According to the Birmingham Post, former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Kenneth "K.K." Downing has launched The Future Of Heavy Metal, a venture which he hopes will help young hard rock bands follow in the footsteps of legends like LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH and JUDAS PRIEST.The first bands being showcased include Midland acts HOSTILE, UNDER BLACKENED SKIES and FURY, along with the French group MORAY FIRTH. "This is a new venture for us, but we hope to roll it out around the U.K., I felt that I wanted to give something back and this seems like an ideal way," he said. Reflecting on his own experiences, Downing said JUDAS PRIEST stepped up to a different level after completing a tour with BUDGIE. "We did 50-odd concerts and the experience of playing five or six times a week was invaluable," he said. "Bands today are never going to get their act together until they get out there playing with other bands and getting some touring experience. That's where you find out your weaknesses as you are being put out there with major acts. We would tour with KISS, ALICE COOPER, LED ZEPPELIN and AC/DC. You get out there and see the audience reaction. If you are not getting it, you have to ask yourself what have these guys got that you haven't and you learn so much from people who have honed their skills to perfection — it rubs off on you. This is what these guys need — it will help give them confidence and that is what The Future Of Metal is aiming to do." Read more from the Birmingham Post.