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Halford - Crucible (CD)

by David Kaluza at 07 July 2002, 3:37 PM

Initially I couldn't help but feel a little bit disappointed after hearing Crucible, the eagerly awaited follow up to Rob Halford's 2000 comeback album Resurrection.
After repeated listening however, it has to be said that while still not in a league with Rob's best work, the album does hold itself compared to many other releases these days and turns out to be quite solid without really being groundbreaking.
The main problem for me lies with the rather drab and dry production which seemingly takes away some of the power and energy otherwise contained within the songs on offer here and is especially notable when put next to Resurrection, something which is rather strange since both albums where produced by the same people (Roy Z and Halford himself). It also seems that, while both of the guitar players are more than adequate, they seem to be somewhat lacking in finesse and class as well as not really having a recognisable style of their own - I can't say that there's really one solo or riff on the album which stands out, even though some of the songs in itself are quite strong (although lacking the catchiness of certain songs like for  example Resurrection, Made In Hell and Silent Screams from the debut).
However, don't let yourself be fooled into thinking that Crucible is a weak effort, because it certainly is not. Apart from classic straight forward metal tracks like for example Betrayal, One Will (probably the most Priest compatible songs), Crucible and Wrath Of God (all four rank as my personal favourites) there are also a couple of more experimental tunes on offer, taking a more dark and doomy direction than what we're used to from Halford. Most interesting of these are, at least in my opinion Sun which is build around a rather unusual vocal melody, Hearts Of Darkness and Crystal. One thing which rather annoyed me however is the fact that there are different bonus-tracks on different releases (Europeans and Americans get She and Fugitive, while Asians get In The Morning and Rock The World Forever), things like this should be avoided in the future.
Of course the main selling point is Halford's voice which, while perhaps not as forcefull or strong as in the past still manages to be well above average (with a couple of exceptions here and there) and definitely above a lot of other fellow musicians. Admittedly thumbs up must also be given to Bobby Jarzombek, who (like usual) shows that he is both a very powerfull as well as a very varied drummer, and is perhaps (next to Rob himself of course) the star of the band.
In short, apart from the doubtfull production (something which should be worked on a little in the future) there's really nothing which could possibly keep you from buying Crucible, just be warned that it might take a while before you fully apreciate what's on offer here. Solid, but not outstanding.

4 Star Rating

Park Manor
One Will
Handing Out Bullets
Heart Of Darkness
Wrath Of God
Weaving Sorrow
Trial Of Tears
Rob Halford - Vocals
Patrick Lachman - Guitars
Mike Chlasciak - Guitars
Ray Riendeau - Bass
Bobby Jarzombek - Drums
Record Label: Metal-Is


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