JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill spoke to Mankato, Minnesota’s „The Five Count“ radio show about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the follow-up to 2018’s „Firepower“ album. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): „The material is there. It’s time to put it down on record, basically. We’re pretty much booked up till the end of this year, although there’s a month [off], I think, just before Christmas, and some of January. And then all of next year, we’re pretty much touring until the fall, at least. But then we can put our shoulders to the wheel and get it down on record for real.“ Asked if PRIEST fans can expect the next album to arrive in 2022, Hill said: „Maybe the year after — give it a bit of breathing space. [Laughs] We’ll let the dust settle from the 50th-anniversary [tour]. But, yeah, it’s possible — it’s possible towards the end of next year. But if not, it’ll be ’23.“ This past March, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford confirmed that the band’s next LP will once again be helmed by the „Firepower“ production team consisting of British producer Andy Sneap, longtime collaborator Tom Allom and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH). Earlier this month, JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner told Guitar World magazine that he and his bandmates „faced some challenges with schedules due to the pandemic“ and haven’t been able to get together and work on new music. „We wanted to keep it the same dynamic as ‚Firepower‘ — as we all got together, played the songs in pre-production before recording them,“ he said. „Obviously, we haven’t been able to do that in the last 18 months because of the pandemic. So, we’ve got a ton of stuff written and a ton of songs almost ready to go. We just need to get together and start playing them together and ‚trimming the fat,‘ as they say. You get a sense of that when you play them together — you get a feeling for ‚we need an extra bit here‘ or ‚we need to trim that bit there.‘ Just to sharpen those songs up and give them the last 20 percent. So, once we are able to do that, we can get in a room together, play them, trim the fat, and record them, we will. But we’ve got a bunch of songs that are pretty ready to go and they sound fantastic. We just want to put them down properly and release them to the world. So, I can’t give you a date, but as soon as we can, we’ll get in there and start work on that.“ JUDAS PRIEST’s first pandemic-era tour, the rescheduled „50 Heavy Metal Years“ North American trek, kicked off on September 8 in Reading, Pennsylvania and will conclude on November 5 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. On October 15, JUDAS PRIEST will release „50 Heavy Metal Years Of Music“, a mammoth limited-edition box set which will include every official live and studio album to date plus 13 unreleased discs. This is the most extensive release of previously unreleased music the band has made from its vast archives. Restored and mixed by Tom Allom at La Cucina W8 and mastered by Alex Wharton at Abbey Road Studios, this special release will be made available via Sony Music.
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