Redeemer of Souls is the 17th studio album by the English heavy metal band Judas Priest, which was released on 8 July 2014. It is their first album without founding guitarist K. K. Downing, who quit the band in 2011 and was replaced by new guitarist Richie Faulkner. The album sold around 32,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 6 on The Billboard 200 chart, the band's highest charting position in the US after the group's previous album "Nostradamus" debuted at No. 11. This marks the band's first top-10 album debut in the US. It has sold 110,000 copies in the US as of February 2016.
|Redeemer of Souls|
|Studio album by Judas Priest|
|Released||8 July 2014 (US)
11 July 2014 (EU)
14 July 2014 (UK)
|Producer||Mike Exeter and Glenn Tipton|
|Judas Priest chronology|
|Singles from Redeemer of Souls|
On 27 January 2011, it was announced that Judas Priest was in the process of writing new material for what was thought to be the group's final album due to their previously announced farewell tour entitled the Epitaph World Tour, but the band clarified that the Epitaph tour was "by no means the end of the band." Speaking at a press conference in Los Angeles on May 26, of the new material, Glenn Tipton said, "It's quite a mixed bag. Really, there's more sentiment on this album. In a way, I suppose, it's also our farewell album, although it might not be our last one. There are some anthems on there, which pay tribute to our fans."
In April, founding member K. K. Downing announced his departure from the band, citing differences with the band and management and a breakdown in their relationship as the reason. Richie Faulkner, guitarist for Lauren Harris' band, was announced as his replacement.
In an August interview with Billboard, Halford explained that he and Tipton had "about 12 or 14 tracks completely mapped out" for a new studio album. He went on to say that four of those were already recorded and mixed and suggested a new album would be out the next year. The year ended, however, without seeing a release. In another interview with Billboard in August 2012, Halford said that the band was taking its time with the album and did not give a definite release date, saying, "I'm of the attitude it'll be ready when it's ready ... I don't think we're going to slack off. We're determined to do a lot of work and be just as dedicated as we've always been and take a lot of care and attention with all the songs. We're not going to just bang this one out, so to speak."
In December 2013, the band released a short Christmas message on their official website, which confirmed that they would be releasing the album sometime in 2014.
On 17 March 2014 at the Ronnie James Dio Awards in Los Angeles, California, Halford announced that the album had been finished. On 28 April, the band revealed the title for the album, as well as releasing the title track for streaming on their official website. The track listing was announced four days later. At the end of June, a 20-date US tour supporting the album was confirmed.
Guitarist Glenn Tipton gave a statement saying that fans should not expect wild experimentation: "Sometimes in the past we may have come under fire for being too adventurous musically – so we have listened. From start to finish, Redeemer of Souls is 13 songs of pure classic Priest metal."
When asked why the bonus tracks are only included on the deluxe edition of the album and not on the standard release, Tipton explains: "They are all great songs. The reason they are not on the album is because the 13 that we chose are very consistent with what we wanted to do - which was release an undisputable heavy metal album. The others, they are not lightweight by any chance. But they've got a different feel, a different texture ... So it's not a case of trying to rip the kids off and trying to get more money for an extra album. It's just a case of, these five tracks seem to deserve to go on their own CD, and that's what we did."
The five bonus tracks from the deluxe edition were released as a stand-alone limited-edition 10" vinyl LP, entitled 5 Souls, for Record Store Day 2014.
When speaking to Artisan News at the VIP listening party for the Ronnie James Dio tribute album "This Is Your Life" and awards gala at the Avalon in Hollywood, California on 17 March 2014, Rob Halford gave a statement about the album being finished: "The record is finished; it's absolutely finished as of today." He added, "It's a relief. It's a relief because whenever Priest makes an album, like any band, you put your heart and soul into it; it is that typical 'blood, sweat and tears.' It's not an easy thing to do 40 years later. But Priest has always been up for the challenge of that, and it's one of things that we love to do more than anything else as we move on through our metal years. So this is a great time for Priest: 40th anniversary, a brand new record. Life couldn't be better."
