By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Or it may have been the real, honest-to-God Halford. And at this point in his life, he seems especially interested in telling you who that is. Resurrection begins with the saga of where he’s been lately: He’s undergone a stretch of self-examination (he’s a recovering alcoholic) and artistic experimentation (having been produced by Trent Reznor in the dark but melodic noise band Two). Lest old-time fans fear he’s left them behind, he proclaims his rebirth and “Resurrection” in the Church of Metal, and in “Made in Hell” proudly recalls the factory towns in which both he and other Birmingham-area Brit music–smelters such as Black Sabbath breathed in the literal fumes of metal. He bares his loves and hates (“Night Fall,” “Locked and Loaded,” “Twist,” “Temptation”); confesses his Internet addiction (“Cyber World”); accepts the “needle in my heart” — the music, he explains — that has been both his salvation and his taskmaster (“Silent Screams”); follows doctor’s orders (“Slow Down”).
The doctor may not be delighted with Resurrection, but fans will be. Produced by Roy Z, who’s been doing superb work with Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson (Dickinson sings on “The One You Love To Hate”), the CD sticks both feet in your chest and doesn’t let you up till it’s had its way with you. Halford has assembled a young unit of special forces from all over the place: Guitarist Patrick Lachman from L.A., guitarist Mike Chlasciak from Poland, bassist Ray Riendeau from Two and drummer Bobby Jarzombek from Riot are at once heavier, nastier and slicker than Judas Priest ever were. Resurrection cuts loose with the double-kick-drum assault of modern metal, coupled with an ultradynamic, melodically disciplined studio sound and the most challenging vocal screeches and proclamations Halford has pulled off in many a season. And the songwriting (mostly by Halford, Roy Z and the band) is diamond- crafted, with the operatic “Night Fall,” the schizo epic “Silent Screams” and the transcendent title track cutting especially deep.
Now all that’s left is taking it to the stage. Gosh, what do you suppose Halford will wear?
Breath, sigh, twinkle in the eye: “Ah . . . leather.” Halford laughs with glee. “Leather — lace . . . no, the leather. What’s next? A suit of armor, I don’t know.”
What did he think when Pat Boone stole his leather-dude-on-a-hog look for the good-humored metal tribute Boone essayed several years back?
He guffaws. “Pat’s waaaay too deep in the closet. Come out, Pat! Oh, dear.”
Though no longer closeted himself, Halford claims not to be the party boy he once was, notwithstanding “Temptation” (another Resurrection title). Still, this interview was conducted in a West Hollywood hotel. “Whenever I stay in L.A., I stay in this part of town, just because I’m close to my own kind. But I can’t go to the clubs, and I can’t go to the bathhouses, because I have to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning to do fucking interviews. I have to be in bed at 9 o’clock at night!”
Halford looks completely serious as he describes the scene. “A Harry Potter book. And my hot chocolate.”
Halford plays at the Irvine Amphitheater Sunday, September 10, and at the Universal Amphitheater Wednesday, September 13, both on bills with Iron Maiden.