JUDAS PRIEST members Rob Halford (vocals), Scott Travis (drums) and Richie Faulkner (guitar) spoke to Metal Hammer magazine about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band’s follow-up to “Firepower” album. Released in March 2018, “Firepower” was the second LP to feature Faulkner, who was selected to fill the void left by founding guitarist K.K. Downing following his exit in 2011.
“We started the year prepping the next JUDAS PRIEST metal masterpiece,”Rob said. “We had one massive writing session together and we’ve got an enormous amount of material stacked up, which is really thrilling after the glorious response we had to ‘Firepower’.”
“It’s gonna be good,” added Travis. “Rob‘s always excited about new music, which is great, because he’s such a creative guy and when you are that creative, naturally you never rest on your laurels. You always want to do something new and get it out there.”
Faulkner talked in more detail about PRIEST‘s songwriting process, saying: “We compile all our ideas and get together and throw them in the pot and see what sticks, then see what lights up the room, see what Rob grabs hold of. It might be a riff that Rob really gets his teeth into that inspires a lyric or an intro, verse or chorus and suddenly you’ve got the nucleus of a song.”
Kings of masterful Heavy Metal parodies NANOWAR OF STEEL bless the world with yet another spectacular music video for their new single “Uranus”, featuring none other than glam icon Michael Starr of the legendary STEEL PANTHER! Showing off their incredible choreography skills in shiny space suits, NANOWAR OF STEEL dance their way straight into your heart – and Uranus!
Michael Starr (STEEL PANTHER) says about the video for “Uranus”: “This video will make your penis bigger with one view. The more times you view it, the bigger your penis will get. You’re welcome. “Uranus” is a must watch video. It’s the only way to have your first eye orgasms. A fun video with a great story line. If you don’t like this song you must be deaf. If you don’t like this video you must be blind.”
Gatto Panceri 666 of NANOWAR OF STEEL adds about the video for “Uranus”: “I know, this joke has been used and abused since 1781, from the very first day William Herschel discovered this planet. However, being a practicing astronomer and a professional idiot, I felt I had more right to use it as the subject of a song to be dignified with a Lady Gaga-level video (in all humbleness). Perhaps it won’t be the most original pun ever, but one thing we can tell you for sure: this joke turned out to be the most expensive one we’ve ever told so far!”
After gathering millions of clicks on YouTube and Spotify, Italy’s finest up-and-coming comedy metal outfit NANOWAR OF STEEL celebrates the overwhelmingly successful release of their previously sold out 2018 album, “Stairway To Valhalla”, with an exclusive first ever re-issue on vinyl via Napalm Records on December 4, 2020.
The re-issued vinyl edition will be available in two different colors and comes along with a bonus CD as well as yet-unreleased fountains of fun, starting with party smashing “Uranus” featuring Michael Starr (STEEL PANTHER). On their forth full-length, the five-piece offers hits such as “The Call of Cthulhu” and “Barbie, Milf Princess of the Twilight” featuring Fabio Lione (Turilli/Lione Rhapsody). The Bonus CD also contains NANOWAR OF STEEL’s smashers “Norwegian Reggaeton” and “Valhalleluja” amongst others!
Stairway To Valhalla (Re-Issue) Tracklist: 1. Declination 2. Barbie, Milf Princess of the Twilight 3. The Call of Cthulhu 4. Heavy Metal Kibbles 5. Il maestro Myiagi di Pino 6. L’opelatole ecologico 7. Images and Swords 8. In the Sky 9. … And Then I Noticed That She Was a Gargoyle 10. Tooth Fairy 11. Vegan Velociraptor 12. Another Drill in the Wall 13. Ironmonger (The Copier of the Seven Keys) 14. Bum Voyage 15. Uranus 16. The Crown and the Onion Ring 17. The Quest for Carrefour 18. Hail to Liechtenstein 19. Uranus (feat. Michael Starr)
Bonus CD: 1. Valhalleluja 2. Sottosegretari alla presidenza della repubblica del True Metal 3. Norwegian Reggaeton 4. Bestie di Seitan 5. Sneeztem of a Yawn 6. A cena da Gianni 7. Kurograd 8. Esce ma non mi rosica (Shahram Shabpareh Cover) 9. Deep Throat Revolution (Immanuel Casto Cover) 10. Norwegian Reggaeton (Remix)
NANOWAR OF STEEL are: Gatto Panceri 666 – Bass Potowotominimak – Vocals Mr. Baffo – Vocals Abdul – Guitar Uinona Raider – Drums
“Pop tart” is the qualification by which Rob Halford identifies most readily in his newly released book (Confess: The Autobiography). And although he has the musical-phrasing proficiency of the crooners of popular music at its height, it hardly shows in this book – a rather dry, sparse, and substance-lacking piece.
