Rob Halford says that JUDAS PRIEST's long-awaited new album is "sounding monumental."
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).
During an October 5 appearance on the "Trunk Nation" show on SiriusXM channel Volume, Halford stated about the progress of the recording sessions for PRIEST's new disc: "We're almost done. We're in that final hurdle before we get to the finishing line. It is sounding monumental. It's gonna blow your socks off. We're thrilled. We've got this big metal monster looming in the background, about to drop early next year, with a world tour to coincide."
Asked what it has been like 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, Halford said: "Brilliant. Absolutely fantastic. Tom has a rich history with PRIEST, particularly those great moments with 'Screaming For Vengeance', 'Defenders Of The Faith' [and] 'British Steel'. 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].
"It's an unusual way to make this kind of record for PRIEST, because it's generally the producer and the band," Halford admitted. "We just had so much faith in Andy and in Tom and Mike that we said, 'Guys, you go for it. You tell us what to do.' And if Andy Sneap said, 'Do another take, Rob. Do another take, Rob. Do another take, Rob. '… I've never sung so much in the studio behind a mic in all my life. But he got the results that we needed, and I think I can say the same for Glenn [Tipton, guitar] and for Richie [Faulkner, guitar] and for Scott [Travis, drums] and for Ian [Hill, bass]. So he got something out of us — they all did — but they got something out of us truly remarkable, and you're gonna be hearing it very soon."
Sneap, who plays guitar in the reactivated British occult metal act HELL, recently told Serbia's Hardwired magazine that PRIEST had "about twenty-six ideas" in the early stage of the production process for the new album. "We've whittled [that] down to fourteen or fifteen," he said, adding that "we haven't decided on which songs [will make the final cut] or a running order for the album yet."
Andy went on to say 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."
It was announced on Wednesday (October 4) that PRIEST was nominated for induction into the 2018 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, part of a list of nineteen potential candidates.
Inductees into the 2018 Rock Hall will be voted on by a group of more than nine hundred artists, historians and music-industry professionals.
Speaking to "Trunk Nation", Halford stated about PRIEST's nomination: "No matter what your opinions and feelings about the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, it's a great institution. It's in the same caliber as the Baseball Hall Of Fame and Basketball and NFL, the Grammy [Awards], the [Oscars]. Some people might think it's superfluous; it’s not, really. What it is for the musicians, or the artists, whatever you wanna call us, it's just a recognition of the work that you have been making in your years in the music world, and for PRIEST, it's been over forty years of blood, sweat and tears. And we've been slugging away — and I don't mean that in a bad way; I mean in a loving way. You know how much we love heavy metal music. We've had the great joy and pleasure of almost now making our eighteenth studio album over four decades and loving every minute of it. So [for this] to come along now, it's a boost, it's a real boost, it makes you feel good — within the band, within the fans that look after PRIEST around the world, and for heavy metal music more than anything else."
He added: "The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is more than rock and roll. It kind of ventured off into other language besides rock and roll — which, in my opinion, I think it should because it's the only body that represents music in this broad spectrum. So to have another heavy metal act potentially inducted is important."
The 2018 inductees will be announced in December and the induction ceremony will be held at Cleveland's Public Auditorium on April 14, 2018.