Rob Halford's Metal Ear Candy
You might expect that Rob Halford's tastes would lean toward power metal bands in the great Judas Priest tradition. But on this playlist he put together for Rhapsody to mark the occasion of Priest's long-awaited new album, Redeemer of Souls, metal's leather king suggests his current listening veers much more toward radio-ready, active-to-extreme hard rock on metal's cusp: Volbeat, Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, Stone Sour, Alter Bridge, Five Finger Death Punch, and so on. Aside from picks from 1990 and 2000, respectively, by thrash O.G.s Slayer and Megadeth, most of these 19 songs came out in the past couple years; even the track by Black Sabbath (the only band here more venerable than Priest themselves) is from 2013.
Three bands — Halestorm, In This Moment and Lacuna Coil — are fronted by fierce women; Halestorm's "Straight Through the Heart" is one of two selections from the early 2014 tribute album Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life, the other being Jack Black-led joke-metal duo Tenacious D's take on "The Last In Line." Outside Denmark's Volbeat, Italy's Lacuna Coil and Ontario's Three Days Grace, all the bands come from the United States, including two (Sevendust and wrestler Chris Jericho-fronted Fozzy) from Atlanta; exactly zero come from the U.K. like Judas Priest did. Trivium, Powerman 5000, Mudvayne/Nothingface/Pantera spinoff Hellyeah and ex-Metallica/Voivod/Flotsam and Jetsam bassist Jason Newsted's current outfit Newsted also make appearances. To Rob Halford's ears, they're clearly all living after midnight, breaking the law and delivering the goods; if you doubt him, you've got another thing comin'.