Title - 'Celestial'
Artist - Rob Halford with Family & Friends
For those not in the know, Celestial actually marks Rob Halford's second album of Christmas music (the first was Halford III: Winter Songs), re-made in a Heavy Metal style.
In making the album which includes interpretations of traditional festive songs 'Away in a Manger', 'The First Noel', 'Good King Wenceslas' and many more - Rob has been joined by a number of associates, friends and family.
As well as the traditional Christmas songs, Celestial (out October 18th, 2019 via Legacy Recordings/Sony) also includes four brand new original songs recorded specially for the project.
2. 'Donner and Blitzen'
3. 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'
4. 'Away In a Manger'
5. 'Morning Star'
6. 'Deck the Halls'
7. 'Joy to the World'
8. 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'
9. 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'
10. 'The First Noel'
11. 'Good King Wenceslas'
12. 'Protected by the Light'
Better known for his longstanding work with Judas Priest (with solo stuff abounding also within Fight, Two, and Halford), Halford is joined here by a comforting inner circle of family and friends (unlike that aforementioned Christmas album, where hard rockers such as both “Metal” Mike Chlasciak (guitar) and Bobby Jarzombek (drums) helped turn up the noise, so to speak.
This brand new album is chock full of twelve songs - four originals and eight classic favorites - with the opening title track immediately placing you outside on a cold snowy day, as a choir backed lovingly by a delicate organ play for you.
They then give way to galloping hooves and harmonious church bells, before the age-old "voice" of Santa Claus comes front and center. Things go a wee bit heavier for 'Donner and Blitzen,' which is why you'll quickly be able to spot the JP vibe!
Next up is a fabulous rendition of 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,' albeit not the one that your parents ever introduced you to, with the '80s musicality of 'Away In a Manger' along next.
'Morning Star' and 'Deck the Halls's are as massive a rock sound as you could ever hope them to be, fronted by dual guitars and with Halford on vocals. Then comes a shorter 'Joy to the World' which is backed nicely by a beautiful, almost perfect blend of both genres within 'O Little Town of Bethlehem.'
Basically a bit of extended time for Halford to showcase his more somber, yet always tuneful side, it's not long before those aforementioned dualing guitars come a'knockin'!
'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing' is one of the warmest tracks on this album, given the production values of a metal undertone, with 'The First Noel' taking the path of a more subtle guitar and keyboard moment.
The album then rounds out with much the same vibe for 'Good King Wenceslas,' with the last, but never least track warm organ glow of 'Protected By The Light' bringing things to a cozy close.
Rob Halford @ Facebook