JUDAS PRIEST are working on new album

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.

Judas Priest
Judas Priest

“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.”

Source: blabbermouth.net

NANOWAR OF STEEL reveals music video for new single “Uranus” feat. Michael Starr (STEEL PANTHER)

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!”

Nanowar Of Steel
Nanowar Of Steel; photo by Valerio Fea

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!

Nanowar Of Steel - Stairway To Valhalla
Nanowar Of Steel – Stairway To Valhalla

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

Gallery: U.D.O. in Plovdiv

U.D.O. in the Anthic Theatre, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, September 18, 2020.

Photographer: Kiril Gruev ©

Check for full gallery in The Other Side.

JUDAS PRIEST’s irrevocable Epitaph and the Resurrection of K.K.Downing

The New Moon at the end of November brings release of the tribulations around Judas Priest in the past two years. K.K.Downing has issued the following statement:

CaptureKK

It seems Judas Priest’s choice to cover up pervading toxicity had sucked the oxygen from their pond, until K.K.Downing was urged to stir it. Rightfully so – having left the band in 2011 amid unresolved conflict, and prior to Priest’s supposed farewell tour, he is not just attached to the band – he formed and helped mould it out of his own creative body over the course of 40 years.
His conflict being primarily with Glenn Tipton, he wrongfully but logically presumed that, once Glenn announced his Parkinson’s diagnosis and stepped down from active touring, Priest would rush to re-incorporate the other half of the axe duo that constituted the band’s essence.

K.K.Downing

K.K.Downing with “MegaPriest” at KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton, 3rd November 2019

Little did he know that Judas Priest had already made other calculations.
Nothing had to change.
Judas Priest had established themselves as “gods” and “legends”, and in the words of Ian Hill, “heavy metal may now be cliche, but we invented it”. Ta-da.

K.K.Downing

K.K.Downing with “MegaPriest” at KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton, 3rd November 2019

Heavy Metal as a genre, with enough exceptions that still confirm the rule, has long given up its revolutionary connotations and become a bastion of conservatism with an odour of bellicosity, a refuge for frail identities. (One proof is the comments’ section of the heavy metal news site, blabbermouth, where commenters seem mostly concerned with “shutting up” their idols, alongside any critical opinion.) There is some “truth” in metal, but it is that of a party line, a uniform, a brand holding the imagined power to provide fanatics with a sense of belonging. It’s a trap for both parties, those being sucked and their sycophants – a perversely intricate construct, given this is only rock’n’roll.

K.K.Downing

K.K.Downing with “MegaPriest” at KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton, 3rd November 2019

It’s been such a backlash, such hostility KK Downing has had to endure from “fans” (coupled with that of his former colleagues), for simply relaying his own version of events in a dicreet and gentlemanly manner. It may sound like a storm in a glass to the outsider, but Priest’s struggle has been fierce to preserve the myth and keep up the facade, pleasing their (albeit dwindling) hordes of fanatics, to whom they openly refer as “maniacs”.
What the “maniacs” receive in return, are the full pyrotechnics for which they are prepared to part with their hard-earned dollar. Music and deep creatvity play second fiddle to this. Could Priest nowadays do a concert on a minimal stage, in black shirts, with no effects, and still be as impactful? Let’s leave the question open – but it seems to matter little to their fans that a fantastic guitarist such as K.K. Downing, whose name alone is an accolade, is no longer in the picture. Many of their concert attendants, reportedly, think Richie Faulkner is K.K, and leave the concert happy. Personal, challenging guitar style? Improvisation, soul, character? It’s all lost in the screens, smokes, and techically-enhanced screams. The Firepower fanboys want to be “blown away” and “get their ass kicked”, not to think, feel, and truly experience.
But that’s the case, to some extent, even in classical music today. Intimate, authentic concerts, where every note of the soloist is suffered, compete with productions where Paganini is turned into a hollow spectacle.
The latter are keywords, perhaps. Rob Halford has promised the Judas Priest 50th anniversary tour (minus K.K.) to be an “amazing spectacular”. He has also intimated that he finds the Ronnie James Dio hologram a “most beautiful, wonderful thing”.
Judas Priest is currently promoting a 2020 tour, booked through to the end of next year, featuring Glenn Tipton. While our hearts go out to Glenn, common sense wonders whether a late-stage Parkinson’s sufferer, whose only appearance in 2019 was a brief, painstaking struggle, could make it next year.
What if not? A further “spectacular” addition to the already giant screens? A “beautiful” hologram?

