JUDAS PRIEST members Rob Halford (vocals),Scott Travis (drums) and Richie Faulkner (guitar) spoke to Metal Hammer magazine about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's follow-up to "Firepower" album. Released in March 2018, "Firepower" was the second LP to feature Faulkner, who was selected to fill the void left by founding guitarist K.K. Downing following his exit in 2011.
"We started the year prepping the next JUDAS PRIEST metal masterpiece," Rob said. "We had one massive writing session together and we've got an enormous amount of material stacked up, which is really thrilling after the glorious response we had to 'Firepower'."
"It's gonna be good," added Travis. "Rob's always excited about new music, which is great, because he's such a creative guy and when you are that creative, naturally you never rest on your laurels. You always want to do something new and get it out there."
Faulkner talked in more detail about PRIEST's songwriting process, saying: "We compile all our ideas and get together and throw them in the pot and see what sticks, then see what lights up the room, see what Rob grabs hold of. It might be a riff that Rob really gets his teeth into that inspires a lyric or an intro, verse or chorus and suddenly you've got the nucleus of a song."
Last month, Faulkner told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" that the creative process for PRIEST's next LP was halted by the coronavirus outbreak, which disrupted global travel.
"We started on the new record earlier in the year — me, Glenn [Tipton, guitar] and Rob — and we all went home for the summer," Richie said. "We were all gonna reconvene later on. 'Cause we really wanna get back together and do it all together — that's the way the magic happened on 'Firepower' — and we just haven't had the chance to be able to do that. But as soon as we can, and as soon as we get back to some sort of normality, we'll get back in the studio and continue with it."
Halford resides in Phoenix, Faulkner in Nashville and Tipton still calls his native United Kingdom his home.
"Firepower" entered the Billboard 200 chart at position No. 5, making it PRIEST's highest-charting album ever. "Redeemer Of Souls" debuted and peaked at No. 6, while 2008's "Nostradamus" landed at No. 11 and 2005's "Angel Of Retribution" came in at No. 13.
"Firepower" moved 49,000 equivalent album units in first week of release. Of that sum, 48,000 were in traditional album sales, just shy of the 54,000 copies sold by "Angel Of Retribution" in that album's first week. The "Firepower" chart position was bolstered by sales generated from a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer in association with the band's spring 2018 North American tour.
Across the pond, "Firepower" landed at position No. 5 on the U.K. album chart. It marked the band's highest ranking, and first time in the Top 10, since "British Steel" reached No. 4 in 1980. Elsewhere, "Firepower" also became PRIEST's first-ever No. 1 in Sweden.
"Firepower" was recorded by British producer Andy Sneap, the band's longtime collaborator Tom Allom and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH). The cover artwork for "Firepower" was created by the Chilean/Italian artist Claudio Bergamin.