Vocalist Rob Halford still can soar. It is remarkable that someone with his longevity can still reach a significant top range as a singer.
When guitarist K.K. Downing left the band in 2011, I had difficulty with the idea of the group continuing on without him. Given that Glenn Tipton was continuing at the time, they saw fit to bring in Richie Faulkner and soldier on. I was fortunate to have seen the group live during the Angel of Retribution Tour back in 2005. It was a remarkable show with Anthrax holding the opening slot. Two of my favourite bands on one ticket! Remarkable show it turned out to be.
Priest is one group that is difficult to imagine without its’ major core elements. When Tim “Ripper” Owens came into the fold it was a stretch to really see them as a band without Rob Halford. They recorded and released records, toured and kept going. Halford did come back to the camp eventually with everything firing on all cylinders.
Priest have returned with a newly minted release “Firepower“. The album is a strong work that takes their music back to the core ingredients of strong heavy metal. With the release, news has come down that Glenn Tipton has been battling Parkinson’s Disease for a number of years. It has unfortunately reached a point where he cannot continue performing entire shows with the band. With tour dates already booked, they have hit the road with Andy Sneap as the second guitarist. Tipton is reportedly on the tour with the group and may come onstage to play one or two classic songs with his band mates.
Music journalist Eddie Trunk recently commented on the difficulty of now having both Downing and Tipton out of the band. His points were well taken Judas Priest is most identified with the charismatic front man in Halford. A VERY close second identifier is the twin-lead guitar work that the duo of Tipton and Downing were such masters. Judas Priest as a band might seem less like Judas Priest.
Fans that attend the shows on this tour hopefully will get their money’s worth. Faulkner and Sneap will prove to be an excellent guitar duo that will pull off great performances. People will enjoy hearing the classics and the new music. Firepower is a pleasantly surprising slab of metal that should do well critically and commercially.
It’s a good time for me to re-visit my vinyl copies of Sad Wings of Destiny (still my favourite Priest record) and the others that make up my music collection.