Former Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford possesses one of hard rock’s great voices, a billion-octave banshee wail that spawned a whole generation of British heavy metal. Rightly, Crucible is built around his leathery pipes — Halford’s vocals are often tripled for maximum impact, and he dominates every number. But the singer is also smart enough to employ a youthful band that makes old Priest records sound positively sluggish. Fearing no tempo, “Betrayal” and “Handing out Bullets” gallop like thoroughbreds, and “Wrath of God” even thrashes without embarrassment. Thanks to this furious backdrop and a throat that shows no sign of age, Halford sounds ignited — something that can’t be said for his former bandmates, still operating under the Priest moniker. One caveat: everything annoying about Halford-era Priest (absurd lyrics, half-baked “concepts,” questionable wardrobe) lives on in his solo work.

Categories: Music