Album review: KK’s Priest – Sermons Of The Sinner

Former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing hits all the metal highs on powerhouse solo debut…

Horror films often get scathing reviews in the press, critics pouncing on their use of endlessly recycled genre conventions. What the writers fail to appreciate is that it’s precisely these tropes that horror fans adore. The same can of course be said for traditional, old-school heavy metal – and new albums rarely feel so reassuringly familiar as this debut from the pointedly named KK’s Priest.

Since leaving British Steel magnates Judas Priest in 2011, guitarist K.K. Downing has by his own admission made a few rubbish business moves”, but soon regained his passion for music by launching a new rock venue (K.K.’s Steelmill in Wolverhampton) and forming this new outfit alongside vocalist and fellow Priest acolyte Tim Ripper’ Owens.

It opens – as it continues – in a fury of screaming, head-mangling guitars. Hellfire Thunderbolt signals K.K.’s intention – you sit bolt upright, forcibly reminded of what an incredible musician the guy is. Ripper’ continues to emulate the siren-type wails and shrieks so beloved of Rob Halford, as he did during his two-album tenure with the Midlands legends, and Hail For The Priest and the title-track do not so much nod in that direction as furiously bang their heads against its wall. K.K.’s former employers are likely to be especially interested in the album’s epic closer Return Of The Sentinel, clearly a sequel to 1984’s The Sentinel – which K.K. co-wrote. Less impressive however is Metal Through And Through, a routine workout that simply doesn’t know when to end.

Utterly dedicated to its enjoyably cliched, metallic core, this is nevertheless some way to celebrate a 70th birthday (which KK does on October 27). It feels less like an alternative and more like a supplement to Judas Priest, small variations on very similar themes. But does it rock? Holy hell, yes.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Dio, Accept, Judas Priest

Sermons Of The Sinner is released by EX1 Records on October 1 

Posted on September 29th 2021, 11:00a.m.
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