A JUDAS PRIEST-re-union? is always the first question that the Metal God gets asked when he releases a new album. Of course it's gonna happen sometime mainly for the sake of JUDAS PRIEST, but based purely on merit Halford doesn't need his old band as much as they need him.
Put up the very disappointing "Demolition" up against "Crucible" and then you'll get the full picture. One album is a band of great legend floundering around the fringes of the Metal-world whilst the other is an album and band doing what the do to the best of their collective minds and turning in one of the finest Heavy Metal albums of the year.
"Resurrection" was as fine return to form as a Metal-fan could wish for. "Crucible" is better. Way better.
Halford has arrayed himself with a group of musicians who know what their leader demands of them and together they pin down thirteen tracks that are pure unselfish Heavy Metal. What a delight it is too.
Never mind the difficult second album vibe! This blows away many of the pretenders to the Metal-throne. Riffs, riffs and some more riffs all blast their way through the speakers. Glorious.
From the short opener "Park Manor" and onto the title track quickly followed by "One Will" the pace and sheer Metalness is unrelenting! A tighter than tight rhythm section sit behind some fantastic and solid soloing and guitar riffing. Mixing old era "Painkiller"-PRIEST with FIGHT and huge de-tuned axe work this album crushes all before it. If only JUDAS PRIEST could do this!
Mark my words this is as good as it gets. Halford's voice is epic, screeching, emotional, wailing, rough. Easily the best sound he has had in many years.
"Crucible" is the album that will make JUDAS PRIEST worried and if there is ever gonna be a reunion then it will be down to Halford to decide. And I can't see that happening for a while yet.
Let the Metal God deliver the goods! (Online August 2, 2002)