More than four decades into their career, Judas Priest are once again staking their claim in the heavy metal history books with their 17th studio album, 'Redeemer of Souls.' Musically, the record is packed with killer guitar riffs from Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner and scorching vocals courtesy of legendary frontman Rob Halford. Visually, the band has put together one of the most striking pieces of cover art ever. Fortunately for vinyl fanatics and metal heads alike, 'Redeemer of Souls' is available as a double-LP housed in a high-quality gatefold jacket.

"It looks absolutely incredible," Halford tells Loudwire in an exclusive sit-down interview. You can watch the whole conversation in the video above. In it, he explains what it was like to hold their first record, 'Rocka Rolla,' 40 years ago, and how his sentiments toward vinyl haven't changed. "You're literally shaking, you've made a record ... It's just really fantastic to think that you can still experience that vibe in vinyl."

"Who would have thought that vinyl would be making a resurgence," Faulkner adds to the conversation. It's a good question, but with a record like 'Redeemer of Souls,' it's no surprise that fans want it on wax. Pressed on two 150-gram records in a gatefold jacket, the most striking element of the release -- besides the music of course -- is the artwork. Created by British artist Mark Wilkinson, the mesmerizing cover art looks downright museum-worthy when viewed on the 12-inch jacket.

This isn't Wilkinson's first project with Priest; he created the covers for several albums including 'Painkiller,' 'Jugulator' and 'Nostradamus.' While he has a history of developing compelling art for the metal band, what he designed for 'Redeemer of Souls' is by far his best work.

When you flip the jacket over, you are greeted with a message -- in true Priest fashion -- that lays out the story for the album. After reading the message and listening to the record, it's obvious that Wilkinson's cover art perfectly connects with the music on several levels. With the vinyl edition, that listening experience is enhanced by the physical product itself. Halford tells us, "It’s tangible … Real fans want to hold something."

There are no printed sleeves that come with the records, but that's not a problem as all of the liner notes and lyrics are found on the inside of the gatefold jacket. In addition, there is a digital download card packed in a sleeve, thus giving fans the best of both worlds. "There’s a strong element to metal heads, they want everything, the vinyl, the CD, the download, whatever," the frontman explains. "We’ve always thought about every aspect of what our fans need."

'Redeemer of Souls' will likely be a record that finds its way to several fans' stacks of wax. From the frame-able cover art to the glossy gatefold jacket to the heavy discs, the vinyl edition of Judas Priest's latest endeavor is a must-have for any metal head.

Judas Priest's 'Redeemer of Souls' is available today via Epic Records. Get your hands on it in all formats, including vinyl, here.

Judas Priest, 'Redeemer of Souls'



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