Judas Priest are probably one of the best metal bands in the history of the genre, and certainly one of the most important. And, sure, their post-reunion-with-Halford studio albums haven’t been so great, but they haven’t been unbearably terrible, either, and the band still puts on a really, really fun show live.

So why am I feeling so over it with them? Well, let’s begin by going over all the drama that has surrounded the group just in the past seven months.

First word got out this past December that that they were doing a farewell tour before tiring, which I actually thought was an admirable move; more bands should break-up before they start to seriously suck and poop all over their legacy. But then, less than two months later, the band announced that they were NOT breaking-up, and were even working on new material — they just were no longer going to do any “major world tours.”

And I guess to their credit, I don’t recall ever seeing a statement from the band where they used the word “retirement.” It’s entirely possible they said “We’re not doing any major touring anymore” and someone spun that into “They’re breaking up!” Except that it took them almost two months to release the second, clarifying statement, which immediately makes the whole thing suspect — ’cause it’s not like they were totally unaware that people were running around saying they were breaking up. And the statement trying to clear things up for their fans was a sentence long, so there’s no way it took nearly eight weeks to complete. Also, they’re calling it the Epitaph Tour, which, y’know, strongly suggests they’re calling it a day, because you don’t write someone’s epitaph when he cuts down on his work load, you write it when he fucking dies.

And then K.K. Downing, inarguably one of the most important elements of the band, quit. Didn’t even stick around for this last major tour. Just packed up his shit and split.

The band announced that they were soldiering on without Downing, and hired some dude no one has ever heard of and no one cares about to take his place.

And now they’ve announced that this last major tour will be with whatever is passing for Thin Lizzy these days and Black Label Society. (And, oh yeah, joy of joys, possibly an appearance on American Idol. Anso, our residet Idolator, should have more on that later.)

So we’re getting a not-really-farewell tour with a not-really-great bill, followed by a studio album not featuring key members of the band’s classic line-up (’cause that worked out so well for JP last time they tried it), followed by… yawn.

Who. Fucking. Cares?

But I just can’t believe we got from “Gee, it’s really admirable of them to quit while they’re ahead” to “Holy shit, seriously?” in under a year. That might record time.

And I have a pie in the sky theory about what happened, based on no real fact whatsoever (so take it with a half a grain of salt): the band was gonna break-up, Downing was all into that idea, then they changed their minds, and so Downing split. I think the behind-the-scenes shenanigans are probably twice as frustrating as those to which the public has been privy.

You can tour dates from Metal Insider and watch video of the band’s press conference announcing said tour and unveiling their new guitar player, Riche Faulkner, to the world at  Metal Assault… that is, assuming you’re not as already-bored by this nonsense as I am.

Might be time to add Judas Priest to this list. Sad, sad, sad.


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