The definitive lineup of Judas Priest—vocalist Rob Halford, lead guitarists Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing, bass guitarist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis—returned in 2005 with the astonishing new album ANGEL OF RETRIBUTION on Sony BMG. It was worth the wait. More than 30 years after forming in the tough, gritty, English steel town of Birmingham, Judas Priest remains at the forefront of the global heavy metal scene!
“We’ve got a lot of energy,” says Tipton. “We’re firing on all cylinders and it’s obvious on this album. I think it’s the most natural Judas Priest album. A lot of people who have listened to it have said it’s timeless. You couldn’t really date it.”
The band members knew expectations were high, but didn’t allow that pressure to affect the way they wrote and recorded the album. They worked exactly the same way they did in the past. “I think that pressure is not a bad thing, really, because it just pushes you and forces you to do your best,” says Downing.
Judas Priest decided to go on tour first and remind fans around the world—and themselves—just what heavy metal had been missing for more than a decade! So in May 2004, Judas Priest returned to the stage with several triumphant concerts in Europe and then stormed through North America with headline-grabbing performances on the Ozzfest tour and select headlining shows. After the release of the new album early in 2005 the band embarked on a worldwide tour covering all corners of the globe!
Quite simply, the band is responsible for creating the sound of pure heavy metal. Countless others have received credit for providing the sonic groundwork, but only Judas Priest had the vision and willpower to forge a new style of rock ‘n’ roll and thus influence every single disciple to follow. What made Judas Priest stand out in addition to the raw power of Halford’s voice and the dual-guitar attack of Tipton and Downing was the quality of the songs; they were rife with instantly memorable melodies and hooks. Judas Priest also invented the look of heavy metal; any combination of leather, studs, chains and denim is a uniform worn proudly by heavy metal fans all over the world, and they got it from Judas Priest!
“We represent heavy metal music. We’re very proud to be the leaders of this force, this genre of rock ‘n’ roll called heavy metal,” Halford says. “We’re just so re-energized now. We’re so glad to be back together again, and to get that power from the fans—that passion, that love of the band, that driving force. We are here because the fans want us to be here. Without the fans that support Judas Priest, we don’t mean anything.”
Judas Priest’s success was earned as the result of struggle and hard work. Breaking out of Birmingham came first, and it wasn’t easy. “Really, those were great days,” says Tipton. “We all actually still have homes very close to Birmingham, but we needed to take our music out of there and it was very difficult to get the music industry to accept that. So we had to go and prove our point and then take it across the Atlantic to the States and then the rest of the world—to every corner of this planet. And it gave us a lot of determination. It was all about proving ourselves and taking our music to other people.”
Everything that we do is from the gut. It’s very real. We feel that we have something special here!” says Halford.