ROB HALFORD: JUDAS PRIEST Has 'Broken The Rules As To How Heavy Metal Should Sound And Feel And What It Should Say'

February 24, 2024

In a new interview with "The Plan B Show With Brock And Hunter" on the Rock 107 WIRX radio station in Southwest Michigan, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford was asked what he thinks an 18-year-old metalhead who is just discovering PRIEST might take away from the band's upcoming album, "Invincible Shield". He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, they're embracing something that is, I would suggest, unique in the way that we've kind of broken the rules, if there were any, as to how heavy metal should sound and feel and what it should say.

"And so, firstly, if you're a new heavy metal maniac and you're just turning 18 or you're just turning 12 or 14, whatever, thank you," he continued. "God bless you for coming to this band, because… I know you guys at WIRX, you play a multitude of metal, you play a multitude of rock and roll, so to have this opportunity to make a connection with a new metalhead from that particular part in your life, it's such a thrill. And I would say embrace everything that this PRIEST band does, because, as you know, we can take you everywhere — we can break the law, we can go living after midnight, we can do some painkilling. We can take you on this incredible journey in this world of heavy metal that is exclusively unique to PRIEST.

"This band has done many, many things," Rob added. "One minute we're the Sentinel and the next minute we're gonna be a turbo lover. It's a wild ride, man. It's a wild ride. And so we really love to have this opportunity, particularly reaching new metalheads, to bring you into our metal community and give you some of the best times in your life that you're gonna have."

Asked if he has a favorite track on "Invincible Shield", Rob said: "I still keep going towards that opening cut, 'Panic Attack'. It's got so much substance, and I think that for a lot of fans that are excited about their favorite band and that they're gonna drop a new song, and more importantly, they're gonna drop a new album — 'This is my band. This is what I'm looking forward to. This is the PRIEST that I cherish. I've got all their music. I've been to all their shows. What is this new record gonna sound like?' So that first track has to do a lot of things — it has to do a lot of reinforcing, it has to have a lot of responsibility, it has to have a lot of the things that your fans are eager to listen to for the first time. So 'Panic Attack', which is the title of the opening cut from 'Invincible Shield', really carries a lot of weight. So that is my favorite. But if you ask me five minutes from now, I'll give you a different song. But I just love the energy and audacity of that particular track, the way it opens up, 'cause it opens up with these really cool — 'What are these? Is this 'Turbo' again? These synthy-sounding guitars. And is that Scott [Travis, PRIEST drummer] on Syndrums?' There's a lot of, 'Oh my God. What's gonna go off?' And then — bang! The track opens up, that riff that Richie [Faulkner, PRIEST guitarist] put together. It's just mind-blowing. And Scott's work, Ian's [Hill, PRIEST bassist] work, and then yours truly wailing on the mic. It's, like, 'Oh my God. Thank God for that. That's still the PRIEST that we love.' So let's go with some 'Panic Attack' and keep that side of PRIEST alive and proud."

"Invincible Shield" will arrive on March 8 via Sony Music.

Hill is the sole remaining original member of PRIEST, which formed in 1969. Halford joined the group in 1973 and guitarist Glenn Tipton signed on in 1974. Rob left PRIEST in the early 1990s to form his own band, then came back to PRIEST in 2003. Original guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Faulkner.

PRIEST will hit the road next month in support of "Invincible Shield". They kick off a European tour in Glasgow, Scotland on March 11 and will bring the tour to the U.S. starting April 18 in Wallingford, Connecticut.

In a recent interview with Metal Pilgrim, Halford stated about the setlist for the European leg of the "Invincible Shield" tour with SAXON and URIAH HEEP: "We've had this conversation before as far as trying to put the setlist together. And after 19 studio albums, it's, like, 'Oh my God. Where do we go?' If we didn't play 'Breaking The Law', there'd be a riot. If we didn't play 'Painkiller', there'd be a riot. There are certain songs that you are indebted to your fans to play, because they're part of the fabric of who you are as a band. Without naming names, there are certain bands where you know you wanna hear that song when you go to a show. So there's a portion of the setlist that already writes itself. Having said that, yeah, we are gonna go quite deep, and we found some songs from previous albums that we're gonna work with and we're gonna bring out. So there'll probably be at least two or three deep cuts on this setlist."

Rob continued: "At any given moment, we've got 60 to 70 songs we can play — at any given moment. And then we're gonna add more into the mix. It's fun to see the texts and the e-mails flying through: 'Well, I'll give you this one if you give me that one.' 'Cause you've gotta find a balance. When a band plays on stage, every single bandmember has to agree on the set list. There's no place for, 'Oh, dude, I've gotta play this one.' There's no place for that. You've all gotta be believing in that particular song as you go through the show. And it's gonna be fantastic. And this is gonna be a really eventful tour as we're about to kick off in Europe, with our friends SAXON and URIAH HEEP."

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