Judas Priest fans still confused about what the band's farewell tour means won't quite understand frontman Rob Halford's announcement to Billboard.com. The singer says the band has 12 to 14 songs mapped out for a new album, four of which have been recorded.

Let's have Halford clear things up: The farewell only marks the end of their world-tour ambitions. The band is not retiring or breaking up. New guitarist Richie Faulkner will make his debut on this Priest album, having replaced K.K. Downing, who actually did retire from the band, partly to run his own golf course.

"I think it's fair to say that this is going to be just another great, traditional British heavy metal album from Priest with what you love about the band," Halford says. "The riffs, the screaming vocals, all of the tradition and heritage that we try to keep somehow in our music as we've moved along."

The new album should be ready in 2012. Judas Priest will still play select dates, and Halford even teased a live show based on the band's 2008 concept album 'Nostradamus.' "That is a very important record for us," he says. "We had a big-picture aspect of what we wanted to do with 'Nostradamus' in mind -- of course, to play it in its entirety, which is completely feasible -- and because we are cutting back on these intense tours we can focus more on that."

The North American leg of the band's Epitaph World Tour begins on Oct. 12 in San Antonio, Texas and wraps up on Dec. 3 in Biloxi, Miss.