KK’s Priest with Special Guests LA Guns and Burning Witches
You can’t keep a heavy metal legend down. Although it’s been over a dozen years since guitarist and songwriter K.K. Downing departed Judas Priest, the iconic band he co-founded and played with for 40 years, he was never really going to retire. It was only a matter of time before he reclaimed the spotlight. As his new album title proclaims, The Sinner Rides Again.
K.K. has had metal coursing through his veins from the beginning, starting in the Midlands region of England where Judas Priest was born. He compellingly chronicled his life odyssey in his 2018 autobiography, and his recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame further secures his legacy as a pioneering guitarist. His renewed passion for his chosen genre was well represented with his band KK’s Priest and their thunderous debut album Sermons Of The Sinner released in October 2021. The high speed “Hellfire Thunderbolt” and rousing rockers like “Raise Your Fists” and “Wild And Free” reveled in the passion and excess that metal fans covet.
The Sinner Rides Again, the second and newest album from KK’s Priest, continues holding the torch for classic metal just as its predecessor did. There’s the emotive singing and intense screams of his past Priest bandmate Tim “Ripper” Owens, the high velocity guitar sparring between Downing and A.J. Mills, and the agile rhythm section of bassist Tony Newton and drummer Sean Elg. The band’s first effort roared out of the gate with passion and aggression, as if they were a new band with something to prove – and in a sense, they were – and their sophomore release also finds the sweet spot between racing riffs and majestic mid-tempo anthems, while the lyrics take a more contemplative, personal tone.
The Sinner Rides Again kicks off with the turbo-charged “Sons Of The Sentinel,” then other songs on this musical journey traverse different territory. “Reap The Whirlwind” plays off of a distinctly ‘70s Priest vibe. The gothic-flavored “Hymn 66” and “Keeper Of The Graves” contrast tranquility with thunder within multi-layered compositions. Lyrical themes of salvation, redemption, and unity emerge, while there is also the sense of an individual soldiering through the tempests of life and refusing to surrender, epitomized by the closing anthem “Wash Away Your Sins.”
There are also Priest easter eggs to be found throughout the album. Fans will notice guitar squeals that invoke his famous solo on “Sinner”. One can hear little echoes of “The Ripper” and “Dissident Aggressor” in the new “Hymn 66”. Various classic Priest album and song titles surface in different configurations throughout the new album.
As a co-founding member of the classic Judas Priest line-up, Downing helped lay the foundation for the heavy metal genre as a whole. His distinct style of playing is easily identifiable, he was part of a six-string duo that complemented and contrasted each other, and they would progress to new levels of excitement. He has taken that ethos and applied it to KK’s Priest with impassioned results.
Fans already excited by the announcement of The Sinner Rides Again will also be elated that KK’s Priest are gearing up for their first round of shows in the UK and Europe in the summer and fall of 2023.
Downing’s recent prolific output comes after years of quietly enjoying life away from the rigors of the road and intense studio recording. He emerged again unexpectedly on stage in August 2019. His former bandmates had been given the Heavy Metal Hall Of Fame award at the Wacken Open Air festival that summer, and HMHOF board member Steve Goldby wanted to give the guitarist his award at Bloodstock. From there, the conversation led to the iconic six-stringer performing a few songs with Ross The Boss. The performance electrified the crowd and reinvigorated Downing.
In November of that year, Downing put on a show in Wolverhampton, UK with former Judas Priest singer Tim “Ripper” Owens, former drummer Les Binks, Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, and Hostile guitarist A.J. Mills. (He had produced two albums for the latter’s band.) Spanning Judas Priest’s catalog, this superb and successful show sent shockwaves throughout the metal world: K.K. was back and the fans were clearly hungry for more.
Rather than simply rely on his past successes and go on the road performing classic Judas Priest songs, the renowned guitarist did what he has always done – make new music. Downing assembled Owens, Mills, Newton, and Elg to create Sermons Of The Sinner, an album that celebrated their classic metal roots and encouraged us to cherish those iconic pioneers whom we still have with us. Downing jokes that KK’s Priest is “like a new old band. Or an old new band.”
It’s clear that Downing’s disciples want more from KK’s Priest. The tracks from Sermons of The Sinner have racked up millions of streams, and The Sinner Rides Again will replicate that success. He is united with his fellow defenders of the faith in keeping the timeless spirit of classic metal alive.
If four crazy girls burn hard for Heavy Metal, they can only call themselves BURNING WITCHES. The girls are ready to make history together – the hottest hard & heavy export from Europe. It’s evident that Burning Witches want the riff front and center. They have a solid heavy metal sound that flirts with power metal and thrash at times.