Released by: Napalm Records
Release Date: September 29th, 2023
Genre: Classic Heavy Metal
Tim “Ripper” Owens – Vocals
K.K. Downing – Guitar
A.J. Mills – Guitar
Tony Newton – Bass
Sean Elg – Drums
1. Sons Of The Sentinel
2. Strike Of The Viper
3. Reap The Whirlwind
4. One More Shot At Glory
5. Hymn 66
6. The Sinner Rides Again
7. Keeper Of The Graves
8. Pledge Your Souls
9. Wash Away Your Sins
40 years of playing Metal is a bloody long time!!! K.K. Downing is a Metal pioneer, in his time helping write and play some of the most memorable tunes in Metal icon Judas Priest’s history, and that will be forever cemented in stone. Now saying all that, when KK exited Priest, a lot of things were said, a lot of stuff that you hate to read about, especially for long-time fans of the band. He had been out since 2011, and books were written on both sides in regards to allegations made and this and that. A lot of dirty business was laid out. Again you hate to see that because so much beautiful music was made together, you hope that didn’t tarnish the reputation and or perception of fans towards both sides. In the end, I’m sure there are deeper-rooted issues for all this craziness, but we aren’t going to get into that here because we don’t know anything.
Regardless of the drama, K.K. made his rightful return to Metal with his band KK’S Priest in 2020, bringing along Tim “Ripper” Owens back into the fold (Former Judas Priest singer), that debut “Sermons of the Sinner” record which received positive reviews, but also lukewarm from some long time fans who we’re upset about the name he chose to go with, etc etc. You can’t please everybody but I think we can all agree that the Metal world is a better place when you have Metal legends still around playing today at the ripe age of 71.
Now couple of years later we have a new joint from K.K. Downing and company. Still with Ripper on board along with A.J. Mills (guitar), Tony Newton (bass), and Sean Elg (drums). We spoke recently to Owens about the new record and tour dates that we’re in the works for the new release, feel free to check that out here.
In terms of the new record, what will K.K. and crew follow up with? There’s already been so much buzz going on this one since their last-minute appearance at Bloodstock Open Air some weeks back, good or bad here we go…
Look I’ll cut to the point, no BS here, K.K. can still do it, some of the guitar solos and patented riffs are all showcased throughout “The Sinner Rides Again”. This is Classic Metal in its finest form, the way only these legends can play it. The high-impact churn in “Sons of the Sentinel” is cemented in Steel, a pure slab of Classic Metal. The double-kick gallops are so nice to hear. The next cut “Strike of the Viper” fits Ripper perfectly, this is the sort of tune that Owens can sing in his sleep, put some respect on the man’s name, he’s not just a hired gun give him some damn credit for the highs he can hit and how he can belt out the screams and back to clean vocals anytime. Truly underrated and never gets given the proper credit for his long catalog of contributions.
The chord progression in “Reap The Whirlwind” is super tight, later giving way to another blazing K.K. solo, this one shifts quickly but stands out among the album. The gothic undertones on the bass remind me of Cathedral Spires, but with bass instead of guitar, no idea why. This song rips again, the gallop screams Classic Metal again. Is clear Downing just keeps formulating what he knows best, and that is respected and accepted.
The classic staples continue in “One More Shot at Glory”, ohh the irony of this song, is so fitting. The change in rhythm is the key here, very well done and plays to perfection to one’s ears. The ender “Wash Away Your Sins” is again a raw display of guitar wizardry from Downing, love to see it.
Co-founding the legendary Priest certainly gave way to some amazing music in a long storied career. K.K. Downing has the right to continue his legacy in his way, he’s earned that much. Whether you disagree with all the said stuff in the past shouldn’t deter metal fans from enjoying more great music. And for that, there’s plenty of it here. The formula seems less formulaic this time around with more tempo shifts, and more interesting chord progressions on top of K.K.”s sick guitar solos. This one stands on its own merit and with legitimate reasons. Don’t sleep on it as fans of the old school would be keen to pick it up!!!
Written by: Shadow Editor