While on the "black carpet" at this year's Loudwire Music Awards on October 24 in Los Angeles, California, JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford spoke to LA Metal Media about the band's forthcoming album, "Firepower", which will be released in early 2018."Well, it's a really great moment for PRIEST in lots of ways," Halford said (see video below). "Because it's our eighteenth studio album, you never know what you're gonna do, you never know what you're gonna make — you don't have any real agenda. You just try and carry on making the spirit and the metal that you've been doing for over four decades. And then you sit in a room and somebody [plucks] a note on a guitar and you go, 'Oh, that's a good note,' and then you add another note, and then you're off and running. "We have a lot of fun making our records," he continued. "We don't find them… It's not really a chore, or it's not really a struggle — it's just a great thrill and an opportunity to see what we can still do as a metal band. "But I've been saying from Richie's [Faulkner, JUDAS PRIEST guitarist] perspective… Richie joined the band around 'Redeemer Of Souls' and he did some great work on that record, but this record, he's just mindblowing. His writing particularly, but his lead guitar work is absolutely stellar." The British heavy metal legends have spent the last few months in the studio recording the follow-up to 2014's "Redeemer Of Souls" with the band's longtime collaborator Tom Allom, acclaimed British knob-twiddler Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, EXODUS, TESTAMENT, ACCEPT) and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH). Faulkner joined PRIEST in 2011 as the replacement for founding guitarist K.K. Downing. Prior to hooking up with PRIEST, Faulkner was the guitarist in the backing band for Lauren Harris, daughter of IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris. Rob recently told "Trunk Nation" that collaborating again with Allom, who produced every PRIEST release from "Unleashed In The East" (1979) through "Ram It Down" (1988), along with several live records since then, has been "brilliant" and "absolutely fantastic." "Tom has a rich history with PRIEST, particularly those great moments with 'Screaming For Vengeance', 'Defenders Of The Faith' [and] 'British Steel'," he said. "My God — he's the man in that respect. So I thought it was really great for Andy Sneap and Mike Exeter to accept that this was gonna be like a three-man job, with Andy mostly holding the reins, but with Tom by his side and Mike there [as well]." Sneap, who plays guitar in the reactivated British occult metal act HELL, told Serbia's Hardwired magazine that PRIEST's new album will contain "a really good energy and some real classic moments." He said "Rob did great" during the album's final recording sessions. "I'll tell you what: for someone who's got that much experience, there's no ego there at all," he said. "We'd do, like, six or seven passes, and I'd ask him to try something a bit [different] on this part, and he was, like, 'No problem.' And he'd give me another four takes with a slightly different vibe. And then me and Tom Allom would sit there and we'd comp it, and we pretty much agreed on everything."