RICHIE FAULKNER: drums for next JUDAS PRIEST album are recorded
In a new interview with the “Metal From The Inside” podcast, JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner spoke about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band’s follow-up to 2018’s “Firepower” album. He said: “It’s still in the process. And it’s been slowed down a lot because of, obviously, the pandemic. We wanted to get together, like we did on ‘Firepower’, and record it together, but, obviously, the lockdowns and everything like that slowed that process [down]. Some of us live in the U.S., some of us live in the U.K., so getting together proved to be a bit difficult over the last couple of years. Now everything is kind of opening up, it’s a bit easier, but now we’re on the road, so we’ve got a touring cycle [to get through]. So, if we can, we might be able to do it in between the touring cycles.”
As for when fans can expect to get the next PRIEST album, Faulkner said: “We don’t have a release date. It’s not finished. We’ve got the songs, but we’ve gotta record it. We’ve got drums down. I don’t know if that’s even been said yet. So we’re gonna try and build it up as we move through this touring cycle. But as Rob [Halford, PRIEST singer] always says, it’ll be finished when it’s finished. At this point in their career, there’s no point in rushing anything, especially when we’ve waited this long through the pandemic to start doing it. It’ll be done when it’s done. But there will be another PRIEST record. We’ve got some great songs.”
Regarding the musical direction of the new PRIEST material, Richie said: “It’s different to ‘Firepower’, but it’s definitely… You can hear where it’s coming from. It’s not even ‘Firepower 2’… It’s hard to say anything these days without people getting… If I say it’s like a continuation of ‘Firepower’, people think it’s ‘Firepower 2’. It’s got its own character, it’s got its own legs, and we’re looking forward to releasing it on to the world when it’s done.”
Last month, Halford was asked by Remy Maxwell of Audacy Check In if he agreed with Faulkner’s recent comment that the band’s upcoming album will be more musically “progressive” than “Firepower”. He responded: “Yeah, the metal is there. But here’s the thing: we’ve tried our best not to replicate anything that we’ve done. From ‘Rocka Rolla’ all the way through to ‘Firepower’, each record has had a distinctive character. And it’s tough because fans go, ‘We want another ‘Painkiller’,’ ‘We want another ‘British Steel’.’ And [it’s, like], ‘Dude, we’ve already done that.’
“Fans know that we’re a band that is always full of adventure and trying new stuff,” he continued. “And so, yeah, this has got probably some more progressive elements that we’ve never really delved into before. And that’s exciting, because, again, it gives us and our fans another opportunity to see a different side of PRIEST. But it’s still metal. There’s just more of it. There are more notes than there were before.”
Earlier last month, Faulkner told Canada’s The Metal Voice about the overall sound of the new PRIEST music: “Whenever you start a record, you never know how it’s gonna turn out. So you might start with an idea of what it’s gonna be, and as it kind of rolls on, it comes out something different. So you don’t quite know. And also it’s really hard to sum up your own music, I find, without sounding really pretentious. But I think this one — it’s not ‘Firepower 2’, I don’t think. It’s its own thing, it’s its own animal. If anything, I would say it’s a bit more progressive in places, and in places it’s got a bit more of that ‘Killing Machine’ swagger.”
Faulkner added: “I know everyone says, ‘Oh, is it the next ‘Painkiller’?’ or ‘Is it the next…?’ whatever… I don’t know if they’d ever done it, but I know we’ve never done it when I’ve been in the band; we’ve never tried to recreate an album. It’s always we try to create an album that stands on its own legs. So I think it’s definitely a little bit more progressive than ‘Firepower’ and, as I said, in places it’s got a little bit of that ‘Killing Machine’ angry swagger attitude going on. But again, as I said, we’re waiting to see what it turns out like, ‘cause it could turn out completely different.”
A year ago, Halford confirmed that PRIEST’s next album will see the band reuniting with the “Firepower” production team consisting of Andy Sneap, longtime collaborator Tom Allom and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH).
Bassist Ian Hill is the sole remaining original member of PRIEST, which formed in 1969. Halford joined the group in 1973 and guitarist Glenn Tipton signed on in 1974. Rob left PRIEST in the early 1990s to form his own band, then came back to PRIEST in 2003. Founding guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Faulkner.
Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease eight years ago after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier. Tipton announced in early 2018 he was going to sit out touring activities in support of “Firepower”. He was replaced by Sneap, who is also known for his work in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrash outfit SABBAT.
Faulkner suffered an acute cardiac aortic dissection during the band’s performance at the Louder Than Life festival in late September. He was was rushed to the UofL Health – Jewish Hospital where the cardiothoracic surgery team needed approximately 10 hours to complete a life-saving surgery.