When KK Downing left Judas Priest 10 years ago, it was clear that his absence from the world of heavy metal would not be forever. He helped pave the way for classic, balls out, take no shit heavy metal from the British shores that birthed the very best in the history of the genre. With a 40 year service under his belt, he has made his return to the Priesthood with a Sermon of his own and he is taking no prisoners in the process.
KK’s Priest consists of former Judas Priest vocalist Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, Hostile guitarist A.J Mills, Voodoo Six bassist Tony Newton and Cage drummer Sean Elg after original Judas Priest drummer Les Binks backed out of the congregation. Whether this was a deliberate slap in the face to Judas Priest or not can be debated and will be debated. However, what I can be sure of is the sheer magnitude of Downing’s return to metal with an incredibly strong debut album.
The narrator in the opening track ‘Incarnation’ sets the scene for the journey through the album before diving head first into Hellfire Thunderbolt which, in my opinion, has already become a staple in their repertoire along with Raise Your Fists.
Brothers of the Road is the anthem of the record for me. It’s near impossible not to chant “We’re brothers of the road and we rock! We’re burning up the freeway, we never stop!” I imagine this track will get the crowd bouncing during a live show.
To coincide with the theme of the album, Sermons of the Sinner and Sacredote y Diablo offer a more ominous sound to offset the crowd chanting anthems of the record.
The epic finale of Return of the Sentinel does exactly what it says on the tin. It heralds the return of a legacy once thought to have disappeared and sets the scene for the potential of a sequel. The track is a sprawling 9 minute wonder of powerful solos, striking riffs and breathtaking vocal ability.
The guitar solos and riffs are hard, fast and spectacular throughout. The vocals are piercing and relentless to the point where Ripper has almost become possessed by the spirit of Heavy Metal itself. The guitar sorcery and catchy hooks draw you in as you head deeper into the story this album has to offer. The band are displaying their metal prowess not only through the music but the track titles themselves. ‘Metal Through and Through,’ ‘Brothers of the Road,’ ‘Wild and Free’ all reinforce the fact that these guys are here to stay.
There is no denying that the sound is very similar to that of Judas Priest and whether this will stigmatise the band or not will be up for debate however this album should be seen as a fresh take on the legacy of the Priest. Downing is making up for lost time and has made it clear with this record that he isn’t going anywhere.
I completely vibe with this album and give it a solid 8/10.
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