Rob Halford Returns To Metal Roots

After several years of musical experimentation, former Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford has returned to the brand of screeching rock that made him a metal icon, and soon he'll also return to sold-out arenas, thanks to a slot on Iron Maiden's upcoming U.S. tour.

"I'm back home in the great world of heavy metal, which is where I was born and raised and where I shall finish my days," Halford declared to MTV News this week.

After leaving Priest in 1992, Halford offered a stripped-down sound with Fight, and then tinkered with industrial influence with Two. However, when the aptly titled "Resurrection" arrives on August 8, fans will find Halford and his new band (fittingly dubbed "Halford") once again adopting the "Metal God" form he introduced during his days with Priest.

"It's a

good feeling. I feel very

complete, very satisfied, and I think those elements and a lot more are coming out of the speakers from the Halford band in the new 'Resurrection' music," [RealVideo] Halford said.

Halford's new classic sound will no doubt please the legions of fans caught up in the new wave of British metal that Judas Priest helped to usher in during the '70s and '80s. But despite the success Priest found (or perhaps because of it), Halford said he desperately needed to expand his musical horizons.

"I lived in the house of Priest for 20 years, and it was a blast," Halford explained. "I had a great time, and I still have wonderful memories of that, but I kept peering behind the drapes and saying, 'What's across the street there?' I just felt that on a creative level, obviously, but also on a personal level, that I wanted to go ahead and explore all these other possibilities that are in the great, crazy

world of rock and roll." [RealVideo]

Halford notes that through that musical exploration he found "a lot of peace and contentment in the last few years," but adds that his return to metal form is a welcome one. "['Resurrection' is] my first metal album since [Judas Priest's 1990] 'Painkiller' release," Halford said. "At least in what I consider to be the true tradition: the qualities, the atmosphere, the emotions of metal are all in 'Resurrection,' so this does feel like this would have been the next record for me after the 'Painkiller' experience. It's all about the voice. It's still all about the voice. I've got this God-given voice, and I love using it, and it's still as strong and powerful as it ever was, which amazes me." [RealVideo]

So far, the move back to metal seems

to be paying off as many

observers, including Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson, are applauding Halford's latest effort. "He's just made this amazing record," Dickinson has said of Halford. "He is totally back with the whole Priest 'Screaming For Vengeance' thing. He's singing like a bird, albeit a tortured, twisted bird" (see "Iron Maiden Taps Halford, Queensryche For Tour").

Dickinson and Maiden have taken that faith in Halford's current direction even further, tapping him to join them and tourmates Queensryche for a North American tour that kicks off on August 1. Again, it's so far so good, as the tour is quickly selling out shows, including an August 5 concert at New York's Madison Square Garden that sold out in less than two hours.

If you want to catch Halford on the road with Maiden, here's where to look:

  • 8/1 - Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
  • 8/2 - Montreal, QB @ Molson Centre
  • 8/3 - Quebec City, QB @ Colisee Arena

  • 8/5 - New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
  • 8/6 - Boston, MA @ Tweeter Center
  • 8/8 - Hartford, CT @ Meadows Music Center
  • 8/11 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Starlake Amphitheatre
  • 8/12 - Philadelphia, PA @ E-Center
  • 8/13 - Scranton, PA @ Coors Light Amphitheatre
  • 8/15 - Detroit, MI @ Pine Knob Amphitheatre
  • 8/16 - Buffalo, NY @ Darien Lake Amphitheatre