by Martin Popoff
First of all, see him live and you’ll like this record just that little bit more… if there’s room for that, and I think there is. Rob’s got this hunched, wrenched, swivel-shoulder deliberateness which looks somewhat angry, more like a man on a mission, a presentation that elevates the plain straightline metal of his new material to the level of royalty that the man exudes. Yes, resurrection indeed, felt most thoroughly when the man launches into “Stained Class.”
The first thing one notices about this record is its punch, its verve, underscored by two fast-trackers opening the album, both about Rob and metal, metal and Rob, a theme that maybe recurs, albeit metaphorically, a bit too much. But things bowl you over quick here, Rob’s delivery (for he is one of the great deliverers of a naff lyric, on par with Freddie), the singing, singeing twin leads, which are pretty much Tipton/Downing with brains, and the tidy grooves created by Halford’s rhythm section. It’s a great band backing a great man, who’s biggest fault here is that he’s made a safe, predictable career move, Resurrection containing no surprises. Okay one… After dispensing with the obvious crowd-pleasers on the album, vaguely irritated as I did so, I found great depth in tracks like “Silent Screams,” “Night Fall,” “Slow Down” and the poppy “Twist,” the latter co-written by Bob Halligan Jr., who’s worked with Priest and BÖC in the past, and now does country stuff in Nashville. Add it all up and there’s considerable variety, tons of great vocal melodies, the aforementioned controlled but explosive punch, and a flawless bundling of the whole thing by producer Roy Z. who’s conjured similar magic with Bruce Dickinson, but in more of a literary direction. Something nags me about this record. It’s all there on the surface. But that surface is pleasing in and of itself, polished chrome, reflecting steel, experts methodically crafting some beautiful metal featuring the genre’s preeminent personality, a man who one senses has a love/hate relationship with this metal monster, wrapped in complicated feelings of acceptance, fear of rejection and an urge to keep firing his flaming youth.