ROB HALFORD: New JUDAS PRIEST Album Is 'Close' To Being CompletedOctober 25, 2022
In a new interview with Q104.3 New York's "Out Of The Box With Jonathan Clarke", JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford was asked if it's true that the band's upcoming studio album is "very close" to being completed. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It is close, yeah. All the writing's done; the bulk of the recording is done. I've still gotta put my vocal tracks down. So, in essence, it's done, which is a great feeling, because that really points us to the metal future. Everything that we've done in PRIEST over the last 50-odd years has been driven by the latest music that we're making. So this is no exception.
"We'll finish this 50th-anniversary celebration down in São Paulo, Brazil on December the 18th, and that'll be this year done," Rob added. "And then next year we're kicking off with our good friend Ozzy [Osbourne] in the U.K.; we'll do some shows with him. And [in the rest of] Europe. And then a few other bits and pieces we've got going over in Europe. And then we stop. And then we plan the next release sequence for the next PRIEST album."
Earlier this month, Halford told AXS TV's Katie Daryl about what PRIEST fans can expect from the upcoming LP: "The same energy, the same vitality, the same determination, and it really is, again, another affirmation of what you love about JUDAS PRIEST. If you listen to any album from PRIEST from 'Rocka Rolla' in the '70s up to the 2000s with 'Firepower' and everything that went on between there, whether it was 'Turbo Lover' or whether it was the 'Painkiller' or '[You've Got] Another Thing Comin'', all of these pinpoints connect the dots of this great 50 years of metal, this journey that we're on. And it ain't over yet, folks, because that means another album and another tour. And we can't wait to keep pouring out the metal, 'cause that turbo power isn't gonna get turned off anytime soon."
Last month, JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner told The Entertainment Outlet about the progress of the recording sessions for the band's follow-up to 2018's "Firepower" album: "We're getting there. We've been trying to get it done. The first obstacle was the pandemic, because we couldn't get together and do it as a group. And then when the pandemic restrictions were lifted, then we could go out on tour. So the next obstacle, if you wanna call it that, was the tour. So we had to go out and tour and record bits and pieces in between the tour legs. So we've got drums done, we've got guitars done, we've got the bass done. I think the main thing we have to do now is vocals. So we've got the U.S. leg of the tour coming up, so Rob's gotta protect his voice and use his voice sparingly before that. So maybe after that. I mean, we've got [dates in] the U.S. and we've got South America, which takes us into December. So maybe in the New Year we can start working on vocals."
Regarding when fans can expect to see the next PRIEST LP released, Richie said: "It's always tough to talk about timeframes, because, as we know, things change. But Rob always says, 'It's done when it's done.' There's no point in rushing anything at this point in the band's career. But it's getting there — we're working on it and it's getting there. And we're using the time we've got. These days as well, we don't need 18 months in a 10,000-square-foot studio in Fiji to do a record. The way things are these days, we can do it in a lot more economical way. So we're making technology work and we're making all that work for us so we can get it done in the best way we can so we can get it out when we can. But it'll be done when it's done."
As for what the new PRIEST material is sounding like, Faulkner said: "[Producer and touring guitarist] Andy Sneap was texting me this morning, and he was saying it sounded really solid, really confident. He was saying… I know people love this stuff on the socials, but it's not 'Firepower 2'; it's its own thing. Some people might like that; some people might hate that. When you read the socials, people read comments like that and they know what the album sounds like straight away. I don't know how they do that. But it's all good. It means they're invested in PRIEST and they're invested in the new music. But as he said, it sounds confident, it's sounding great and solid. It's always good as well when you've got something like this and no one's heard it. So you're excited to release it to the world — you want the world to hear it, but they haven't heard it yet. So it'll be great for the world to hear it. They might hate it. But it's still exciting."
This past February, Halford was asked by Remy Maxwell of Audacy Check In if he agreed with Faulkner's recent comment that the band's upcoming album will be more musically "progressive" than "Firepower". He responded: "Yeah, the metal is there. But here's the thing: we've tried our best not to replicate anything that we've done. From 'Rocka Rolla' all the way through to 'Firepower', each record has had a distinctive character. And it's tough because fans go, 'We want another 'Painkiller',' 'We want another 'British Steel'.' And [it's, like], 'Dude, we've already done that.'
"Fans know that we're a band that is always full of adventure and trying new stuff," he continued. "And so, yeah, this has got probably some more progressive elements that we've never really delved into before. And that's exciting, because, again, it gives us and our fans another opportunity to see a different side of PRIEST. But it's still metal. There's just more of it. There are more notes than there were before."
Also in February, Faulkner told Canada's The Metal Voice about the overall sound of the new PRIEST music: "Whenever you start a record, you never know how it's gonna turn out. So you might start with an idea of what it's gonna be, and as it kind of rolls on, it comes out something different. So you don't quite know. And also it's really hard to sum up your own music, I find, without sounding really pretentious. But I think this one — it's not 'Firepower 2', I don't think. It's its own thing, it's its own animal. If anything, I would say it's a bit more progressive in places, and in places it's got a bit more of that 'Killing Machine' swagger."
Faulkner added: "I know everyone says, 'Oh, is it the next 'Painkiller'?' or 'Is it the next…?' whatever… I don't know if they'd ever done it, but I know we've never done it when I've been in the band; we've never tried to recreate an album. It's always we try to create an album that stands on its own legs. So I think it's definitely a little bit more progressive than 'Firepower' and, as I said, in places it's got a little bit of that 'Killing Machine' angry swagger attitude going on. But again, as I said, we're waiting to see what it turns out like, 'cause it could turn out completely different."
A year and a half ago, Halford confirmed that PRIEST's next album would see the band reuniting with the "Firepower" production team consisting of Andy Sneap, longtime collaborator Tom Allom and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH).
Bassist Ian 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. Founding guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Faulkner.
Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease eight years ago after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier. Tipton 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.
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