In a 2013 interview with Billboard.com, Halford described the album's sound as "hard. It's heavy. It's something we think our Priest fans will be thrilled with. We know we have a reputation to maintain, and we know we have to deliver something really strong and solid. The album is going to be full of all the great things you love about Judas Priest — I don't think I can say anything more than that without being hung, drawn and quartered."
When talking to VH1 Radio Network's Dave Basner, Halford said about what fans can expect: "We felt it was very important to follow up [2008's] 'Nostradamus', the last release, and that was a concept experiment. And it was a real success for us, and the fans loved it. But I think our fans and ourselves as a band, we want to get back to the side of Priest that we haven't heard for a few years and reemphasize and remake those big, heavy metal statements again."
When asked how it has been collaborating on new music with Faulkner, Halford told Guitar World in a 2012 interview: "Really, really strong. Exciting. He's riffing and saying, 'Robby, I'm thinking of this and this and this.' It's really exciting to have that kind of energy, because you feed off of it. It’ll be great after having this two-month break from not seeing each other to reconvene in the studio in England and just sit in a room and go, 'OK, what’ve you got?' I know Richie's got a lot to share with us. He went through the ritual on this tour, did great work on stage, the fans embraced him, so it's now time to see what we're capable of, the writing trio of Glenn [Tipton, guitar] and Richie and myself. We’ve already got a lot of stuff in the flash drives, stuff that basically Glenn and myself put together while K. K. [Downing, guitar] was mulling over whether he was going to stay or go. So before we launched the tour with Richie, we had a lot of material, and the bulk of it is very, very strong."
Regarding whether technology has changed the band's songwriting process at all, Halford said: "It's dangerous to walk around with a flash drive on a bunch of keys. [Laughs] To a great extent, it doesn't really change. The technology is amazing in terms of the advantages it brings to music now, some of it good, some of it very bad. It's all about discipline and self-belief, determination, wanting to do the best you can do and not accepting anything that's below par. We've always had that attitude in Priest. We've always felt really strongly about any track that goes out for our fans. We're still doing it like we always have: firing up the riffs and finding a vocal melody to go with it, me going into me wonderful world of the Roget's Thesaurus and trying to come up with a new lyric and a new idea. And that's what we've been doing for four decades."
|Drowned in Sound||7/10|
Redeemer of Souls has been largely praised by critics and has been hailed as a return for the band, following the lackluster response to its previous album Nostradamus. Chad Bowar, reviewing for About.com, commented that new guitarist Richie Faulkner seemed to "energize" the band – and that even in his 60s, Halford still displayed ample vocal ability on the record. Bowar praised several of the album's songs, including "Sword of Damocles" and "Battle Cry".
Allmusic's James Christopher Monger noted that the album was the "antithesis" to 2008's Nostradamus. Monger defined "Dragonaut" and "Metalizer" as the album's high points and stated that Redeemer of Souls deserves to stand alongside albums like Sad Wings of Destiny and British Steel.
Ray Van Horn, Jr. of Blabbermouth.net stated that Faulkner and Tipton sound "just fine together, trading off solos and keeping their riffs glued tight", while at the same time lamenting K. K. Downing's absence.
|2.||"Redeemer of Souls"||3:58|
|3.||"Halls of Valhalla"||6:04|
|4.||"Sword of Damocles"||4:54|
|5.||"March of the Damned"||3:55|
|6.||"Down in Flames"||3:56|
|7.||"Hell & Back"||4:46|
|11.||"Secrets of the Dead"||5:41|
|13.||"Beginning of the End"||5:07|
|Deluxe edition bonus disc/5 Souls EP|
|2.||"Tears of Blood"||4:19|
|4.||"Bring It On"||3:18|
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||31|
|Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)||6|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)||25|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)||30|
|Canadian Albums (Billboard)||5|
|Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)||1|
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|UK Albums (OCC)||12|
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|US Billboard 200||6|
|US Top Hard Rock Albums (Billboard)||1|
|US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)||1|
|US Billboard Hard Rock Albums||19|
|US Billboard Rock Albums||60|
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