Remember When: Rob Halford Recorded with Pantera for the ‘Buffy’ Movie Soundtrack

Rob Halford was a fan of Pantera from the first moment he was exposed to them. Judas Priest were rehearsing for the Painkiller Tour in Toronto in the summer of 1990 when one afternoon he tuned into Canada’s version of MTV, MuchMusic, as they were showing an interview with Dimebag Darrell. The guitarist from Pantera was sporting a British Steel t-shirt that caught Halford’s eyes, and once the video for “Cowboys from Hell” was aired the Priest screamer felt compelled to go to the studio and meet the band.

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That night, Halford saw the Texas quartet tear up the stage of a local Toronto club, and he even joined them onstage for two Priest covers. Priest ultimately took Pantera on tour with them for the European leg of the Painkiller Tour. This was Priest’s heaviest album ever, and a brutal young band opening for them seemed apropos. Halford felt Pantera were an important part of keeping metal alive in the ‘90s after the pop-metal revolution of the late ‘80s had diluted the genre’s mainstream heaviness.

Slaying on the Buffy Soundtrack

In 1992, Halford was offered the opportunity to record a solo track for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, so he reached out to his new friends.

“I was lucky enough to record with them in the early ‘90s,” Halford told Metal Hammer in 2018. “We did a song together, ‘Light Comes Out of Black,’ for the soundtrack to the original Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie. At the time I was in Phoenix and the job had to be done really quickly. I called Dimebag and he said, ‘Just come on down.’ I said, ‘When?’ and he said, ‘Whenever you want.’ So I got on the plane the next day to Dallas, got a cab to the studio and ran through the rough demos that I’d put together. Everyone was like, ‘Got it.’ And bang, we wrapped the whole thing up in a couple of hours.”

Innocence is falling
Raptures in the past
Craving for salvation of the mind

Serenity is calling
Seeking only truth
Vision block forever left behind

Light comes out of black
Stand and face the fear
Give him eye to eye
Walk the walk right here 

“Light Comes Out of Black” was definitely a heavier song for Halford that suited his voice, and it fell in line with Painkiller, which was heavier than anything Priest had ever done. With Pantera, the guitars were tuned lower and the sound more stripped down and raw. Phil Anselmo offered background bellows during the chorus, while Dimebag served up a boisterous solo in the middle. The Buffy song marked the first time their frontman performed a solo track. It was a solid headbanger that offered a different musical direction and started feeding his itch to try other musical projects.

A 10-Year Separation

Indeed in 1992, Halford took a break from Priest in order to pursue a solo career. But miscommunication and a misunderstanding with the band and their management—not to mention Sony forcing his hand as he claimed they were not initially interested in him going solo—eventually led to him quit the iconic group, even though he intended it to be temporary. It became a longer parting of ways than he foresaw happening. Sony did sign his new band Fight (which had a clear Pantera influence), but as Halford later admitted in his memoir Confess, he didn’t really set things straight with Priest early on in the conflict, and that led to a 10-year separation during which he embarked on a solo career with the groups Fight, 2wo, and Halford. His former bandmates later soldiered on with new singer Tim “Ripper” Owens for two studio and two live releases.

Priest and Halford reunited in 2003 and have been together ever since, having released five more studio albums and toured the world, including their 50th anniversary tour. They were also inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2022.

“Light Comes Out of Black” is one of those fun discoveries many fans may not have known about at the time or younger fans may not be aware of at all, especially since no single was made available and most of the Buffy soundtrack featured non-metal acts. It didn’t get a lot of press beyond the metal world, but it was Halford’s chance to stretch his wings and an opportunity to play with a band that he revered. And fans got a little gem out of the one-time collaboration.

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Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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