Rob Halford can even make Christmas metal. We recently talked to the Judas Priest frontman about his efforts on that front, specifically discussing his new holiday-themed solo album, Celestial, and soliciting his decorating and gift-giving advice. But with the end of the year right around the corner, we also had to find out what music rocked his world in 2019. Unlike many his age spouting off nonsense about how "rock is dead," Halford believes that heavy music is alive, well and kicking ass.
When we ask him to talk about some of his favorite albums of the year, the singer laughs. "I'm at the point in my life now where, if you don't put a list in front of me, it's kind of hard to look back!" he says. While Halford may have been caught off guard by the question, he doesn't hesitate to spotlight progressive-metal colossi Tool and their long-awaited fifth LP Fear Inoculum (Revolver's pick for Album of the Year). "I'm going crazy for the new Tool record," he enthuses. "It's something really fun."
"All I'll say is that 2019 has been another strong display of all things metal and all things hard rock, indie rock, alternative rock — however you want to call it," Halford continues. "There's just been so much of it throughout 2019, and it's just tremendous and reinforces the power of metal in particular, the power of metal music and it stands and continues to grow. As a metalhead who's gone through decades of when it was invented to now, it makes me feel good. It makes my metal heart strong. It's what inspires and invigorates us in Priest to look to see where might be in the future."
And Halford has a big year ahead of him: Priest are nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's 2020 class, and will be celebrating their 50th anniversary (the band formed in 1969, but didn't take on the name Judas Priest until 1970) with sure-to-be massive shows and much more to be announced. Yet, despite his many accomplishments, the singer still sees himself as a peer and a fan within the heavy-music community, which, in his eyes, is as tightly knit and vital in 2019 as ever.
"Everybody's joined together in music, you know," he concludes. "Everybody's checking everybody out, kind of feeding off each other's music we create. It's just wonderful. It's infectious."