Halford’s Winter Songs: Was that really necessary?

Every holidays since its 2009 release, I play Rob Halford‘s 3rd solo album, Winter Songs, hoping to “get it”. And I don’t. Really, I don’t see the point. Don’t get me wrong, I have huge amounts of respect for Rob Halford, one of the greatest voices of metal and a flag bearer for the genre for more than 40 years (let’s forget about his industrial phase with Trent Reznor when he claimed metal was dead). The metal god can do whatever he pleases (I even kind of like Two, his industrial project), but was a metal Christmas album really necessary?

Whenever I try to envision the genesis of this project, the most stunning circumstance isn’t that someone went “Hey Rob, what about if you did a Christmas album?” but that someone at a record label went “Yeah, and we’ll release it!” (After checking, it was released on Halford‘s own label. Makes perfect sense.)

I’m playing the album as I write this, and it still doesn’t make sense to me. For his first solo release in 7 years, why choose to record a handful of traditional holiday songs, along with newly penned material in the same vein? He’s got a great voice, but are drums and crunching guitars really what’s needed to sell holiday music to metal heads?

The accompanying video for Get Into the Spirit is cringe worthy too. Halford’s trying to look the part of the Metal God while the band seems embarrassed to be there and doesn’t quite know how to act. (You can tell they’re mentally reviewing their contracts looking for what fine print they missed that’s forcing them to be there) Everyone looks way too serious to be making holiday music! Their version of  Oh, Holy Night is probably the only one that manages to avoid being terribly corny.

Has anyone managed to make good (hard) rocking Christmas music? How’s Twisted Sister’s Christmas album? (that’s a rhetorical question).


Jean-Frederic Vachon
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