Judas Priest 2020 tour poster

Judas Priest 2020 tour poster

All of the above is a bit exaggerated, and not all Priest fans are zombies – although the ones who seek pure music and genuine identity, may be quick to regroup in the K.K. camp. Even those who were fond of the myth and their childhood heroes, might agree the balloon has popped. But K.K. has emerged from the dysfunctional rock’n’roll bubble rejuvenated and vigorous.
The fans were already enthusiastic at his Bloodstock appearance in August this year; but his full Priest-classics concert in Wolverhampton on November 3rd, featuring Les Binks, Tim “Ripper” Owens, Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson, and second guitarist AJ Mills, is described thus by a fan:
“I think the best 50th anniversary celebration “Priest” could present already happened, and it was in Wolverhampton a few weeks ago.”
K.K. had the brisk demeanour of a child, coupled with mature sensitivity, bringing his wonderful takes and twists to Priest solos.
We do hope he forges on with new material, emerging from self-imposed obscurity and the swamp of non-resolution. The myth has been debunked, and fare well to Judas Priest on their 50th anniversary sail with two replacement guitarists. Hold your metal prayers that not too many in your congregation see the preacher naked.

Judas Priest on their 2019 Firepower Tour

Judas Priest on their 2019 Firepower Tour

Beyond The Black

Metal trailblazer K.K.Downing of JUDAS PRIEST triumphantly returns to the live stage after ten years

We usually like to shun pompous epithets dominating the metal media, but K.K.’s emergence at this year’s Bloodstock Festival has been an artistic as well as a personal triumph. Having left JUDAS PRIEST in 2011 (but remaining legally a member), his involvement in playing music amid unresolved issues had been close to none.

 

It has been quite an ordeal for the passionate Judas Priest fan to follow them this past year-and-a-half. Of course, Judas Priest is an ordeal itself – full of agony as well as ecstasy, a birthplace of extreme emotion inhumanly executed, origin of extreme metal and dare we say heavy metal per se, while transcending boundaries and never being cliche. But much needed catharsis has seemed to elude as of late.

Concluding image of the Firepower tour

Concluding image of the Firepower tour

It all began with the unfortunate announcement of Glenn Tipton’s Parkinson’s diagnosis in February 2018 and him being forced to step down from being a full touring Judas Priest member.

It seemed then that K.K.Downing, the other half of the guitar duo which constituted the dual-lead attack and, alongside Rob Halford, the legend that became Priest, had assumed that the way was open for him to return to the band he formed and devoted his life to.

Little did he know that not only this wasn’t the case, but his expressed surprise would trigger undisguised hostility in the Priest camp. An innocuous statement of Downing’s, namely that Andy Sneap had probably a greater contribution to Priest’s Firepower album than that of just any producer – much like the late Chris Tsangarides had on Painkiller – spurred Rob Halford to insinuate that Downing had made an ill implication of Glenn Tipton not having played guitar on Priest’s last installment. Tipton in turn, who was said to have only decided not to tour three weeks prior to the tour itself, appointed Sneap as his replacement without room for negotiating alternatives.

Judas Priest on their Firepower tour

Judas Priest on their Firepower tour

Many hints on the part of the band, aimed at Downing, were thrown in the media in the following months, suggesting that he had departed on his own accord and shouldn’t expect to be asked back (despite that Rob Halford had also once left), with some of them targetting K.K.’s reputation while also implicating the fans, as in: “Fans won’t miss KK Downing, since we have Richie Faulkner who brought new energy”. To the latter, KK responded that he had been the one most energetic on the British Steel 30th Anniversary tour, where namely, in October 2009, he made his final appearance on stage. We’d like to add to that K.K.’s unique style and cordial personality which couldn’t be replaced and which makes an artist, rather than just meticulous technicality.

K.K. Downing at Bloodstock Festival

K.K. Downing at Bloodstock Festival

Furthermore, in his book “Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest” which came out in September 2018, K.K., while remaining gentlemanly, made it clear he had reasons to have departed, involving decrease in the quality of performance, questionable management, and not least the personality of Glenn Tipton who, through “subtle control” in the words of K.K., sidelined him creatively and in terms of decision-making for the band. K.K.’s protests were fully ignored, he said, and the band had been run as a dictatorship instead of democracy, thence leaving him no choice.

