Judas Priest has been working on the follow-up to their 2018 album Firepower in quarantine. Vocalist Rob Halford recently told Revolver he and the band have been trading ideas, and that Judas Priest would love to work with the Firepower production team of producer and engineer (and live fill-in guitarist) Andy Sneap and producer Tom Allom on the new record.
Now guitarist Richie Faulkner tells Sweetwater there's definitely a ton of new music floating around, though the band would prefer to finish the record when they can all get together.
"We did some writing in February before [the coronavirus pandemic] hit," said Faulkner. "I think it was during the time it was all coming to the surface that there was this virus going around, and me and Rob, luckily, just about made it back to the States before the lockdown came into effect. But we did get about a month's worth of writing done, and we've got a bunch of songs. And they're by no means finished. When you start writing something, you've got a few ideas and then they become more fleshed out, and all of a sudden, you've got a start, a middle and an end — it's almost like a skeleton, with bare bones. But you need some meat and potatoes and some muscle to put on it. So we need stuff like midsections and harmony sections and guitar solos — lots of guitar solos… We've got a bunch of them together. We're just waiting for the time when we can get back together again and start playing 'em and recording 'em together.
"We found out, or I found out — I'd never done it like this before — but on the Firepower record, we all played it live before we recorded them," he continued. "And we recorded the drums live while me and Ian played and Rob sang and Glenn was there. You've got the songs close to finished, and when you play them, you realize there's probably another 10, 15 percent to go — trim some fat here; this needs another part; it's too slow here; speed that up; pull this back. And that only becomes apparent, really, I found out, when you play it together, like you would in a live gig.
"So we wanna get back together at some point and flesh these songs out, play together. And I'll tell you what, when you get Scott Travis in a room, he's such a musical drummer, and he's such a respectful drummer — he loves Les Binks; he's a huge Les Binks fan — so when he's playing the songs, he's always aware of, 'This little Les Binks hi-hat part here,' or he does things spontaneously that just change the song for the better. So getting him in the room and playing together is just monumental, I think, in the creation of a PRIEST record.
"So, again, a long-winded answer there, but we're just waiting for the opportunity to get together and play in a room together."
Judas Priest has also pushed their 50th anniversary tour to 2021.