Watch: K.K. DOWNING's KK'S PRIEST Plays Final Show Of U.K. Tour In London
October 14, 2023
Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing's new band KK'S PRIEST played the final its five-date U.K. headlining tour this past Thursday night (October 12) at O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire in London. Fan-filmed video of the concert can be seen below.
The setlist was as follows:
01. Hellfire Thunderbolt 02. One More Shot At Glory 03. The Ripper (JUDAS PRIEST cover) 04. Reap The Whirlwind 05. Night Crawler (JUDAS PRIEST song) 06. Sermons Of The Sinner 07. Burn In Hell (JUDAS PRIEST song) 08. Beyond The Realms Of Death (JUDAS PRIEST cover) 09. Hell Patrol (JUDAS PRIEST song) 10. Brothers Of The Road 11. Metal Meltdown (JUDAS PRIEST song) 12. The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown) (FLEETWOOD MAC cover) 13. Breaking The Law (JUDAS PRIEST song) 14. Victim Of Changes (JUDAS PRIEST song)
15. Raise Your Fists 16. Strike Of The Viper
The "Priests, Killers & Witches" tour kicked off on October 7 at O2 Institute in Birmingham. Special guest on all dates was former IRON MAIDEN vocalist Paul Di'Anno who performed a full set of classics straight from the first two MAIDEN records, and opening up the bill was BURNING WITCHES.
KK'S PRIEST released its sophomore album, "The Sinner Rides Again", in September via the Austrian rock and metal empire Napalm Records.
With "The Sinner Rides Again", the powerhouse heavy metal amalgamation of iconic JUDAS PRIEST alumni and Grammy Award-winning/nominated musicians Downing and Tim "Ripper" Owens (vocals),along with guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE),bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE),double down on the ripping melodic force of their debut, which Metal Hammer U.K. dubbed "hugely enjoyable" and Metal Injection cited as boasting "catchy hooks and plenty of guitar wizardry". "The Sinner Rides Again" wields nine tracks of pure hellfire, produced and written by Downing and mixed/mastered by Jacob Hansen.
A haunting introduction of dual guitars carries the listener into the thundering "Sons Of The Sentinel", winding across a wasteland of burning riffs and a deftly dynamic guitar solo to kick off the record with relentless energy. The undeniably catchy anthem "Strike Of The Viper" proves itself as one of the album's most unforgettable tracks, before "Reap The Whirlwind" crashes in with a classic heavy metal power thrust of soaring leads, hair-raising harmonics and earworm vocal hooks. First single "One More Shot At Glory" raises its sword high, instantaneously calling for battle with its opening riff and beckoning verses. Heroic chants and unrelenting double bass set the stage for a galloping midsection as a spine-tingling guitar solo commands the song. Striding "Hymn 66" commands with sultry, slow and low metallic punches and a bluesy gait, while massive title track "The Sinner Rides Again" straddles balladic passages and sinister, head-bobbing choruses. Beginning with ominous bells, "Keeper Of The Graves" rounds the final bend of the album with roaring cascades and a dynamic performance from Owens, before charging "Pledge Your Souls" and rollercoaster closer epic "Wash Away Your Sins" rise as the final embers of a certified burner — proving itself as a must-hear metal album of the year by the greatest to ever perform the genre.
The immense and intricate art for "The Sinner Rides Again" was created by talented artist Andy Pilkington.
"Sermons Of The Sinner" was released in October 2021 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.
Downing spent four months writing and recording "Sermons Of The Sinner" and, along with new ideas, he even resurrected a few archived riffs from the 1980s.
K.K. formed KK'S PRIEST after JUDAS PRIEST turned down his offer to rejoin the band for their 50th-anniversary tour. It followed a couple of celebrated stage appearances, first with former MANOWAR guitarist Ross The Boss in the summer of 2019, then with a one-off lineup that included former MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson and former PRIEST drummer Les Binks later that year.
In a recent interview with Ernest Skinner of Border City Rock Talk, Owens spoke about the sophomore album from KK'S PRIEST. He said: "It's really good too. I like it better [than the debut LP]. It's a little heavier, a little edgier on the vocals — and even music, I think."
