In a new interview with Guitar World magazine, JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner spoke about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the follow-up to 2018's "Firepower" album. He said: "Obviously, we faced some challenges with schedules due to the pandemic. We wanted to keep it the same dynamic as 'Firepower' — as we all got together, played the songs in pre-production before recording them. Obviously, we haven't been able to do that in the last 18 months because of the pandemic. So, we've got a ton of stuff written and a ton of songs almost ready to go. We just need to get together and start playing them together and 'trimming the fat,' as they say. You get a sense of that when you play them together — you get a feeling for 'we need an extra bit here' or 'we need to trim that bit there.' Just to sharpen those songs up and give them the last 20 percent. So, once we are able to do that, we can get in a room together, play them, trim the fat, and record them, we will. But we've got a bunch of songs that are pretty ready to go and they sound fantastic. We just want to put them down properly and release them to the world. So, I can't give you a date, but as soon as we can, we'll get in there and start work on that."
Asked about JUDAS PRIEST's plans for the coming months, Faulkner said: "As you know, we're just about to embark on our first American tour in two years. So that's the immediate future. We've all been out of work facing struggles because of the pandemic. So, to be back out in the U.S. taking this production out is incredible. Also, as I said, we want to try to get some time soon to start putting down songs for the new record. And then hopefully, we will tour that, as well. Nothing is set in stone, but if we start the next tour cycle now, it will go on for the next 18 months, get in the studio, put it out, and do it again.
"The future for PRIEST is looking quite bright at the moment," he added. "Just get out on the road and start getting some shows under our belt."
JUDAS PRIEST's first pandemic-era tour, the rescheduled "50 Heavy Metal Years" North American trek, will kick off on September 8 in Reading, Pennsylvania and conclude on November 5 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
This past March, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford confirmed that the band will reunite with the "Firepower" production team consisting of British producer Andy Sneap, longtime collaborator Tom Allom and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH).
Halford resides in Phoenix, Faulkner in Nashville and guitarist Glenn Tipton and bassist Ian Hill still call their native United Kingdom their home.
JUDAS PRIEST played its first concert in more than two years on August 15 at the Bloodstock Open Air festival, which took place at Catton Park, Walton-on-Trent, United Kingdom.
Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson's seven years ago — after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier — but announced in early 2018 he was going to sit out touring activities in support of "Firepower". He was replaced by Sneap, who is also known for his work in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrash outfit SABBAT.