1. The Mower
What’s the fuss? – 3,5/10
There’s absolutely no reason for you to hold on to your seats. Nothing exciting has happened in the past few weeks and now we’re even starting to worship songs that are in fact ships lost at sea lead by a broken compass. And as soon as this compass tends to point north for only a few seconds we immediately convince ourselves that the Metal God is back. He is not. Only now, we are sure that he is gone for good.
This song is different from other Halford releases in terms of sound. It’s also the first time a Halford song begins with narration. When we’re done telling bedtime stories we receive an outburst of heaviness and the guitar and bass drums smoothly fire a round of bombastic heaviness. Not really original, but never seen before at Halford. Then, our beloved vocalist Rob Halford comes in. The last time he used his convincing screaming falsetto was on the Crucible record in a song like “Betrayal”. We heard him at two Priest albums and a holiday record since, and wise men have already concluded Rob Halford to be too old for this. Yet he manages to release a studio recording such as “The Mower”, this one, featuring his high screaming falsetto. Except, there’s something wrong... it’s even painfully wrong. It doesn’t go as fluent as ever before and this just seems as an obligation to the fans. The man is old, but still doesn’t want to admit it. His screams do reach his notes, with the help of some studio editing, but it truly sounds as if the man squeezed it out of himself, thus giving his last breath.
Alright, the rest of the song. Well, it pretty much doesn’t really get interesting. The bombastic salvo of guitar and bass drums continues to merge with Halford’s deathscream to the mid of the track. At that point, the song speeds up a little and lets Mike Chlasciak and Roy Z give us a one note palm-mute riff. In the meantime they sometimes play some random powerchords and Halford screams a bit maniacally and out of control. After a while the drum becomes bombastic with its tom-toms and the noise continues. Then the guitarists enter with a mediocre riff and a non-impressive guitar solo sounds through the speakers. And so it goes on a little with some variation in the drumming pattern and some more headaching screams from our has-been Metal God. Frankly, at the end it even starts to become a little cool, but that was only just a few seconds before the end, which is celebrated with a grunt from Halford?! Anyway, I guess it’s pretty clear now that the track is not really a reason to bang your head, unless you would bang it to the wall, but I assure you that deleting the single will be more helpful to the situation.
In short, this is quite a boring song that could sound impressive if you never heard Robbie Halford or metal before in your life, but for experienced listeners this should be a real letdown. If, however, the upcoming Halford IV album features inventive material in the same style, I could still be interested. But “The Mower” ain’t doin’ it for me.
2 weeks ago