JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford will release a new solo album, "Rob Halford With Family & Friends: Celestial" , on October 18 via Legacy Recordings .
"Celestial" marks Halford 's second album of Christmas music, 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" also includes four brand new original songs recorded specially for the project.
"Celestial" track listing:
02. Donner And Blitzen
03. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
04. Away In A Manger
05. Morning Star
06. Deck The Halls
07. Joy To The World
08. O Little Town Of Bethlehem
09. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
10. The First Noel
11. Good King Wenceslas
12. Protected By The Light
The official music video for the first single from "Celestial" , a song called "Donner And Blitzen" , can be seen below.
HALFORD 's first holiday CD, "Halford III - Winter Songs" , came out in 2009. The disc was a collection of new Halford -penned tracks plus traditional holiday favorites presented with original arrangements by HALFORD ( Rob Halford on vocals, Roy Z. on guitar, Metal Mike Chlasciak on guitar, Mike Davis on bass and Bobby Jarzombek on drums).
In a 2009 interview with Exclaim.ca , Rob stated about his decision to record a Christmas album with the HALFORD band: "Just by association, I think that when everybody heard that the Metal God was doing a Christmas album, they had a sharp taking [in] of breath. But that's to be expected. The fact of the matter is that I've the luxury of a solo career that lets me do the unexpected. Having said that, like everybody else, I just love the Christmas holidays. I do the same things that everyone else does. In my mind, it's not that much of a stretch.
"I did this for a few reasons but the main genesis was a moment for me personally to express myself in a way that I've never done before," he continued. "I just want to do what's important to me. As a musician, that's the way it should be. You stand by your choices. It just took a while to get to the point where we all wanted to do it. Once that decision was made, we ran with it.
"When you're covering such great composers, it's inspiring to have the opportunity to cover work that's already established and given various kinds of treatments," he said. "And for you to enjoy the challenge of putting your distinctive approach on the arrangements. That was important for us when we put this together: to make sure we could give it the HALFORD band stamp."
Regarding the band's ability to pen some thematically similar yet equally epic and raucous originals for the Christmas record, Rob said: "When we first agreed to do this type of record, there wasn't any inclination to go into self-composing mode because there's so much great material already out there. But the ideas started to flow forth and we were all so excited and inspired by the music we were covering that it was natural to be motivated and noodle around with ideas that came. You feed off each other's creativity. It was unexpected but it was great. It was a treat to show that as a band, we can also step forward in the spirit of the season and make music that fits with everything else we've done."
On the topic of a potential sophomore holiday affair should the opportunity arise again, Halford said: "I had so much fun making this record. They're very uplifting songs. We'll see how it goes. The global reception has been strong so far and there were many other tracks/opportunities to cover in this vein that we didn't get to this time. If we've got enough to make full release, maybe we'll go for it."