"Sermons of the Sinner" (Ex1 Records; 2021 )

Reviewed by Snidermann

I always thought KK Downing left Judas Priest because he was sick of it all. He didn't want to tour anymore and he was just tired. But I was wrong. Apparently, he left Priest because of "ongoing issues between members of the band and management." He had been in that band for 40 years and just said, fuck it, and started his own band. Hence, name: KK's Priest.

On a personal note, the singer of KK's Priest is Timothy "Ripper" Owens (named after the Priest song, "The Ripper"). Ripper was the singer of a Judas Priest cover band called British Steel (after the Priest album of the same name, of course). When Judas Priest needed a replacement when Rob Halford stepped out, they picked Ripper Owens. Ripper was in Judas Priest for two releases: 1997's "Jugulator" and "Demolition" from 2001. Both were great releases, but alas, not Rob Halford. Check out the movie "Rock Star" that came out in 2001 with Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston. The movie was not reportedly not about Judas Priest but it sure as hell looked like it.

On another side note, R. Scott Bolton and I saw Ripper with Priest in Los Angeles around 1997 and it was outstanding ... but, alas, again not with Rob on vocals.

I know what you're thinking: "Enough background already, SniderMann! Review the damn release already!" Well, okay. Listening to "Sermons of the Sinner" was like listening to a Judas Priest release. KK Downing wrote all the music for this recording and it is killer, with all the nuances and style points of a good Judas Priest recording. It was like listening to a recording in a parallel universe not our own; familiar but ... not.

I think if you're a Judas Priest fan you'll like "Sermons of the Sinner."

It just occurred to me this very second, the name of the recording is "Sermons of the Sinner" and the track list plays like an actual sermon.  Check it out:

"Hellfire Thunderbolt"
"Sermons of the Sinner"
"Sacerdote Y Diablo" ("Priest and the Devil" in Spanish)
"Raise Your Fists"
"Brother of the Road"
"Metal Through and Through"
"Wild and Free"
"Hail for the Priest"
"Return of the Sentinel"

This release first came out in 2021 and I can't believe that it took me two years to experience this recording. The music and lyrical content is dark and more than a bit twisted and a hell of a lot of fun. While listening to "Sermons," I reminisce about all those killer Priest songs that have been written (at least partially) by KK Downing and there are a shit load of them. It's as though they've been transmuted to fit the new band.

One thing KK's Priest has that Judas Priest does not have KK Downing writing new music and lyrics. The original Priest may have a large catalog of old music to draw upon, but they no longer have KK doing his metal music thing. This music is deep, thought-provoking, in-your-face metal music of the highest order. I can't fricken wait to hear what Kenneth Keith (KK) Downing Jr. has in store for his new band.

For more information, check out https://www.kkspriest.com.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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