David Ellefson Says Rob Halford’s Vocals Are ‘Beyond Human’

Former Megadeth bassist David Ellefson recently guested on Spin to name his top 5 albums he can’t live without. In the list, he included Judas Priest’s ‘Unleashed In The East,’ and also shared his admiration for the band’s frontman, Rob Halford.

The bassist listed the bands he had listened to before discovering Judas Priest and shared that he was unfamiliar with heavy metal until he came across the band. He stated:

“After a few years digging into American FM rock with bands like Aerosmith, Boston, Styx, and Nazareth, ‘Unleashed in the East’ landed on my turntable around 1979 or ’80, and it took me to a whole new level of understanding heavy music. Although I came to love hard rock in previous years, I quickly learned I had never really heard heavy metal until Judas Priest.”

Ellefson later expressed his opinions on the song ‘Exciter’ and Halford’s vocals, stating:

“This album opened with a feeling like you were actually in the audience at the concert in Japan where it was recorded. The double bass drum opening on ‘Exciter’ was next level punishing, the guitar work was so crisp with rich tone, and of course, Rob Halford’s vocals were simply beyond human. All of these individual and collective elements raised the bar and become the gold standard by which all heavy metal would be measured by me in years to follow.”

The bassist showed his admiration not only for the frontman but also for the bassist Ian Hill. In a 2019 interview, Ellefson claimed that he is Hill’s biggest fan and even revealed to have been studying his way of playing bass. He told Metal Underground:

“I am Ian Hill’s biggest fan. I have always admired his bass playing from the minute I heard it. It’s clean; it’s precise. I’ve emulated a lot of his style during probably the ’90s Megadeth when our songs got a little bit more mainstream; I emulated what Judas Priest went through when they had their big ’80s MTV years.”

He added:

“[…] If you think about the most formidable, probably iconic heavy metal bass player, he is it. Now I’m not just listening to these songs in my car as a fan, but to pick up the bass and really study what he’s doing, has really been an incredible education.”

Additionally, Ellefson told Metal Underground that the two bands had followed a similar path, which resulted in him and the band’s guitarist K.K. Downing forming a close bond ‘as kind of brothers in arms as professional musicians.’