If there’s any genre of music as inherently damned as heavy metal, it’s the blues. Dripping with the suffering and sadness of the black south from which it originated, the blues has always had roots in the dark side. Some even believe that famed blues guitarist Robert Johnson sold his sold to the Devil for his talent. Both sonically, and thematically, the blues has always influenced metal — but now, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford might be taking that connection to a whole new level.
In a recent interview with Darren Paltrowitz’s Paltrocast podcast as transcribed by MetalSucks, the metal god revealed that he’s got a blues album in the works.
“I’ve been working on this blues album with my brother [Nigel, drums] and my nephew [Alex Hill, son of Priest’s Ian Hill, bass] and friends that I worked with together on the Celestial album. We had such a great time, and they’re so talented. And that blues thing has never left me; it’s just part of rock and roll.
“So, it’s begun. We’re slowly putting bits and pieces together. There’s no timeline on it. We’re kicking the tires, and I’ve already got some bits of ideas here and there, and they sound great.”
On the one hand, metal has had its bluesy side since Black Sabbath first groaned onto the scene, so a metal singer making a blues album isn’t as huge a departure as one making, say, a K-pop album. On the other, Judas Priest were definitely a move away from metal’s heavy-blues style in the late ’70s and ’80s, in no small part due to Halford’s piercing shriek. So while metal singers making blues music isn’t far-fetched, Halford making one is certainly an interesting choice.
In any event, we look forward to hearing Rob sing about the woes of watching a train roll in while sitting on a crate. Even if that train is actually a cyborg dragon and the crate is full of human hearts.
Words by Chris Krovatin