Sip and Spin

“Music isn’t just for listening, it’s a lifestyle. Every record, every record store, and every piece of gear tells a story. Sip… Spin… Repeat..”

When this album came out, I had no idea what to make of it. I’m a metal head through and through, but this was nowhere near my radar. In fact, I didn’t even buy this album. I spend my 9 to 5 working in the music industry and every so often we get some comp’ed albums. Last year we got a few in and a co-worker asked if I wanted this album (shoutout to my dude Torey). From the sound of it “A Rob Halford Christmas album” seems like nothing I would really be interested in. But then I saw the album cover…

I mean, how could I not take this home for a spin? It’s Rob FUCKING Halford, looking metal as all hell, with snowflakes all around him. I’m down for whatever is about to happen. Let’s do it! To drink with this one, I have a can of Goose Island Christmas IPA. It might just very well be my new Winter beer of choice and has a very similar color as this festive gold vinyl I’m about to play.

Before we begin, I want to say that I had no idea his band “Halford” came out with a Christmas album 10 years prior so I was coming into this cold. Having said that, I noticed that this album is by “Rob Halford with Family and Friends” which had me curious. Who is in this band? Well, it’s actually a pretty cool concept. The holiday season is all about surrounding yourself with the ones you love so why not make and record some music (if you have the means to do that i suppose)!. The band is composed of his brother Nigel on drums, his nephew Alex (and son of Priest bassist Ian Hill) on bass, his sister Sue on bells, and guitarists Robert Jones and Jon Blakey who I assume are the friends in this equation.

Rob on pulling this band together, “I think the holidays for any family are a mixture of fun and excitement and apprehension of the whole event. The magic of it more than anything else. It’s just a beautiful time of year – which a lot of us wish would be for every day of the year. It’s a beautiful thing as far as bringing families together. So, what better way to celebrate it than with your family, friends…and music. You must have music at Christmas time.” I agree Rob, now let’s sip and spin.

The album is made up of old classic Christmas tunes, most you likely know, as well as some originals. When I first threw this album on, my head is thinking this is going to be a Judas Priest Christmas album. Well the original first track of “Donner and Blitzen” is basically that. Heavy AF original Christmas tune. I mean, I’m now ready to go to war riding into battle on Santa’s sleigh. That is what we are getting here and I’m all about it. Classic Halford.

Next we get into some older tunes kicking off with “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”. I dig the guitar work on this one. Some nice solos in here. Another heavy track but you can feel a transition and things are about to slow down with the next 2 songs “Away in the Manger” and the original “Morning Star”. They are fine… the religious Christmas songs aren’t my thing but, I get it.

Back to the heavy?

First a sip…

“Deck the Halls” is probably the heaviest track on the album. Should I say that again? A sentence that has likely never been brought into existence? Ok then…

“Deck the Halls” is probably the heaviest track on the album.

I just want to be in a pit where Rob Halford is just screaming over a PA system “FA-LALALALA-LA-LA-LA-LA!!!!” in his most iconic Rob Halford metal voice. HELL. YEAH. You will find this vibe again on Side B with “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”.

Ok, I jumped the gun a bit on Side B, but we essentially follow the same formula: Heavy tunes such as the above mentioned and “Joy to the World”, slower classics like “The First Noel”, and another original called “Protected By the Light”. This album shows a full spectrum of rock, metal, and slower music. Having said that, this is still very much tailored to the metal demographic.

“The great thing about heavy metal is it’s got these kinds of multiple dimensions,” explains Rob. “I think when you look at it from an outside point of view – if you’re not really familiar with the metal scene – it can look pretty intimidating. And it is a very strong, powerful experience. But it comes at different levels. I think the music that we’ve made on Celestial, for example, gives a display of that. Metal maniacs – as we call ourselves – are just as ready for the holidays as everybody else. And what we’ve tried to do with this music is to reach out to as many of those metal dimensions as we possibly can.”

This holiday season, give “Celestial” a spin. Maybe while opening presents or having dinner with your family. They’re going to love it!

Thanks guys! I hope you all dug this review as I had fun writing it. This will be the last of the year so please have a wonderful holiday with the ones closest to you and a very happy and safe New Year!

As they say… SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!!!!!

Label: Legacy ‎– 19075888411

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album – Limited Edition, Gold

Country: US

Released: 18 Oct 2019

Store: Record label comp


Follow Mike D. on Instagram @sip_and_spin

Check out Mike D.’s Discogs Store:

Mike D
Mike DColumnist, Recordholic, Storyteller
My name is Mike, and I am a Recordholic. I am a Long Island born and raised husband and father of 2 boys that have worked in the music industry for over 8 years. Music has always been my life. I consider myself a multi-instrumentalist but my main instrument would be the bass guitar. As a collector of music, starting with tapes followed by CD’s, I began collecting records in 2014. Every record, record store, and piece of gear tells a story. Grab a drink and join me as I share my stories with you.

LET’S TOAST TOGETHER – Subscribe to “Sip and Spin”