“I am in England, I just got back from rehearsal. We are working everyday putting the set list together before the world tour starts in a couple of weeks time,” stated esteemed frontman Rob Halford, of Judas Priest, a few months ago, while also in the midst of a maelstrom of press. Although Priest is quite unarguably one of the fathers of metal, the excited and deeply invested intonation of their highly treasured singer’s voice matched that of a frontman who just completed his first van trip across country. The same measure of ambition was poured into their latest release, Nostradamus. Much to the delight and maybe even shock of their fans, Priest, made up of Halford, the Holy Grail of guitar teams in Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis, pushed past any perceived limit or formula the band could have coasted comfortably on.
The double album can only be described as epic in scope of instrumentation, storytelling, and of course, duration, with notes practically overflowing the two discs. “We all feel that this is one of our best achievements to date,” proclaims the metal god, who besides being the cream-of-the-crop of metal singers is just as exquisite of a person judging, from a causal meeting a few years ago at New York’s Irving Plaza. Priest is thrilling their loyalists with the fantastic, almost surreal bill dubbed the Metal Masters tour featuring one of Rob’s neighborhood chums, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath fame with Heaven And Hell, Motorhead and Testament.
The tremendous strength of Nostradamus and breathtaking onstage intensity of these veterans whose name is synonymous with metal is a declaration of this genre’s fortitude and longevity.
You have a vast arsenal of material to choose from, you said you are putting the set list together, what is the process like?
Yeah, it gets really tough, every time we make a new release (laughs). We got new 13 new tracks to add on top of the 200-and-something others from all of our back catalog. So it becomes more and more of a challenge , but it’s exciting as well. Obviously, we want to show a little bit of the material from Nostradamus, and of course, the famous Priest classics that the fans wanna hear.
We are doing a little bit of everything for this part of the tour, including some material that we may have not played for a while or in fact maybe one or two songs that we never played live before, because we have over 30 years of metal to look at. Everything is going great, and the band sounds awesome. You know we haven’t really played live together for a couple of years, obviously, while we have been making Nostradamus, and it’s a great feeling to be back in a room together playing live.
Getting onto Nostradamus, it’s just so epic and lavish. It really leaves one speechless.
Yeah, it’s certainly ambitious isn’t it, Cathy? I mean, all these years later, you would expect us maybe to not be pushing ourselves as much. I think it’s just a display of how much we love making music, how much we love making music for Priest, and this has been waiting in the wings. This concept album, we have been wanting to make something like this for as long as we can remember. The story goes that our manger Bill Curbishley presented us with a good idea, and thanks to Bill, we now have this metal album to unleash to the world. We are very proud of this achievement for ourselves and for all our metal fans all over the world.