible' CD, he released the song "Christmas ride". Ever since then, he has been wanting to create his own life insurrection, and unique Christmas project. Finally, he called up all his past buddies and gave birth to 'Winter songs'.

The best thing about this CD is the exceptional talent he has mustered to recreate the songs of his past. In order to get into the spirit of writing and award of words, he has incited his own metal resurrection by inviting Metal Mike Chlasciak and Roy "Z." Ramirez to play guitars, while welcoming Bobby Jarzombek back to the fold on drums.

Unfortunately, only a handful of songs are metal, and most are simple and somewhat, well... gay. I know Rob himself plays for the other team, but when he praises the saviour's birth, it is downright oxymoronic and silly. Halford seems more obsessed with the pretty maiden's virgin birth, than being rapped in Santa's claws.

'Twisted Christmas' was heavy and mettle; whereas this is just a whiner's song sampling of traditional and original material which warms my heart as much as my piss glistens bright in the yellow snow.

The CD has a strong opening out of the gate, and the first track "Get into the spirit" is a solid mettle anthem, which leads one to believe that this will be another small deadly, spaced-out metal mind mutation. I am instantly reminded of the opening riff from Skid Row's "Slave to the grind". Then again, I have been avidly playing the new Age of Evil (EP). These Scottsdale youth perform an exceptional cover for this on their new 'Get dead' release. For Halford fans, this song is very similar to "Rock the world forever".

"We three kings" has some stellar guitar work, and "Oh come O come Emanuel", despite its lyrical reference, is somewhat suggestive that the Metal God is still with us. "Christmas for everyone" chimes with sincerity, while the 'Planes, trains, and automobiles' John Candy and Steve Martin comedy inspired "I don't care if it's Christmas" jingles all the way with a Chuck Berry rebel yell mentality.

Then, the CD begins to lose its momentum with the sappy "Winter song", and pointless "What child is this". The even weaker "Light of the world" should be nailed to the gumption of those who choose to endure this. Sadly, listening to this is akin to a real season's beating. We are not going to take it! His renditions of "Come all ye faithful" and "Oh holy night" are far more than twisted, they put us on the crucible of tolerance.

I will always honour Halford and all he has done for metal, even if he is the one you love to hate. I respect his intentions, and desire to honour the Holidays. Here, there are no painkiller screams for vengeance, or shrill cries in the dark. Halford seems determined to keep it slow, down to the wire; dressing the tannebaum with tinsel and a light metal garnish.

Like this time of year, there are the wee 3 things - the good, the bad, and the ugly Christmas experiences for everyone.




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