The departure of founding guitarist K.K. Downing obviously left a major hole in Judas Priest's lineup, but according to frontman Rob Halford, Downing's replacement, Richie Faulkner, is doing just fine.

"He's adding some dimensions that are very valuable and important to this new release," Halford told Ultimate Guitar (via Blabbermouth). "More than anything, Richie is the ultimate Priest fan, and now he's in the band."

Noting that Faulkner's playing is helping "maintain the heritage and legacy" of the long-running band, Halford added, "That's what's so cool about Richie. We listened to a lot of stuff Richie was doing in his solo world, and we firstly understood that he was a hell of a guitar player. But upon meeting him and doing that worldwide tour together, it felt so good that Richie has collaborated on some of this new material, and it sounds absolutely incredible ... We're very excited and we're still looking forward, and we've got plans for the future."

In the meantime, Priest will be taking a moment to reflect on the past via the new 'Epitaph' Blu-ray/DVD, which includes live performances from their 2011-12 tour. "For me, this is as much a documentary about the band as it is a music DVD," said Halford. "Yeah, it's like a documentary without kind of people talking. You can talk your head off about music, but there's nothing to be said until you listen to it. So this to me is as much a documentary about the life of Judas Priest as it is about the 'Epitaph' show."

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