Rob Halford is a legend in rock & metal. As the frontman of Judas Priest, one of the most important bands within this genre, his legacy will last forever. What many may not know is that he’s had a pretty successful solo career too where he’s released many an album under the Halford name. Even less may know that one of these solo albums was a Christmas album!
Released in 2009, Halford III – Winter Songs combines original work with hard-rocking versions of classic Christmas themed songs. It’s certainly an odd combo but amazingly it turned out to be a stonkingly good piece of Christmas metal!
You see there are two styles of Christmas songs that come from rock & metal bands. One style effectively takes the piss, dialing up the cheese to sickening level while the other goes for the more serious, artistic effort.
Both have their merits. On one side we have The Darkness, Corey Taylor & Insane Clown Posse while on the other we have King Diamond, Bad Religon & this album.
A mix of original songs & covers this is a surprisingly solid piece of wintertime Christmas rock with just a sprinkling of cheese to give it flavour. Let’s not mess about…what hlpes make this album such a joy to listen too is Rob Halford & his stunning vocal range. He brings life to songs that would sound sour & flat coming out of anyone else’s mouth.
Take his stunning version of Oh Holy Night…tell me that this isn’t the best version of this well known carol?
It’s not just Rob that makes Winter Songs such a good listen. The guitars & drumming helps keep this rooted firmly in the rock genre. With the covers they never change the original composition of the songs, it’s instantly recognisable but sounds fresher & more exciting then ever.
The epic finish of Oh Come All Ye Faithful will put the silliest smile on your face as the guitars lead it through the different heights.
Elsewhere the original songs are a mixed bunch. Get Into the Spirit is a proper ‘Priest’ song, so much so that it feels at odds with a lot of the music here. It’s not a bad song, in fact it’s down-right rocking piece of music!
Later in the album though Christmas for Everyone, I Don’t Care & Light of the World hammer the Christmas point home with some serious force almost as though Rob had been told to lighten up a little!
There aren’t many vocalists that could pull this album off, a mix of original work & exciting takes on classic Christmas songs. Halford does a wonderful job of bringing Christmas to life. Sure he takes it all a little too seriously but when it results in such great music you can hardly complain!
Overall Track Listing:
Get Into the Spirit
We Three Kings (Cover)
Oh Come Oh Come Emanuel (Cover)
Winter Song (Cover)
What Child is This? (Cover)
Christmas for Everyone
I Don’t Care
Light of the World
Oh Holy Night (Cover)
Come All Ye Faithful (Cover)
Halford – III: Winter Songs (Metal God Entertainment)