Judas Priest in Rockford Sept. 28

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11273298442088.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of www.judaspriest.com’, ‘Metal gods Judas Priest returned to the stage for the first time in 21 years in 2004. They'll headline the 2005 Retribution Tour stop at the MetroCentre Sept. 28, with opening act Anthrax.’);

One of the biggest British heavy metal legendary bands is back on the road for the second time in North America for the “Angel of Retribution Tour.”

Last year, Judas Priest performed for the first time in 21 years. Next week, they will play in Rockford as the headliners of the 2005 Retribution Tour with Anthrax.

Just a few years ago, Judas Priest announced its plans for a reunion tour. They started off the tour by co-headlining Ozzfest 2004.

They also went back into the studio with the original Judas Priest lineup and produced a new album, Angel of Retribution, in March 2005.

Judas Priest formed in Birmingham, United Kingdom, in 1969. They were considered a huge part of the new wave of British heavy metal at the time.

The classic lineup of the band, consisting of Rob Halford (vocals), K.K. Downing (guitar), Glenn Tripton (guitar) and Ian Hill (bass) were considered “The Metal Gods” because of their popularity and influence on the current musical sound.

Throughout the years, bands have listed Judas Priest as influences on their music. Bands like Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Pantera all said Judas Priest was a big influence on them.

Judas Priest began with a friendship between Downing and Hill. When the two became teen-agers, they both had similar musical interests and were learning to play an instrument.

Downing had joined a local ensemble named Judas Priest and was soon left to carry on the name when founder Bruno Stapenhill left the band.

Several changes were made to the member lineup, especially drummers, before Halford and drummer John Hinch joined the band.

The band was about to begin recording its first studio album when the record company suggested they get another musician. Another guitarist, Tipton, joined Judas Priest to complete the lineup.

Members of the band felt their first album, RockaRolla, was recorded with bad sound quality and were upset with management for excluding songs and shortening others into two-minute instrumentals.

Even if their first album turned out poorly, this lineup managed to record 12 studio and two live albums that sold more than 35 million albums globally.

Throughout those years, the lineup stayed pretty steady with the exception of drummers. Judas Priest has been through eight drummers since its first album in 1974. The only other massive change in lineup was the departure of Halford in 1993, who returned in 2003 to resume lead vocals.

Their newest album, Angel of Retribution, is the first studio album for Halford, Tipton, Downing, Hill and drummer Scott Travis to record all together in 15 years.

What makes this new tour so historical is it’s the original band playing fresh material off their new album along with some old classics.

“It’s going fantastically well,” Downing said. “If anybody is a real rock/metal fan, they should really come to the show.”

Judas Priest will perform Sept. 28 at the MetroCentre, 300 Elm St., starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $38.50. Info: 968-5222.

From the Sept. 21-27, 2005, issue

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