Metal Gods’ new ascent to throne

Judas Priest has been making music since the 1970s and is considered one of the most important and influential bands in metal. With its latest release, Nostradamus, the band has crafted its most ambitious effort to date. The Metal Masters Tour has also taken the band all around the world, playing in countries such as Romania and Turkey.

"It is amazing to travel to those places," guitarist K.K. Downing said. "We plan to one day play [in] India, which has over a billion people so we hope there will be a lot of metalheads there."

The Metal Masters Tour is on the North American trek, and also features a heavyweight line up including support from Heaven and Hell, Testament and Mötorhead.

"Originally we wanted an all-UK metal tour," Downing said. "Well, what we wanted to do was a tour that had value and that is what we had in mind when we put it together."

Judas Priest songs have also been featured in popular video games, such as Guitar Hero and the Grand Theft Auto series. VH1’s "Rock Honors" program also chose Judas Priest as its first inductees.

"That was great; a lot of fun and it was very special to us to be inducted, especially being the first band." Downing said.

Accolades aside, the band is fortunate to continue to be able to play and sell out shows all around the world, leaving Downing little time to listen to newer acts.

"Well, we are on tour all the time," he said. "We’ve recently done 22 festivals including one in front of 72,000 people with Neil Young."

Being a veteran of the music industry, Downing has seen it all as far as rock music is concerned.

"Metal, music in general, is growing. The whole industry has its ups and downs," he said.

The video for the lead single, "War" has been given animated treatment: a larger-than-life clip that looks straight out of a CGI-enhanced video game.

"A new company from the UK helped with it, and we wanted to go for that (larger-than-life) feeling and the treatment for the video really fits the song and what we were trying to accomplish," Downing said.

Nostradamus is a rock-opera similar to The Who’s Tommy and more recently, Green Day’s American Idiot. With Nostradamus, Judas Priest was able to tap into new orchestrations to create their own rock-opera.

The Metal Masters Tour invades town Aug. 23 at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

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