The lack of substance does not pertain to Halford’s romantic life, which is the main subject of the book. There is no way his need to be out with his sexuality could be underestimated – it is no less than cathartic and life-saving – his personal purgatory, as he calls it. After following him through his ordeals and dalliances, we are happy with the conclusion of Rob being in a commited relationship for twenty five years.
The “shock” and problems of the book begin outside its deeply intimate narration. There seems to be a bias, unwillingness, and general lack of interest to get to the core of most matters. A first discrepancy is Halford’s vehement assertion that the impression he had been into BDSM was “an urban myth and utter bollocks: I’m pretty vanilla”. That urban myth, however, was created by Halford himself through various interviews, including one for The Advocate, when he came out of the closet. If any amount of sincerity could be surmised from his lyrics, these, too, refer to him as “sadomasochistic to the core”, in one of the most convincing songs of his solo career, Fetish. He admittedly signalled the handkerchief code from the stage with Judas Priest in his years in the closet – messages such as “fisting”, “watersports”, and “heavy S&M”. In any case, he puts to rest a dispute with K.K.Downing of who came up with the leather-and-studs image that would become a trademark of the heavy metal genre: K.K. did suggest the style and Halford went along.
Speaking of K.K., his individual musical contributions (prior to British Steel where Judas Priest began writing as a team) seem almost entirely omitted from the book, in favour of various references to Glenn Tipton and his “ingenious riffs”. There are words full of sentiment as to how he and Halford wrote music together; in contrast, there’s no reference to Before The Dawn, a ballad by Downing which is known to have been very personal to Halford, who wrote the lyrics. In addition, there’s a distinct negative colouring of Downing’s character, referring to him as “constantly moaning: that’s what he does”, at times completely irrational, and being notorious for holding a grudge. In contrast, Glenn is portrayed as self-assured, determined and clear-visioned, almost a saintly figure “with a beatific smile”, who would regularly dismiss Downing’s “moaning” with a sarcastic remark. It is nearly painful to read such accounts in light of the book by K.K. Downing, which serves as a poignant outlet for his life of frustration within the band, caused primarily by the condescension and dismissal by its dominant figure (Tipton), even when vital matters were brought to the table, pertaining to both the band’s business and interpersonal dynamics.
Rob Halford, on the other hand, has no issue with authority of any kind. He dreads confrontation – a leitmotif in the book. We see him, in a large portion of it, fawning over various “stars”, including Johnny Depp and Lady Gaga, and not least, “Queenie”. It feels awkward to witness Halford’s delight at being noticed by a “celebrity”. At least once in the book, he describes himself as masochistic.
In contrast to the drooling accounts of encounters (or their contemplation) with Freddie Mercury, Cher, Jack Nicholson, Madonna and various others, there’s little in the book pertaining to musical matters. Halford claims, understandably, that Judas Priest is the most important thing in his life – and yet music seems a backdrop for his next romance or brush with a celebrity. He awkwardly derides some of his work, both in and out of Priest, for various reasons: projects outside Priest (except for Resurrection which he designed purposely as a statement that he was “metal” and an appeal to rejoin the band) are given little significance, particularly the album Crucible, strangely described as “not heavy, unlike Resurrection”. A work with Priest such as the infamous Eat Me Alive is addressed as lyrically “a joke”, although it can’t be a more poignant sublimation of Halford’s “enormous sex drive” which coloured both his work and personal life.
Halford seems most concerned with the perceived authority of not only Judas Priest, but the metal scene in general; in fact, he has recently stated that “metal” is his favourite word. Like Downing, he embraces Nostradamus wholeheartedly and swears that the album should one day see its proper presentation and rightful place as a rock-symphonic masterpiece; unlike Downing, he does it somewhat apologetically: after all, the album had divided “our beautiful metal maniacs”, as he likes to refer to them in public. A simplistic, formulaic, easily digestible album like the band’s latest, Firepower (a big commercial success) is laudably extolled.
In conclusion, Halford leaves us on the happy note that “The Metal God” can’t be more fulfilled – a title he likes using, leaving us to question the extent and depth of his self-irony. It doesn’t seem to penetrate between his self-effacing and his self-aggrandizing sides, nor does it aim to. Halford’s irony is neither of the Socratic nor the Romantic kind: it is content with the lustrous duality of the surface.