JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford spoke to Andy Hall of the Des Moines, Iowa radio station Lazer 103.3 about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the follow-up to 2018's "Firepower" album. He said (hear audio below): "We've already started work on it. We had some great writing sessions in the early part of this year until the world came to a stop in late March. I came back here [home] to Phoenix just to chill and relax for a bit and get ready for another writing session. 'Cause that's what we need to do as a band. You make a bunch of work and then you walk away from it and then you go back to it later and re-analyze it and continue the growth of the record. That's what we were doing then, and we're still doing it now — we're still putting bits and pieces together. It's an unusual way of making a record, but we're not the only band that's going through this situation in terms of creativity. You can't let this pandemic stop you; you've gotta try and still get as much out of life as you can."
Released in March 2018, "Firepower" was the second LP to feature guitarist Richie Faulkner, who was selected to fill the void left by founding guitarist K.K. Downing following his exit in 2011.
This past September, 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.
Halford resides in Phoenix, Faulkner in Nashville and guitarist Glenn 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.