Metal Returns: Megadeth, Halford, Slayer

The undeniable resurgence of classic heavy metal will continue in 2001 with substantial activity by several veteran heavy metal acts such as Megadeth, ex-Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford's Halford pr

The undeniable resurgence of classic heavy metal will continue in 2001 with substantial activity by several veteran heavy metal acts such as Megadeth, ex-Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford's Halford project, and Slayer.

Megadeth -- which, as previously reported, will on May 15 release its next album, "The World Needs A Hero" -- will be under the microscope of a spring episode of VH1's acclaimed series "Behind The Music." Band founders Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson were interviewed for the show, as was former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman, former drummer Nick Menza, and former touring guitarist Chris Poland.

Others who will help tell tale of the band are filmmaker Penelope Spheeris (who included the band in her documentary "Decline of Western Civilization 2: The Metal Years"), Ellefson's mother, and Mustaine's former Metallica bandmates James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich.

The episode will debut in prime time two days before the release of "Hero," the band's first album for the Sanctuary label. The album will be preceded by the radio-only single, "Moto Psycho," in late March. A world tour in support of "Hero" is planned. Megadeth's last studio album for Capitol, 1999's "Risk," bowed at No. 16 on The Billboard 200.

Halford will on April 17 release "Insurrection," a mostly live album that will include three newly recorded studio tracks -- "Screaming In the Dark," "Heart Of A Lion," and "Prisoner Of Your Eyes." Most notable of these is "Heart Of A Lion," a never recorded 1983-era Priest track written by Halford with two of his former Judas Priest bandmates, guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton.

The Metal-Is/Sanctuary album's 24 live tracks were captured during Halford's 2000 world tour, which included a North American arena run supporting reinvigorated metal act Iron Maiden and Queensryche. The track list pretty fairly reflects the artist's entire career, led by seven tracks from Halford's debut, "Resurrection," plus two -- "Hell's Last Survivor" and "Sad Wings" -- released only on the Japanese pressing of that album.

Last August, "Resurrection" debuted at No. 16 on Billboard's Top Internet Album Sales chart, but only managed at No. 140 showing on The Billboard 200.

Also included are 11 Judas Priest songs (including "Stained Class," "Breaking The Law," and "Genocide"), a trio of songs from Fight, Halford's first post-Priest band, and his solo track "Light Comes Out Of Black," from the 1992 soundtrack to the film "Buffy The Vampire Slayer." The only aspect of his career not represented is Two, his ill-fated collaboration with Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor.

Not to be left out of the mix is pioneering thrash metal outfit Slayer, which has begun work on a new studio album. The band, led by guitarist Kerry King, is in a Vancouver studio with producer Matt Hyde (Monster Magnet), who produced the band's track "Bloodline" for the "Dracula 2000" soundtrack. Slayer's last studio album, 1998's "Diabolus In Musica" (American/Columbia), debuted at No. 31 on The Billboard 200.