Sometimes, you just need some straight up, old fashioned heavy metal, and if anyone can deliver on that, it’s former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist, KK Downing. With the added edition of ex JUDAS PRIEST vocalist, Tim “Ripper” Owens, you can expect something extra special from KK’S PRIEST. While it’s hard not to compare KK’S PRIEST to JUDAS PRIEST, it’s worth saying from the very beginning that KK’S PRIEST are musically talented in their own right. Now with that admin of the way, let’s get into the meat of this review.
The band’s first offering, Sermons Of The Sinner, is about what you would expect from a band comprised of ex JUDAS PRIEST members. Starting with Incarnation which is more spoken word than song before quickly leading into Hellfire Thunderbolt. As the name suggests, Hellfire Thunderbolt is a straightforward heavy metal track with fiery riffs galore and is the first track that displays KK’S PRIEST old school thrash influence. Chugging thrash chords are featured frequently across Sermons Of The Sinner, especially in songs like Sacerdote y Diabolo, Hail for the Priest, and the album’s title track. Power Metal influences are also prominent throughout the record, especially in Raise Your Fists, and Wild And Free.
As you get deeper into the record it’s hard not to admire KK Downing’s incredible guitar skill. There are so many memorable riffs (my favourite being the core riff in Sacerdote y Diablo) which are held up by strong chord progression and machine gun drumming. Along with awe inspiring heavy metal riffs are the evocative of Tim “Ripper” Owens. In the past, Owens has always stood in the shadow of Rob Halford, which is understandable as he’s the metal god, but Owens gets a chance to show what he’s really capable of here. Vocal highlights can be found in the epic tracks, Metal Through And Through and Return Of The Sentinel. Return Of The Sentinel is a phenomenal end to the band’s first album with Owens proving his chops as he demonstrates his range throughout the track’s progression.
After having listened to the album several times it’s clear that KK’S PRIEST are a force not to be reckoned with. Are they better than heavy metal legends JUDAS PRIEST? While many JUDAS PRIEST fans in Facebook groups are trying to answer this question, the truth is, it would be unfair at this stage to give a solid yes or no answer. KK’S PRIEST are a new group and don’t have the 50 years of heavy metal tag under their belt to solidify their talent. Additionally, some may argue that KK’S PRIEST are a watered-down version of the real thing, and I can see why. What with the name of the band and the addition of Tim “Ripper” Owens, some may say that KK’S PRIEST are riding off the waves of JUDAS PRIEST. As a massive JUDAS PRIEST fan, I was concerned about this at first too, but actually I don’t agree with these kinds of statements, at least for the most part.
KK’S PRIEST have constructed a handful of solid heavy metal tracks sprinkled with sing-along power metal chorus’s and clever riffs from one of the guitarist’s that helped to shape JUDAS PRIEST on Sermons Of The Sinner, But unlike JUDAS PRIEST, they have yet to really craft their own sound. JUDAS PRIEST are known for rapid fire riffs, soaring high vocals, and are even cited as being the inventors of the heavy metal look. KK’S PRIEST are a good heavy metal band with lots of promise. But I think they still have an album or two to go before they mature their sound and come into their own. However, with tracks like Raise Your Fists and Sacerdote y Diablo in their back catalogue, I’m excited to see what comes next for the band.
Words: Megan Taylor
Sermons Of The Sinner is out now via EX1Records