Halford 2023 vinyl

Halford – Crucible & Made of Metal (Vinyl Edition Review)

Crowned a Metal God, Rob Halford has a last legacy like few others. Known famously as the leading voice for the iconic Heavy Metal band Judas Priest, historically, what sets Halford apart is his dynamic and extremely powerful vocal range. From a gruffer delivery to ear-piercing falsettos, Halford’s performances have shone through the decades on famous Judas Priest tracks such as 1976’s “Victim of Changes,” 1980’s “Breaking the Law,” and of course, 1990’s “Painkiller.”

Truly a generational talent, when Halford stepped away from Judas Priest back in 1992, after nearly two decades leading, many were shocked and dismayed. Fortunately, an ambitious Tim “Ripper” Owens stepped in for the band, all while Halford explored other sides of his musical being. First doing so with the rougher Fight, then briefly with the more Industrial Metal leaning Two, he later returned to a more traditional Heavy Metal style under the name Halford. Assembling a new band (with prime contributions from Guitarist Metal Mike Chlasciak, Drummer Bobby Jarzombek, Bassist Mike Davis, and Guitarist/Producer Roy Z), the first taste of this new endeavor arrived in 2000 with the amply titled Resurrection.

An astounding and inspiring return to form from Halford, it seemed as if a reunion with his former Judas Priest mates was almost imminent. Well, it was, because in 2003 he rejoined Judas Priest and remained with them ever since. Electrifying for the Heavy Metal genre, and obviously Judas Priest fans, it would be a disservice to toss away what Mr. Halford was building with Halford… because it was really quite good. As mentioned, beginning with Resurrection, the band also put out a great follow up in 2002 with Crucible, but due to a busy schedule with Judas Priest, many had thought Halford was all but on indefinite hiatus. However, in 2007 a compilation emerged called Metal Gods Essentials, Vol. 1, before a truly unique Christmas album, Halford III: Winter Songs, in 2009. Pleased to see the band still active, this was still not the end, because in 2010 they returned with the exceptional full-on Metal album Made of Metal, before touring as part of Ozzfest that summer to a fired up fanbase.

Keeping the torch burning, while Halford itself has been relatively quiet in the last decade plus since, thankfully these few records are not left in the sands of time… because in 2023 it was announced that two of them would be pressed to vinyl. Initially news that hit the public some time in October, both 2002’s Crucible and 2010’s Made of Metal arrived as double LP sets on December 16, 2023 through Manic Vision Records. Marking the first time either album has ever been pressed to wax, this special, yet limited edition releases comes in a plethora of color variants. How limited you might ask? Well, Crucible is offered in the colors black (900 units), neon violet (500 units), ghostly purple (500 units), and black purple/navy splatter (100 units). This is all while Made of Metal is presented in either a black (900 units), white (500 units), cornetto (500 unit), and ghostly (100 units).

A ton of variations to pick from, if you can get your hands on one, there were even a limited number of copies of each which are personally signed by Rob Halford. Something that would have been an absolutely wonderful Christmas gift, now six months later, it would make a great any occasion gift for the Metal lover in your life… which could honestly be solely yourself. Anyway, each pressing is of the highest quality in terms of packaging, but also the sound quality on the heavy gram vinyl. Beyond this, they are in a gatefold jacket which give you chance to read the credits and songs lyrics, all while spinning the albums in what becomes a very intimate listening session.

Overall, Crucible and Made of Metal are two stellar Halford albums that Manic Vision Records do a fine job reissuing. In hindsight, Crucible is certainly a carry over from Resurrection, in terms of style and sound. This all while Made of Metal takes on more a classic Heavy Metal texture that is reminiscent of something Rob Halford may have recorded with Judas Priest back in the ‘80s era. Each a great example of how Rob Halford is forever and always will be the Metal God, Cryptic Rock gives the vinyl reissues of both Crucible and Made of Metal 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Halford Crucible vinyl
Halford – Crucible
Halford Made of Metal vinyl
Halford – Made of Metal

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