JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford says that the band's new album "Redeemer Of Souls" can be considered PRIEST's "first encore" nearly four years after the group announced that it was embarking on its "farewell" tour."Redeemer Of Souls" marks JUDAS PRIEST's first album with new member Richie Faulkner, who replaced founding guitarist K.K. Downing in 2011. "We went straight into writing and recording after [the 'Epitaph'] tour," Halford told Halesowen News. "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 realize 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." Halford also spoke about the change in the onstage and studio chemistry following Downing's exit from the group and the impact Faulkner's addition to the group has had on JUDAS PRIEST's decision to carry on. "It's always hard when a member leaves," said Halford. "K.K.'s influence and stamp will always be on JUDAS PRIEST, he was there from the beginning. He lives in this band, still. Having said that, there's something about Richie's excitement, charisma and power that equals what K.K. had. "Richie stands on the stage and he does the business. Glenn [Tipton, guitar] and I told him we didn't want a copycat of K.K. He has his style and we wanted him to stick to that. He's his own man. Glenn and I were only saying the other day that we don't know what would've happened if we hadn't have found him." According to Billboard.com, JUDAS PRIEST's 17th studio album, "Redeemer Of Souls", is likely to sell more than 30,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release, resulting in the band's first-ever Top 10 effort in the U.S. The estimate was based on sales reports compiled after the record arrived in stores on July 8 via Epic. The chart will be unveiled on Wednesday, July 16. JUDAS PRIEST's 2008 double-disc concept album, "Nostradamus", shifted 42,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 11 on The Billboard 200 chart. This marked the band's highest-ever chart position in the U.S. In Canada, the CD opened at position No. 9 after moving close to 4,000 units. JUDAS PRIEST's 2005 CD, "Angel of Retribution", premiered with 58,000 copies in the U.S. to debut at No. 13.
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