For the fans of Judas Priest, the 2018-19 Firepower tour has been excessively emotional primarily due to the partial involvement of Glenn Tipton who still played some encores on chosen shows. We were made witness to his passion and attachment to the stage. His last appearance was on the 3rd of May, when his efforts seemed poignant.

K.K. Downing with Ross The Boss

K.K. Downing with Ross The Boss

The next step for Priest was the announcement of a 50th-anniversary concert (respectively tour), which everyone would have assumed should involve Downing (and why not other past members, such as drummer Les Binks of Stained Class fame). To our dismay, however, it seems to have been suggested that Sneap would continue “flying the flag” as replacement in Judas Priest, while K.K. intimated Priest’s lawyers had been sending him letters, “trying to erradicate the last speck of me” – this all leaving us to anticipate a golden wedding with a new girlfriend, while trying to divorce one’s wife.

Whatever’s going on behind the scenes in Priest, seems to stem from the realms of the irrational. Some fans hold it against Downing that he made bad business decisions in his life (as if this has any relevance to pure artistry), while business-savvy Priest have it together – but what business plan involves the promotion of a 50th-anniversary tour with only two original members (Tipton still being featured on the poster without promise of participating), a third one eager to play?

K.K. Downing with Ross The Boss Band

K.K. Downing with Ross The Boss Band

Speaking of playing, K.K. was artistically unambiguous on the 11th of August at Bloodstock, where he joined Ross The Boss (Ross Friedman, formerly of Manowar) and his band – this peer of Downing’s had his heart in bringing disheartened K.K. back: “I don’t know anything about what went down between K.K. and the band and I hope one day it could be solved matter. Fact it’s my ulterior motive to bring K.K Downing out and get him playing again and maybe back to where he belongs in Judas Priest. (…) I would love to put some good vibes out there to him and so maybe there would be a chance that something could happen and I think the fans would love it.” (themetalvoice.com)

K.K. Downing with Ross The Boss Band

K.K. Downing with Ross The Boss Band

K.K. emerged to show us what it’s all about. Youthful and dynamic, an eternal kid at heart, he executed with his poise of a “precision musician” as he describes himself, with distinction and ease, but also barely concealing his excitement and vivaciousness.

However dysfunctional the characters in the band might have been, they seemed to work together splendidly in the name of rock’n’roll – anything can be forgiven but the loss of spark and an air of toxicity, detrimental to music itself.

Throughout the clashes with his band (of which we can’t bring ourselves to say “former”) and the negative portrayal in the media, Downing has remained positive and keeps extending his will for dialogue (unfortunally met with a brick wall so far). The result on stage is the ingredient essential to music – groove.

Promotional poster for Judas Priest headlining the 2020 Wacken Festival

Promotional poster for Judas Priest headlining the 2020 Wacken Festival

Priest have been ill-advised to try and divide their fans, claiming whatever part of their unfortunately dwindling audience. Isn’t this in stark contrast with one of their anthems, United?

K.K.Downing is improvisation and freedom, a gale cutting the air to not let it stale. We need that back in Judas Priest, where the star of Rob Halford shines ever brightly.

In his latest interview following the performance at Bloodstock, a cheerful Downing leaves us resolutely hopeful: “Maybe this would be the first of many things… when bands get together, perform together…”

But “it is what it is”, K.K. always concludes, and in whatever way, we hope he Heads Out To The Highway without looking back, granting us his consistent lively presence on stage.

Ross The Boss with K.K. Downing performing Judas Priest classics: Green Manalishi (Fleetwood Mac cover), Heading Out To The Highway, Breaking The Law, and Running Wild:

The publication prepared by Beyond The Black

Gallery: W.A.S.P. at Rockstadt Extreme Fest 2018

W.A.S.P. – the third day of Rockstadt Extreme Fest 2018 in Rasnov, Romania, August 4, 2018.

Photographer: Christina Ludosan ©

Check for full gallery in The Other Side.

Gallery: HAMMERFALL, ARMORED DAWN and JOHN STEEL with David Reece in Sofia

HAMMERFALL, ARMORED DAWN and JOHN STEEL with David Reece in Sofia, Bulgaria,  October 26, 2018, Universiada Hall.

Photographer: Kiril Gruev ©

Check for full gallery in The Other Side.

K.K. Downing says he can play and perform JUDAS PRIEST’s “Sinner” better than Richie Faulkner

Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing has once again dismissed bassist Ian Hill’s explanation for why he wasn’t invited to rejoin the band following Glenn Tipton’s decision to retire from the road due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease.

In a recent interview with Backstage Axxess, Hill said that the idea of bringing Downing back to PRIEST was never entertained. “When he retired, we took on Richie [Faulkner], you know, so he’s playing all Ken’s parts,” Ian said. “So, it’s not Ken’s [parts] that are missing, it’s going to be Glenn’s parts that he would be playing. Really, Ken, what’s he going to do? Come over to my side of the stage and play Glenn’s parts? It wasn’t his job, if you know what I mean, that had become vacant. It was Glenn’s. Glenn and Ken are two excellent guitarists, [but] both are completely different in styles and sounds, and for Ken to be playing Glenn’s parts anyway, it really wouldn’t have sounded right anyway. We never thought about Ken for that reason.”

K.K. Downing
K.K. Downing

Asked by Please Kill Me what he thought of Hill’s justification for why K.K. wasn’t contacted about coming back to PRIEST, Downing said: “I’m a guitar player. Richie’s a guitar player. We know exactly what’s gonna happen. I resume my normal position and Richie takes over on Glenn’s side of the stage, and we just become JUDAS PRIEST again. And Richie doesn’t have to play “Sinner”, because I can do it better than him… because I’m the originator. Richie does a great job, but I can play it and perform it better than him. It would be better for the people, because they remember me doing it all of their lives, for God’s sakes, which is decades. It would just be better for them to see me do it than Richie doing it.”

He continued: “You can see me and Richie up there working and playing and performing pretty damn good together because I would make sure that we were ripping across that stage like there was no tomorrow. It is what it is, though. The guys are on tour [in the U.S.] now with DEEP PURPLE and they’re gonna be out there with Ozzy [Osbourne] in the U.K. next year. So it is what it is. But that was the severest thing I’ve heard Ian say. Would I be interested in going back there and having Richie play my parts while I play Glenn’s? I’m sorry, but the answer is no. Andy [Sneap, who is replacing Tipton on the current tour] is great. I consider him a mate, and I’ve been up to his studio, and he’s great. But even if that happened, do the people want to see Andy playing Glenn’s parts or do they want to see me?”

Downing went on to say: “People want to relive. I’m exactly the same. When I go see a band now, whether it’s UFO or SCORPIONS, I want to see the original bandmembers. I want to see them out there for as long as I possibly can, if there’s an option. Because we all go back remembering the days when we first saw the band, and that’s what we paid the ticket for. But one of the reasons I wrote the book” — referring to his just-released autobiography, “Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest” — “is I’m just sick of those guys trying to kind of bury me through the Internet. I really don’t know what the deal is. It’s stemming from somewhere. It’s heartbreaking to see that going on, ya know. It’s unfair, really. It’s unfair.”

K.K. Downing – Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest

“Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest” was released on September 18 via Da Capo Press. The book was co-written by the Scottish author and journalist Mark Eglinton, whose previous collaborations include “Official Truth, 101 Proof” with Rex Brown of PANTERA and “Confessions Of A Heretic” with BEHEMOTH’s Adam “Nergal” Darski.

Source: blabbermouth.net

VALKYRIA reveal first single, cover, tracklisting for new album

Spanish Heavy Metal band VALKYRIA have revealed the first advance single, cover art, and tracklisting for their second album, “Tierra Hostil” (“Hostile Land”), which will be released on October 10th through Fighter Records.

Valkyria - Tierra Hostil

Valkyria – Tierra Hostil

“Tierra Hostil” was recorded, mixed, and mastered under the production of Pedro J. Monje (Vhäldemar) at his own Chromacity Studios where VALKYRIA recorded their debut album “Principio y Fin” (“Beginning & End”) in 2016. This new work shows a natural development and a more mature sound in their own style of melodic, catchy, and powerful Heavy Metal that blends both modern and classic influences with a charming voice that creates killer vocal lines.

Valkyria

Valkyria

VALKYRIA‘s “Tierra Hostil” will be released on CD format on October 19th via Fighter Records. Hear “Abatido” that is the first advance single.

The tracklisting is as follows:

1. Código de Honor
2. Abatido
3. Tierra Hostil
4. Rencor
5. Selenelion
6. Identidad Perdida
7. Vida Eterna
8. Ecos del Mañana
9. Dunas de Sal
10. Tuareg