Unlike 2000's Resurrection, which was widely hailed as the album JUDAS PRIEST should have made after Painkiller, HALFORD's Crucible is a decidedly more diverse effort, featuring plenty of traditional metal moments while occasionally following a more experimental approach, thereby preventing this album from sounding like a carbon copy of its predecessor.From the classic PRIEST-style sounds of "Betrayal" ("Exciter" for the year 2002) to the moodier, more psychedelic overtones of "Crystal", Crucible is a balls-out heavy metal album that makes no bones about capitalizing on frontman Rob Halford's considerable legacy without blatantly rehashing the singer's past efforts. Ironically, it is Crucible's more immediate numbers, like the aforementioned "Betrayal" and the equally fast-paced "Handing Out Bullets", that pack the most punch and are almost certain to be embraced by Halford's rabid die-hard following, while its more adventurous numbers, like "Hearts Of Darkness", "Heretic", "Weaving Sorrow" and "Sun", rarely manage to rise above the generic territory, containing sub-par choruses and forgettable riffs, and ultimately bringing down the enjoyment level considerably. Although virtually all of the cuts here are of at least passable quality, there is a surprising lack of top-notch material, with only the title track coming close to matching the raw intensity of the last album's most memorable moments. Even the production, handled, once again, but the usually very capable Roy Z (i.e. BRUCE DICKINSON, HELLOWEEN) seems to be pretty uneven, failing to capture the depth required by some of the more experimental tracks while complimenting the aggressive nature of the more classic-sounding compositions. Despite its flaws, Crucible is a consistently more impressive album than JUDAS PRIEST's god-awful Demolition effort, and as such, it is certain to be hailed as a quality successor to HALFORD's debut. Far from a masterpiece, HALFORD's sophomore CD should at the very least keep the PRIEST purists happy until the inevitable reunion finally takes place—an event that is likely to happen sooner rather than later.
To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).