ROB HALFORD: 'We Live In A World Today Now Where Lies Can Be Pushed So Strongly And So Forcefully That' They 'Become The Truth'

April 26, 2024

In a new interview with Planet Rock, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford spoke about the lyrical inspiration for the song "Trial By Fire", which appears on the band's latest album, "Invincible Shield". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Thinking of the words, it's a reference to the way that judgment and misconstrued perceptions and ideas can be put on you. And going deep, that's the society that we live with today. People can rush to judgment, people can bring in their own ideas and agendas that tip the balance of truth. We live in a world today now where lies can be pushed so strongly and so forcefully by powerful figures that a lie becomes the truth. And that's a terribly dangerous place to be. So, we're utilizing that type of open forum and discussion and bringing it into this title, 'Trial By Fire'."

When Planet Rock's Mark Jeeves noted that PRIEST has "always been a band with a social conscience", Rob said: "Yes. All the way back to 'Savage', which is about global warming, and that was in 1970-something. A lot of the times we don't make the message truly in the black-and-white sense; we leave it open to interpretation. The songs become their own entities. We let our fans have fun with the messages that we put out. Some of them are very straightforward and obvious — 'Breaking The Law', 'Living After Midnight' — but then in an opportunity like 'Panic Attack' or 'Trial By Fire', we go deeper. We let you find your own way and bring your own conclusions to the idea."

Three years ago, Halford was asked by one of the readers of U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine if politics have a place in metal. He responded: "Absolutely they do and I've been putting my two penn'orth into PRIEST's music for most of my life, but it's concealed by smoke and mirrors. Take a song like 'Evil Never Dies' [from 2018's 'Firepower' album]. I make some digs there and I know what I mean, but here's the thing, especially for a band like PRIEST: music is about escapism.

"If I hear one more thing about Brexit, I don't know what I will do," he added. "To me there's a place for politics and I applaud bands that make it important in what they do, but with me the clues are there if you want to look for them."

Back in 2018, Halford told Newsweek that he was "not a Donald Trump supporter," explaining that the then-U.S. president's policies had turned political divides into chasms and alienated minority groups like the LGBTQ community.

"It's a very shaky time right now," Rob said. "I have so much faith in this country. But it does seem as though the brakes have been slapped on. It's indeed disturbing, and it's such a shame, because throughout the Obama administration, tremendous things were achieved on the basis of human equality. That's the issue here. Treating one bunch of people this way, and treating this bunch that way. You can't do that. You have to give everybody the same rights."

Halford acknowledged that many PRIEST fans won't agree with those views, saying that "there's a ton of metalheads that are supportive of [the Trump] administration." But, he added, "That's great. That's okay. You're not bringing that to the show. We're there to all join together, and that is the beautiful thing about a free, transparent society — which we don't appear to have right now. Some fans are completely opposite to me politically. But we can still be in the same room and have a good time and hopefully have a good discussion while respecting each other's opinions."

Released last month, "Invincible Shield" entered the U.K. chart at No. 2, just behind Ariana Grande's "Eternal Sunshine".

Prior to "Invincible Shield"'s arrival, PRIEST's highest U.K. chart achievement was with 1980's "British Steel", which reached No. 4.

PRIEST's 2018 album "Firepower" entered the chart at No. 5.

"Invincible Shield" is JUDAS PRIEST's fifth Top 10 album, after the aforementioned "British Steel" and "Firepower", as well as 2014's "Redeemer Of Souls" (No. 6) and the 1979 live album "Unleashed In The East" (No. 10).

"Invincible Shield" landed at No. 1 in Germany, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as No. 5 in France, No. 8 in Italy and No. 16 in Australia.

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