Crucible

Resurrection, the debut album of ex-Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford's namesake band, won widespread head-banging approval from metal critics in 2000.

Resurrection, the debut album of ex-Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford's namesake band, won widespread head-banging approval from metal critics in 2000. While its follow-up, Crucible, is commendable, it nevertheless encounters turbulence of the dreaded sophomore slump kind. There are plenty of terrific moments, including the blistering guitar work on "Hearts of Darkness," the progressive melody of "Sun," and the Middle Eastern flavor of the title cut. But Crucible seems to struggle to maintain the band's musical identity, at times revisiting the compositional work of late-'80s Metallica and Iron Maiden. Still, songs like "One Will" "Handing Out Bullets," and "Weaving Sorrow" are guaranteed to please Priest and Halford fans. In a live setting, expect such anthemic tracks to take on larger-than-life personalities.—CLT