JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford spoke to U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine about the lyrical themes covered on the band's upcoming album, "Firepower". "We're an open book," he said. "We can go anywhere, and that's my job, where the proverbial word 'challenge' comes into play. I'm looking for things around me in the real world and in the metal fantasy world, so I'm making political comment and comments on the environment, as metaphorically as I can.
"We've always tried to be a bit ambigious, so our fans can make up their own mind, but on this one, you know, we are talking about Mother Earth and places like 10 Downing Street [the headquarters of the government of the United Kingdom]," he continued. "But we've always found a balance in not making the message too intense, while showing that we're connected as a bunch of metalheads in the real world."
Halford also credited "the incredible work" of British producer Andy Sneap for making "Firepower" sound "as wonderful as it does." "We are aware of the elements that are important to PRIEST, that have been our anvil in everything we've done, but in working with Andy, who is such a sought-after, contemporary metal producer, he's been able to dial everything in and get an effect where what you hear coming out of the speaker sounds like a young, fresh metal band," he said. "I've always tried to keep up with what's going on in metal, and I really feel confident that this sound is as strong as it ever was."
"Firepower" will be released on March 9 via Epic.
The follow-up to 2014's "Redeemer Of Souls" was recorded by Sneap, the band's longtime collaborator Tom Allom and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH).
The official video for the album's first single, "Lightning Strike", can be seen below.
Halford stated about "Lightning Strike": "To me, the overall concept of this song is to use the element of a lightning strike to pull away and tear apart at an individual, at a body of people, maybe an organization, maybe an administration, that is kind of leading you, or leading us, into potentially a destructive place. You're kind of spinning that effect round, and you have the right to react and to do something about it. So that, in essence, is what this song is all about."
The North American leg of the "Firepower" tour will kick off on March 13 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania and will wrap on May 1 in San Antonio, Texas. Support on the trek will come from SAXON and BLACK STAR RIDERS.