In a recent interview with Japanese music critic and radio personality Masa Ito of TVK's "Rock City", JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford spoke about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the follow-up to 2018's "Firepower" LP. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "This next PRIEST album will be just as full of separate character. JUDAS PRIEST is 'Painkiller'; JUDAS PRIEST is 'British Steel'; JUDAS PRIEST is 'Screaming For Vengeance'; JUDAS PRIEST is 'Sin After Sin'. Every album has its own legs, its own metal boots.
"We've always said that even though we're a heavy metal band, we don't let that confine us; we don't let heavy metal put us in a box," he continued. "We think heavy metal is freedom — musical freedom. So when we played [the] Bloodstock [Open Air festival in August] and twenty thousand metal maniacs were singing 'I'm your turbo lover,' it's metal. And then, twenty minutes later, twenty thousand metal maniacs are going, 'He is the painkiller,' it's metal. From two different worlds — from the 'Turbo' world and from the 'Painkiller' world — but it's still heavy metal. And this, I feel, has always been what sets JUDAS PRIEST in a place that no one else explores. And that's why I feel that when our Japanese fans hear that JUDAS PRIEST is making a new metal album, they know they're going to get something that they have never heard before, they're going to get the sounds, they're going to get the songs, they're going to get the compositions and the arrangements in a way that, again, is new; it's fresh.
"I feel that's also a part why we've lasted 50 years in own world, in the PRIEST world — is because when we start to sit down and write, like I've been writing with Glenn [Tipton, PRIEST guitarist] and with Richie [Faulkner, PRIEST guitarist], internally, we know, we think about our fans, we think about the excitement that our fans are feeling, we think about what our fans are wondering this next PRIEST album will contain. And we know that our fans are also as full of adventure and acceptance and open-mindedness and freedom as JUDAS PRIEST is when we [come together] to make these new metal songs.
"So, yeah, every single PRIEST album — if you look at the cover of 'Point Of Entry', you can hear the songs in your head; if you look at the cover of 'Firepower', you can hear the songs in your head. It's the same band, but they're two different dimensions. And this is what makes JUDAS PRIEST, again, unique. There is no other band in heavy metal like JUDAS PRIEST, and we're very proud of that."
This past March, Halford confirmed that PRIEST's next album will see the band reuniting with the "Firepower" production team consisting of British producer Andy Sneap, longtime collaborator Tom Allom and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH).
Halford recently went public with his battle with prostate cancer. In July 2020, Rob underwent prostatectomy, an operation where the entire prostate gland is removed plus some of the tissue around it, including the seminal vesicles. After more cancer was found earlier this year, he went through radiation treatments in April and May and eventually got then all-clear in June. He also had an appendectomy after a tumor was discovered on his appendix.
PRIEST was forced to cancel the remainder of its fall 2021 U.S. tour after Faulkner suffered an acute cardiac aortic dissection during the band's performance at the Louder Than Life festival in late September. Faulkner was rushed to the UofL Health - Jewish Hospital where the cardiothoracic surgery team needed approximately 10 hours to complete a life-saving surgery.