Downing was reunited with JUDAS PRIEST for a performance at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony last November at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
PRIEST received the Musical Excellence Award at the event, which honored Eminem, Dolly Parton, DURAN DURAN, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, EURYTHMICS and Carly Simon in the Performers category.
Downing left PRIEST in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance. He was replaced by Richie Faulkner, nearly three decades his junior.
In 2019, Downing said that he reached out to JUDAS PRIEST about taking part in the band's 50th-anniversary tour but that their response was that they were not interested in including him in the celebrations.
In 2018, Downing revealed that he sent two resignation letters to his bandmates when he decided to quit JUDAS PRIEST. The first was described as "a graceful exit note, implying a smooth retirement from music," while the second was "angrier, laying out all of his frustrations with specific parties."
Downing later said that he believed the second letter was "a key reason" he wasn't invited to rejoin PRIEST after Glenn Tipton's decision to retire from touring.
Owens joined PRIEST in 1996 and recorded two studio albums with the band — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before PRIEST reunited with Rob Halford in 2003.
Two years ago, Downing said that he had no problems with fans making comparisons between PRIEST and KK'S PRIEST. "It's absolutely fine, because it's who I am and what I am and what I do and how I do it," he told Brazilian journalist Igor Miranda. "It's too late to change; I can't change. I can't go out and buy different guitars and different amplifiers and start to write differently and think differently. I have to do things the way that I like them to be done. And that's what I did in JUDAS PRIEST for all those years to the best of my ability. But even now that I don't have to consult with anyone else, really, then I feel a lot more freedom to be able to do this.
"I think I can do what I do better now than I did before, if that makes any sense," he continued. "Because I'm working and writing and putting things together for me — and, obviously, of course, the rest of the members in [KK'S PRIEST] as well. But I was on my own, for the most part, in the lockdown doing this. But there was a lot of things I wanted to say and get off my chest.
"The [KK'S PRIEST] album's full of emotions, sentiments and messages and also rejoicement. It's a lot of things, all in one package. And it was very important for me to be able to express myself through this album.
"I know that people will make comparisons, but that's fine. I either succeed or fail, like everyone else in life. But I'm a fan of this wonderful style of music, and if I like it, I'm hopefully sure that the fans will like it too. And I really hope they do. And I'm very much looking forward to the feedback from everybody all over the world.
"Towards the end for me in JUDAS PRIEST, it wasn't as energized as it was in former years, and I missed that. I remember the days when Rob [Halford, PRIEST singer] used to come offstage and he used to empty his boots out, and the water — which was sweat — used to just pour out of the boots. And it was the same for all of us. It was like we ran a marathon or something. So, hopefully we deliver that up. So I'm looking forward to doing that. I'm definitely gonna do my best, put it that way."
In September 2021, Owens said that there was no competition between JUDAS PRIEST and KK'S PRIEST. "I don't think we look at it [like that]," he told The Rock Experience With Mike Brunn in an interview. "There's one JUDAS PRIEST. They're JUDAS PRIEST. If [K.K. and I] wanted to take that angle, we would have called [our new band] KK'S JUDAS PRIEST. But I think fans are happy 'cause they know they do have two things that are the same vein, and they have K.K. back. I went nowhere — I've been putting music out like crazy — but they have Ken and I back together again. So there's no competition. I mean, how awesome would it be if we do shows with them? I don't care. I really don't. I love the guys in PRIEST. Rob's [Halford, PRIEST singer] my idol. And Richie [Faulkner, PRIEST guitarist] and I are friends. But this isn't a competition. We're not trying to make it a competition or another JUDAS PRIEST. That's why we put an album out first; that was the difference. If we were trying to make it that, we would start touring right away, doing the back catalog."
Asked if KK'S PRIEST is really open to touring with JUDAS PRIEST, Tim said: "I'm open to anything. I've never burned bridges. From the sounds of it, it's never gonna happen. 'Cause it never happened with me. I tried to get BEYOND FEAR to support JUDAS PRIEST on tour. Wendy Dio was my manager, and they were, like, 'Absolutely not. You're not gonna support us.' But we're all friends. I mean, I'm speaking for me — I'm not speaking for Ken. But, yeah, listen, I always look at it as how much fans would love stuff. How cool would it be if that happened?"
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