Mar 152018


(Wil Cifer reviews the new album by Judas Priest.)

I have now given this album time to sit with me. My first concern about a Priest album at this point in their career is how is Rob’s voice going to hold up? We might be able to live without KK, but as the Ripper Owens years proved, Rob’s  voice is one of the defining traits of this band.

The first two songs are pretty much dialed-in versions of their former arena-rock classics. Think closer to Defenders of the Faith, which found  the band trying to replicate the massive success of Screaming For Vengeance. While the ghost of Priest past might haunt some of the songs, it is without a doubt a better album than Redeemer of Souls. It has the up-tempo aggression that influenced the thrash bands that would follow. “Lightning Strike” has more of a gallop than the opener. The over-dubbed vocal layers that show Halford’s upper range are pretty convincing. Continue reading »

Apr 282014

When I picked “NO CLEAN SINGING” as the name for this site, it was a reaction to the pollution of good metal with crappy clean vocals — a reaction produced by some specific events at a specific period of time. But it wasn’t a reaction to the likes of Judas Priest. They’re an exception to our Rule (one of many). And Priest are back with a new album and a new song, and they’re both named “Redeemer of Souls”.

Now don’t get me wrong: I still have a low tolerance for clean singing in metal, and I’m not one of those people who worship at the altar of seminal heavy metal bands like Priest, nor do I care very much for the waves of power metal bands that Priest inspired (it’s my least favorite genre of metal). But there are certain Priest classics that still fire me up (possibly for nostalgic reasons as much as anything else), and I do like the title song of the new album, even though Halford doesn’t hit those astonishing high notes he used to reach. It maketh me to hold the invisible oranges.

Redeemer of Souls is due for release in the US on July 15 and in the UK on July 14. Other release dates can be found here. Here’s the title track: Continue reading »

Jun 252011

Yesterday, the New York state legislature passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it into law shortly before midnight. Legal gay marriages can begin in New York by late July. With the passage of that bill, New York became the sixth U.S. state — and the largest — to legalize gay marriage. Overnight, it doubled the number of Americans living in states where gay people can legally marry.

Criticism of the new law has already started pouring forth from religious leaders, such as the official statement by the Catholic Bishops of New York that “both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization.” I’ve never understood that argument, but then again, I admit I haven’t tried very hard to understand it. To me, you can believe that marriage has a religious/moral component if you want, but it also undeniably has legal consequences, too, and laws like the one NY passed is a matter of extending equal legal rights (and obligations) to gay people. That seems like progress to me.

The metal scene isn’t exactly welcoming to gay people. For the most part, it’s a male-dominated, testosterone-fueled style of music. To steal a line from journalist Amanda Hess, “the human sexuality analysis generally runs along the lines of ‘that band is fuckin’ gay.'” I’ve never really understood that attitude either. To me, metal is about living the way you want and letting other people do the same. It ought to be a culture that fully embraces diversity, requiring only one criterion for admission — that you love metal. But that’s just my ideal, not the reality. The reality, as I perceive it, is that there’s a pronounced prejudice against gay people in the metal scene, which probably explains why metal musicians who self-identify as gay are so few and far between.

But, to commemorate the historic event in New York, I’m going to feature music from a few gay metal musicians who’ve come out of the closet, or were never in it (and credit again to Amanda Hess for these prominent examples). That’s after the jump . . . Continue reading »

May 012010

The line-up, dates, and venues for the 2010 edition of Ozzfest have now been released. I don’t really know why I’m giving space to this announcement, which is still fairly hot off the presses. Maybe because some of you will care about it more than I do. Maybe because it’s nice to anticipate that Goatwhore and Skeletonwitch will pick up some new fans (which they certainly deserve). Other than that, I’m afraid it’s a big yawn for me, tinged with a little nausea.  First, the line-up (as recited in the official press release):

The main stage will feature full sets from OzzyMotley Crue and Rob Halford (who last appeared on Ozzfest in 2004 with Judas Priest), performing songs from his solo career along with material from Judas Priest and Fight. DevilDriver and Nonpoint will round out the main stage line-up.

Second stage headliners and six-time Ozzfest veterans Black Label Society will be joined by Drowning PoolKingdom of Sorrow, and GoatwhoreSkeletonwitch, SavioursKataklysm.

The second stage is far stronger than the first, that’s for sure. DevilDriver puts on a kick-ass live set, but the rest of the performers on Stage 1 look like nothing more than half-baked nostalgia. No question, Ozzy and Priest were hugely influential once upon a time, but Ozzy and Halford aren’t pushing metal in any new directions today, and they certainly don’t have the stage chops they used to have. Nonpoint is completely meh, and Motley Crue? Give me a fucking. Break.

Of course, feel free to telepathically tell me to fuck off if this news makes your day.  Ticket info and the predictably small list of dates and places follow after the jump . . . Continue reading »