Thrash Hits

January 18th, 2012

2012 Album Preview: Judas Priest – TBC

Judas Priest GIANT Richie Faulkner head Thrash Hits

Judas Priest
Title TBC
Epic Records
ETA Autumn 2012

What they’re saying:
2011 was a turbulent year for Judas Priest – indeed, it was a year which could have very easily ended their decades-long career. When the Epitaph World Tour was announced back in December 2010, everything sounded a bit final. We’ve left their use of CAPITAL LETTERS in because we like to imagine Rob Halford reading this out loud and he’s screaming those bits:

“After storming the world for nearly 40 years… JUDAS PRIEST have announced this will be their final world tour… the band will be giving all their fans one last chance to witness the ultimate metal experience that is JUDAS PRIEST!”

Later in April 2011, the reasons behind sich decisions started to become clear, when news broke of founding guitarist K.K Downing’s decision to retire from the band to focus on golf courses and wedding marquees. Thankfully, Judas Priest found a killer stand-in in the form of Richie Faulkner (formerly of Lauren Harris). After the internet suffered some initial (understandable, if in reality entirely misplaced) misgivings about the replacement of one of the cornerstones of one of heavy metal’s most important bands, the response to the Epitaph tour ended up being very good indeed. So much so that by September 2011, the Metal God himself confessed to Billboard magazine that there is some new music in the pipeline:

“We have about 12 or 14 tracks completely mapped out, four of which have been recorded and mixed and are ready to go… so the good news is that there will be a brand new Priest record next year.”

Watch Judas Priest playing ‘Panikiller’ at High Voltage festival 2011:

In regards to the sound of the new material, Halford soon let more information slip in an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock:

“Glenn [Tipton, guitar] and I started to write in the early part of January this year. We just went to it from the heart really, there was no specific agenda or idea, as opposed to what we had to do with Nostradamus, which was very focused and a real anchor of a project. This one has just been some straight-forward, classic British heavy metal. Some of it feels a bit like Painkiller“, some of it feels like Sad Wings Of Destiny, some like British Steel. We didn’t do much research, we didn’t bother checking some of our previous releases, we didn’t do any homework, we just sat down and played, you know? Glenn came up with riffs and I came up with vocal melodies. There was no outside influence or interference in the writing sessions. We just started the day, plugged in some amps, got the mic up and made the metal that way. It’s a very pure record, in that respect.”

Thrash Hits verdict:
It seems the new boy Richie Faulkner has injected some new life into the Priest, and this record sounds like is has an awful lot of potential. Anyone that was there at High Voltage last year will have seen the new gunslinger looking more than comfortable on stage – and that was only a few shows in. The band have confirmed that he will be contributing to their new album, even if stylistically everything will remain as usual. While Judas Priest’s last studio effort, Nostradamus, was met with mixed reactions, the fresh blood on board and the re-vitalising effect of those 30th anniversary performances of British Steel (which took place before K.K. left), could prove to be just be the perfect cocktail for the Judas Priest album we’re all hoping for.

Guitar solo potential: 6/6 (Richie Faulkner + Glenn Tipton = GUITARMAGGEDON)


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