According to singer Rob Halford, a colorful cast of characters will be inhabiting the lyric sheet for Judas Priest's new album 'Redeemer of Souls,' due in stores next month.

"This album has got vikings, dragons, aliens, a bit of bible thumping and some guns," he tells us in an exclusive video interview. "That's what you need in a metal record. It's strong and it's intense, but there's a lot of fun and exploration, through at least that side, with the lyrical content."

Unlike their last album, 2008's double-disc 'Nostradamus,' the band didn't have a longform concept in mind when beginning work on 'Souls' -- except to return to the raw ferocity of their classic albums. "It's nice to get back to what people want to hear," longtime guitarist Glenn Tipton explains. "This album just typifies Judas Priest."

In the six years since 'Nostradamus,' the group mulled retirement, saw longtime member KK Downing depart and then seemed to regain momentum with his replacement, Richie Faulkner. The new album's muscular title track, issued back in April, certainly hinted at Judas Priest's early-era energy. 'Walls of Valhalla,' a song Halford rightly called "more metal than metal" when it was previewed late last month, further confirms their return to form.

"We felt it was important to make another classic metal album, which is generally what Priest has been famous for over the last 40 years," Halford says. "We had great success with 'Nostradamus,' which was something that we'd always wanted to try. I think there was a nice enough space of time, musically, to do a lot of things but primarily just to kind of get all of the pieces into place to make what we feel is one of our best records -- with all of the elements of what classic Priest stands for."

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