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Review by
E.C.McMullen Jr.
Nothing/Interscope Records.

Here comes Rob Halford back with another band. For those who remember his first major band, JUDAS PRIEST, then you noticed that said band was languishing until they found 'Ripper' Owens, whose biggest value to the rest of Priest was that he could ape the voice and stage show of Rob. Rob didn't like the idea, but he showed no sign of returning to his old bandmates. That was a shame because while his first album WAR OF WORDS with his band FIGHT was a really good beginning, the second FIGHT was so bad that I returned it to the store on the same night. Ian Hill (Priest bassist) and Scott Travis (Long time Priest Drummer), who followed Rob to Phoenix (Scott Travis became the drummer for FIGHT) have returned to the Priest fold again. It's interesting to note that new Priest vocalist Ripper is a U.S. citizen because it seems that both Priest and Rob are getting Americanized.

Not that this is a good thing.

Musically, VOYEUR reminds me of the kind of rock and roll that the ANIMALS and the KINKS were laying down back in the sixties. In fact, with the exception of Trent Reznor's "Executive Producer" influence on Producer/Engineer Bob Marlette and Engineer/Mixer Dave 'Rave' Ogilvie, it could come off sounding very much like a lost studio taping of ANIMALS and KINKS. That is, until you hear the lyrics.

Big "Huh?" there.

Get this lyric sample from MY CEILING'S Low:
The Collar Fits / It's 'Round My Neck / A Limping Full / I Am A Wreck
The Window's Black / My Suit Is Grime / Throw Me A Crumb / The Cake's Not Mine
My Ceiling's Low, My Ceiling's Low / If You Should Lose Your Head / You Can Use Mine Instead / I Will Throw You Your Hat / 'Cause I Know Where It's At

All the lyrics are cut from that same cloth! Even DANZIG can do better than that!

So can Rob.

So what is he up to? I got the feeling that he's trying to be heavy nutso mystical like Marilyn Manson or NIN. Thing is, both of those bands are right up front, make no bones about what it is that they are saying, even WITH all of the onstage spookiness. What I feel from this album is that Rob Doesn't get it. He doesn't understand where Metal has gone or how to be a part of it anymore. Simply getting on the Interscope label is not going to do it for him. The outstanding talents of such masters of their craft like Bob Ludwig, The Factory, and Warehouse Studios can't do it all either.

I've heard many a good band whose music was muddled by poor mastering / mixing / engineering. But all the mixing and producing in the world isn't going to save this drink coaster. This bugs me rotten because I know that Rob can really nail it. He did on WAR OF WORDS, which is a better album than Priest's JUGULATOR. Forget the Interscope sound, Rob. Go back to being you and tear ass forward. This album is a one skull-er.

Perplex Skull

This review copyright 1998 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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