Richie Faulkner and Judas Priest have a new album coming out in 2024 titled Invincible Shield. In a conversation with Ernie Ball, Faulkner described what the new sound of the album would be like and even got into some topics about his predecessor in the band, KK Downing. Famously, Downing quit Judas Priest just before their Epitaph World Tour, which was set to be their final one. The Priest plucked Richie Faulkner to replace him, and that tour ended up rejuvenating the band. It wasn’t their final world tour, and they’re embarking on dates in the US, UK, and more next year.

In the interview, he spoke about how joining Judas Priest influenced his style and how he changed their style.

“Stylistically, it was always a conscious thing to honor what came before, but also, I was aware of being my own person. They always were — both Ken [K.K. Downing] and Glenn [Tipton], and all the icons; they had their own thing. So, I came in sounding like Zakk Wylde, Michael Schenker, and Dave Murray rolled into a ball.”

It would be easy to just hop up there on stage and play like KK Downing, imitating his style, but that’s not what Richie did. Here’s what he had to say about changing his style through the years.

“You get into a [high] profile band like this — the spotlight’s on you, so you can’t do that. You know, what are you gonna say? You’ve got the platform to carve your own voice, so what are you gonna say? So, there was a part of me that respected what came before, but now I’ve gotta think about what I’m gonna say as well. And it’s a continuing journey, the more you create, the more thought goes into the evolution of your own voice.”

His New Licks, Riffs, And Playing Style On Invincible Shield

Invincible Shield sees Judas Priest tackling new material for the first time since 2018s Firepower. It would be easy for them to just make a sequel to that album and call it a day. However, Faulkner had this to say about creatively challenging himself and the band. He also spoke about not disrespecting KK Downing and himself by copying his style.

“On the new record, I’m not gonna be playing K.K. Downing licks — it would be inappropriate and disrespectful [both] to him and myself. After three records in, I should be creating my own voice by now.

It is a conscious thing, purely because it’s always been a challenge for me to have my own voice. I’ve played in cover bands, so you copy, emulate… So, it’s always been a challenge to find [my voice], but one is, I think, a healthy challenge.”

From the two tracks we’ve heard so far, “Panic Attack” and “Trial By Fire”, it feels like their evolving on their sound from Firepower. It’s not quite Firepower 2, but it’s familiar feeling. That’s really the special thing about Judas Priest these days. They can sound familiar and heavy, and then still iterate on their sound enough to make it feel new.

Invincible Shield Tracklist

  1. Panic Attack
  2. The Serpent and the King
  3. Invincible Shield
  4. Devil In Disguise
  5. Crown of Horns
  6. As God Is My Witness
  7. Trial By Fire
  8. Escape From Reality
  9. Sons of Thunder
  10. Giants In The Sky

Invincible Shield releases on March 8th, 2024.

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Source: Ernie Ball

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