Judas Priest Lose A Founding Member, Deliver Their Best Record in Nearly 25 Years With Redeemer Of Souls
You know, I am a very big fan of Judas Priest, so much so that I have both the band’s iconic trident symbol and the album title Defenders of the Faith permanently inked on my arms. So, when founding guitarist K.K. Downingannounced in 2011 that he would be retiring from Judas Priest, I really felt gutted. Surely this would be the end of the “Metal Gods!” But alas, our heroes decided to soldier on by replacing Downing with new guitarist Richie Faulkner (previously of the Lauren Harris band, daughter of Steve Harris of Iron Maiden), who is nearly 3 decades their junior. This sounded like an idea as ill advised as when the band tried to replace irreplaceable singer Rob Halford for a couple of albums around the turn of the millennium with Tim “˜Ripper’ Owens, a very skilled Halford imitator whom the band discovered singing in an Ohio-based Priest tribute band (this event even served as the inspiration for the Mark Walberg/Jennifer Anniston movie Rock Star). Owens is a perfectly capable singer, but is also nearly two decades younger than the rest of the band and the albums that he appeared on with Priest are mostly forgettable and serve merely as a footnote in the band’s career. Halford returned to the fold in the mid 2000s and Priest has since released two somewhat uneven offerings (2005’s Angel of Retribution and the double concept album Nostradamus in 2008) featuring a handful of great songs.