Made Of Metal
Fiery, street-heated... Made Of Metal possesses the vibe of a casual Halford album, embracing of a defiant indie vibe, sort of casting caution to the wind, where both Resurrection and Crucible were uptight in two wholly different directions. And with 14 songs, the guy is bound to say some stupid things, Rob saving the worst for first, with that jarring "undisputed heavyweight champion of the world" line. But mostly, the Metal God - and probably more pointedly his engine, guitarists Roy Z and Metal Mike Chlasciak - deliver various metal alloys comfortable in their own unpolished patinas, the Halford band almost resigning themselves to battle with all power metal comers and even the more ragged version of that army, the post-NWOBHMers. 'Cos frankly, the first thing I thought of when I heard this thing was the hurried, inspired mayhem that was Saxon's Power & The Glory, which saw that band wholly transformed as if they were loosened up and away from second-guessing by a six pack apiece. That's what I get out of Made Of Metal (and that includes the crappy cover art, which sez, "We're in too much of a hurry to care about that - just put us in a room and let us turn up"). Love the carnal, biting production, again, the contrast here with Resurrection and Crucible being that the guys - the gang - have been made stronger and more self-sustaining, more manly, by hammering out a way to make it in the new, unforgiving, rockscrabble version of the music biz. Rob's vocals are right there, white-knuckled by these realities, highlights like 'Speed Of Sound', 'Like There's No Tomorrow' and the Foghat-wearing 'Till The Day I Die' finding him and his guys pouring their hearts into the metal but smartly, energetically, moving on after too many takes make the construction too corporate. Swim through the tincture though (is it just me, but once deep into the middle, are there some compromised productions?), and there are welcome recurring melodies of sorts Rob's rarely embraced (again, years back, was he too uptight? Were the stakes too high?), choruses usually improve upon the riff and stick in the head, surprises make one crack a smile at the lack of ego. And man, there's even a song called 'Matador' which is actually about that, which is OK 'cos you kind of figure it's a bit tongue-in-cheek, picturing the guys having a chortle as Rob spits out the occupational tale like Udo singing about Russia. But what killer Euro-metal music, again, indicative or evocative of a hand-to-hand wrassle with the magic of the NWOBHM - this one's pre-chorus is just one of dozens of magic metal nuggets scattered about the foundry that is Halford built for battle.
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