Acclaimed UK artist Mark Wilkinson, who is best known for his detailed surrealistic cover art that he created for a number of British bands, most prominently the progressive rock band MARILLION, has completed work on the "lavish packaging" for JUDAS PRIEST's much-anticipated new album, "Nostradamus", according to a posting on his web site.Wilkinson has been working with JUDAS PRIEST as the band's cover artist for the past 20 years. His illustrations can be seen on a number of previous JUDAS PRIEST releases, including "Ram It Down" (1988), "Painkiller" (1990), "Jugulator" (1997) and "Angel of Retribution" (2005). As previously reported, JUDAS PRIEST's official web site has been updated with what appears to be a preview of the "Nostradamus" artwork. Check it out on the splash page of www.judaspriest.com. CMM GmbH the German marketing/promotion company that has been hired to work "Nostradamus" in that territory has announced a June 13 German release date for the LP via Sony/BMG (leading to speculation that the album will be issued on Monday, June 16 in the rest of Europe, and Tuesday, June 17 in North America, as is normally the case with major releases). It will be made available as a double CD in a jewel case, as a deluxe digibook and as a special box set containing the new album on three LPs, a 48-page book and a poster. JUDAS PRIEST's upcoming tour will include shows where the group's entire "Nostradamus" album (based on the legendary 16th century prophet Nostradamus) will be performed as well as concerts featuring the band's classic songs. JUDAS PRIEST is strongly rumored to be teaming up with HEAVEN AND HELL, MOTRHEAD and TESTAMENT for a U.S. tour this summer. Several unconfirmed dates for the trek were recently leaked via Pollstar.com, the companion web site of the concert industry's leading trade publication. In an interview with "The Classic Metal Show" which aired on March 29, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford stated about the rumored trek with HEAVEN AND HELL, MOTRHEAD and TESTAMENT, "Live Nation are promoting the tour, and I guess the professional way of dealing with this is to say that Live Nation will be making an official announcement probably a few days from now. But it's difficult to keep that kind of thing quiet 'cause If it does happen, and it's looking very real, it's gonna be one of the biggest metal shows in the States this year. . . You have to wait for the official announcement because it has to be sanctioned by management and the lawyers in the suits and that other rubbish. But if we get what we are hoping to get, I think it's gonna be an absolutely sensational, killer American tour 'cause it won't happen anywhere else in the world, this lineup. It'll just be for the States."
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