If you feel like new guitarist Richie Faulkner gave Judas Priest some extra power on their recent Redeemer of Souls album, singer Rob Halford agrees with you.

Halford praised Faulkner during a recent interview with The Georgia Straight, saying the band was eager to start writing new material with him after he joined the lineup for its Epitaph Tour in 2011 — and once it finally got started, the experience more than lived up to expectations.

"I remember the first day of being in the writing sessions with Richie and the room was electric, you know," recalled Halford. "There was solid things happening hour after hour. We just kept writing and writing, but we had to put the brakes on because we were on a time schedule."

It didn't hurt that they'd already played a long string of shows with Faulkner, which allowed the other members of Priest to see he could play within the group's existing framework while remaining, as Halford put it, "his own man" while replacing departed co-founder K.K. Downing.

"We didn’t want a copycat, we didn’t want somebody that was just gonna replicate things," Halford explained. "The basic components of the song are already in place, but we said to Richie: ‘Don’t be afraid to do your own thing, because it’s important that you establish your own identity.’ Which he did. And the fans were so receptive. There was no negativity toward the guy. Let’s face it, to some extent Richie saved Judas Priest, because if we hadn’t have found him at the crucial time that we were looking for a guitar player things could have turned out quite differently."

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