Decades ago, former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing was at the forefront of the metal movement in England and even though he's retired from music, he wants to ensure the success of the next generation of metal rockers from his homeland. As such, Downing has taken on a second career as a concert promoter.

According to the Birmingham Post, Downing has founded The Future of Heavy Metal as a way to help new bands in the Midlands of England get the support they need to help their career along. Together with partner and experienced promoter Dave Coleman, the pair have been staging concerts to put a spotlight on new talent.

"I think the way the industry is now it is exceptionally tough for young bands as there is no one around anymore who is willing to back and support them," says Downing. "In the past when you had some interest from managers or record companies, you could get advances. Record companies would give an advance to buy instruments or make a record. That's not happening anymore."

With the business model changing, Downing says the only way young bands can afford to make it is if they begin their career with a bit of wealth to begin with, and that's excluding some great talent in the process.

With The Future of Heavy Metal, Downing and Coleman hope to alleviate some of the financial burden by showcasing new talent. They've already given Hostile, Under Blackened Skies, Fury and Moray Filth a stage to play with gigs in Birmingham and Wolverhampton and they hope to stage more.

Downing recalls the early days of playing five or six times a week and he says that's the way that bands get the experience and attention needed to succeed. He concludes, "The home of metal has always been Birmingham and the Black Country and I would like to see it continue. I'd like to think there is a future of heavy metal and that this area is going to be at the forefront, leading and paving the way for others."

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