Black Sabbath may be the genre’s Godfathers, but in many ways fellow Birminghamers Judas Priest are the first true “Heavy Metal” band. Sonically, lyrically and stylistically they codified the style and proudly waved the heavy metal banner, influencing nearly all metal bands that came in their wake. They grafted the heaviness of Sabbath onto the sleek high-speed engine of Deep Purple’s design and delivered it with the bombast and grandeur of Led Zeppelin. Now 40 years on from the release of their first record, Rocka Rolla, the band is poised to release their 17th studio record, Redeemer of Souls. The record is their first with new guitarist Richie Faulkner and the band has been leaking tracks from it online in anticipation of its July street date. Faulkner, along with metal god and lead singer par excellence Rob Halford and legendary Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton, sat down with us to talk about the new album and tell us why they still get a kick out of heavy metal all these years later.
In 2010 Judas Priest was talking about the Epitaph tour being the band’s farewell. I was wondering what was the point in the past four years where you decided “F*** retirement.”
Rob Halford: Well just to try and set the record straight again. I wish we could find another word other than “farewell” because we were trying to get the word across to our wonderful fans around the world that this wasn’t a farewell tour. It was just basically a celebration of everything that you loved about Judas Priest. On the Epitaph tour we played a song from every one of our studio recordings and it was just a real 101 of everything that you love about this band’s recorded history. And then also, just to explain that we won’t be going out on these massive schleps anymore. Two years (on tour) is a long time for anybody. We are still going to go out and we are especially excited because we’re going to be supporting Redeemer of Souls now.