In a new interview with Dr. Music, former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens was asked for his opinion on the band's latest album, 2018's critically acclaimed effort "Firepower". He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I heard it. I bought it on iTunes the day it came out… I thought it was refreshing. I thought it was a great record. It was different. It was nice they brought in some different producers and brought Tom back," he said, referencing producer Tom Allom, the man behind the board for all of PRIEST's releases from 1979 to 1988, including such stellar classics as "Unleashed In The East", "British Steel", "Screaming For Vengeance" and "Defenders Of The Faith".
"The music was not normal JUDAS PRIEST to me," Tim continued. "You could tell it was written by other people, not the classic [PRIEST songwriting team]. [Guitarists] Glenn [Tipton] and Ken [K.K. Downing are] not there anymore. But that didn't make it not a great record. And [singer] Rob [Halford] sounded unbelievable. So it's a great record.
"Rob sounds fantastic now," Owens added. "It's funny 'cause singers go through periods where we don't sound as good; I think I'm going through my period right now. Rob went through a period where he might not have sounded as good years and years ago, and people would talk about it. And now it's come back again full — he's full force, so it's cool to listen to."
Owens joined PRIEST in 1996 and recorded two studio albums with the band — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before PRIEST reunited with Halford in 2003.
In a 2014 interview with Über Rock, Owens said that "Jugulator" "probably [would] have been [hailed as] a masterpiece if Halford's name had been on" it. Three years earlier, he told the San Antonio Metal Music Examiner that "Jugulator" was "better" than "Nostradamus", the 2008 PRIEST double-disc concept album which was based on the mysterious, world-known 16th century French prophet Nostradamus.
Back in 2005, shortly after the release of PRIEST's first post-Owens album, "Angel Of Retribution", Tim told BLABBERMOUTH.NET about the effort: "I think that it's a pretty good CD with some good metal moments on it. There are moments on the CD that I just don't like, but that is with every CD you get, so I won't even name them (number 4 — OOPS!). The drums aren't 'Painkiller' but they are good. Overall, I think it is a good, hard-rocking CD. I would put it right up there with 'Ram It Down'."
Owens is currently in a new band called KK'S PRIEST with ex-JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing, along with guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE), bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX) and drummer Sean Elg (DEATHRIDERS, CAGE).
KK'S PRIEST's debut album, "Sermons Of The Sinner", was released on October 1 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.