Gallery of Classics: 2wo - Voyeurs

It's funny how you re-discover music you've been amazed by a long time ago and how you get a physical hold of it again sometimes. In this case, it's been 20 years since the record first came out - and I had to browse through CDs in a record shop in Winnipeg to be reminded of it. In 1998, my musical taste was quite different from what I listen to these days. Some of my favorite bands from that time still stick with me - the Foo Fighters for example - while others have vanished. I was more into Metal, but at the same time I had a thing for Industrial - with the second Rammstein record and  "Symbols" by KMFDM on heavy rotation. It was quite surprising to see Rob Halford, at that time not a member of Judas Priest, teaming up with modern metal guitar wizard John 5 under the name "2wo" - and with Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor being in the executive producer seat. Reznor shaped the sound of this record, and if you're a NIN disciple, you will enjoy this record for sure.

Halford had been putting out modern metal music with his Post-Priest-Band "Fight" but this one was an entirely new direction. You'll definitely recognize Rob Halfords voice, but you can also tell how he enjoys exploring other facets of his vocal range. Combined with the rough and raw guitar sound that sounded like acid running through rusty pipes, "Voyeurs" was a bold experiment that didn't get the appreciation it deserved - not in sales and also not in reviews.

The record starts with the driving single "I Am a Pig" and its haunting chorus. The video was made by a porn director and teases SM imagery that is also seen in the booklet. I remember watching the clip on "Metalla," the only Metal show on German TV and thinking to myself: "Oh my!" I cannot remember why I did not buy the record at that time but I guess there was a lot of good music and I had only money to buy a couple of CDs now and then. Now I'm listening to "Deep in the ground" and it's just astounding how the joyful chorus sticks in your ears - just like bubblegum, so there's a reason that they call certain pop songs bubblegum. Or "Hey, Sha La La": Is it really possible that the Metal God, the Leather Rebel sings such an easy listening tune? It was, but it did not concern so many fans. Songs such as "Bed of Razors" with its 80s-touch or the blistering "Stutter Kiss" are really catchy and linger with you for quite a while. Today, with the fourth Priest album since Halford's return "Firepower" still resonating, we can look back and enjoy this album for what it is: a different side of his musical works that makes for a great soundtrack when you're looking for instant coolness or if you want to revisit a time when it was still exciting to see styles being mixed together.

You can watch a rare live performance of 2wo here: