Heavy metal legends rock on

Scott Travis and Rob Halford at the Grammy Awards. Photo: Chris Pizzello/AP/PA Photos
Scott Travis and Rob Halford at the Grammy Awards. Photo: Chris Pizzello/AP/PA Photos

Heavy metal, to use the phrase coined all the way back in the late Sixties, is among the most enduring genres of music.

Music for outsiders, often made by outsiders, metal has always skirted the mainstream, and while it’s had rises and falls in popularity, it’s never gone fully out of fashion. Perhaps because it’s never really been in fashion in the first place.

A band never really given their due, despite taking their particularly British brand of metal all over the world, are Judas Priest.

They released their 17th album - and third since singer Rob Halford rejoined in 2003 - on July 14, and it sees them back doing what they do best.

“It was a real pleasure to make,” says Halford of their record Redeemer Of Souls, who’s relaxing in an all-white room at the offices of Sony, the band’s record label, and is in a typically good mood.

It’s been six years since Nostradamus was released, although stylistically, Redeemer has much more in common with their classics Sad Wings Of Destiny and British Steel, the album that put them on the musical map.

“We’ve been very busy,” says Halford.

“People think when you’ve been away for six years you’ve just been sitting watching Coronation Street and eating crisps, but we never stopped.”

Redeemer Of Souls is the band’s first album made with new member Richie Faulkner. He replaced founding member KK Downing, who retired before the band’s 2011 Epitaph world tour.

“We went straight into writing and recording after that tour,” Halford says. “Of course, it was called Epitaph because we thought it was going to be the last thing we did, but we were in a different place then, and I think you have to get close to the end of something to realise that you don’t want it to stop. We didn’t want it to be a finale, so I suppose this album is our first encore.”