KK's Priest - The Sinner Rides Again

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Two journeymen of heavy metal --- guitarist K.K. Downing and singer Tim "Ripper" Owens, both former members of Judas Priest --- team up here for a satisfying album of classic metal. Downing has stated that his goal is to keep the classic metal sound alive and KK's Priest has done a fantastic job of it with The Sinner Rides Again. That doesn't mean that the album sounds like Judas Priest; it doesn't (or not much anyway) unless you're talking about either of the two Judas Priest albums that Owens sang on, Jugulator and Demolition. But true to Downing's desire, The Sinner Rides Again fits in nicely with the great metal that had its first heyday 30 to 40 years ago. "Sons of the Sentinel" for example nods to Iron Maiden, "Strike of the Viper" has Megadeth running through its venom while "Reap the Whirlwind" seems to be inspired by Ronnie James Dio. Then there's a little Black Sabbath in the single "Hymn 66" where Owens growls like the devil while also plying his familiar ultra-high range in a demonic choir. The cut also features a fiery solo from Downing, one of the flashiest on the album. "Keeper of the Graves" begins with Owens again channeling a satanic sound, with gruff vocals and a scary, gothic sounding background. That all hints that something is about to happen and it does as the song explodes into a pummeling rhythm with serious guitar riffing and soloing from Downing and second guitarist A.J. Mills. The rhythm section here is Tony Newton on bass and Sean Elg on drums who combine to add to the heaviness with Elg sounding particularly manic as he beats the skins like his life depends on it. Nine songs altogether and there's plenty of good head banging fun within.


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