Halford – Halford III – Winter Songs (2009, Metal God Records)
1. “Get Into the Spirit” … 5:26
2. “We Three Kings” … 4:06
3. “Oh Come O Come Emanuel” … 4:38
4. “Winter Song” … 5:38
5. “What Child Is This?” … 4:27
6. “Christmas For Everyone” … 3:06
7. “I Don’t Care” … 3:14
8. “Light Of The World” … 4:13
9. “Oh Holy Night” … 4:09
10. “Come All Ye Faithful” … 2:27
Rob Halford – Vocals
Roy Z – Guitar
Mike Chlasciak – Guitar
Mike Davis – Bass
Bobby Jarzombek – Drums
Ed Roth – Keyboard
Producer: Roy Z.
Seven years after the last studio effort from Halford, Rob & Company return with a… CHRISTMAS ALBUM ?! Yes, it’s weird, it’s shocking, it’s true. Even more shocking — it’s actually pretty good.
I was extremely excited to discover 2009 would bring us new Halford music. When Rob rejoined Judas Priest, the band went inactive but there were still countless live albums, reissues and compilations being issued so it is nice to see and hear new material from the group, even if most of it is covers of Christmas songs. I find it odd that Rob chose to let this be the third studio release from Halford though. A Christmas CD? Really? Well, if Twisted Sister can do it, surely the Metal God can!
I’m hearing a lot of resistance to the idea of Rob Halford doing Christmas songs, but maybe some of that is stemming from having his solo band’s name on it (who were one of metal’s most promising acts of this decade, IMO). Maybe Rob wants to turn Halford into the next Trans-Siberian Orchestra? Maybe if he stuck ‘ROB HALFORD’ on the cover instead of just ‘HALFORD’ metalheads could accept it more, though I admit it is a bit of an out there concept to wrap your head around.
Clearing away any preconceived notions I might have had, I’m really enjoying this album. It’s Christmas, it’s hard rock, it’s heavy metal, it’s ROB HALFORD! How can you go wrong? I’m sorry for ever doubting you, Mr. Halford! The original songs (“Get Into the Spirit”, “Christmas For Everyone”, “I Don’t Care”, “Light of the World”) are pretty good, with “Get Into the Spirit” easily being the best of that bunch but what is really surprising is just how good Halford’s take on these traditional Christmas songs can be.
There is no doubt this is the Metal God at work, but unlike some rock/metal acts who do Christmas songs, Halford doesn’t try to impose himself too much over the songs. In short, you’re not going to confuse “Oh Holy Night” or “Come All Ye Faithful” with “Painkiller” or “Resurrection”!
This is a great addition to my growing Christmas rock collection and I have a feeling it’s going to be getting a lot of airtime at home and in my car this holiday season… and for many more to come!
Highlights: “Get Into the Spirit”, “We Three Kings”, “Oh Come O Come Emanuel”, “Winter Song”, “What Child Is This?”, “I Don’t Care”, “Oh Holy Night”, “Come All Ye Faithful”