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Judas Priest’s Rob Halford Looks Back on ‘Screaming for Vengeance,’ Talks Band’s Future

Judas Priest
Theo Wargo, Getty Images

Don’t look now, metal fans, but another one of the genre’s classic records just celebrated a once impossible-seeming milestone: Judas Priest‘s ‘Screaming for Vengeance,’ which gave the band its big commercial breakthrough in the U.S., turned 30 last month.

Priest vocalist Rob Halford recently sat down with Loudwire to reassess the album’s legacy as it hits the big 3-0 — and discuss the band’s plans for its next studio album, its first with new guitarist Richie Faulkner. “Wow, has it been 30 years already?” joked Halford. “Where does the time go?”

For Halford, one of the best things about the newly expanded anniversary edition of ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ is the bonus DVD, which contains footage from the band’s appearance at the 1983 US Festival. “I was sitting in my old man recliner with my remote watching the DVD,” he recalled, “and suddenly I look at my hands and my palms are sweating. I was like, what’s going on? It’s just what Priest has always done to me. It’s constantly given me this surge of adrenaline.”

Asked to pick his favorite song on the album, Halford demurred somewhat — “we don’t listen to our own music, that’s like being too close to the office so to speak” — but he did single out the title track as a particularly good example of what the band can do. “I’m still as pissed off now at 60 years old, almost 61, as I was when I wrote the lyrics for ‘Screaming for Vengeance.’ I love that track,” Halford answered. “There’s something about the rawness and the intensity and the statement about that song. It’s a very powerful song if you listen to it lyrically.”

Of course, the band is still touring and recording — and Halford shared a few tidbits about their next album, which will find them working without guitarist K.K. Downing for the first time. “We’ve already got a strong cross-section of ideas, some of them complete, some of them in bits and pieces. It’s shaping up to be quite intense, in terms of the riffage and the strength of certain tracks,” mused Halford. “If I try to pinpoint it, there are elements of ‘British Steel’ and there elements of ‘Painkiller’ in terms of the vibe.”

So when will we get to hear it? “I’m not really sure,” Halford admitted. “We’re not under the same clock as we used to be. I remember in the 80s we were banging out a record almost every year, and that was on top of putting in a world tour. We have the luxury now, if you want to call it that, of taking our time.” But upon a moment’s further reflection, he added, “My gut tells me it’ll be out next year. You know what? 2013. Let’s go for it. Let’s look forward to that moment for another Priest record for everyone to bang their heads to.”

Next: Did the Gap Rip Off Judas Priest?

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