KK's Priest - The Sinner Rides Again album art

KK’s Priest – The Sinner Rides Again (Album Review)

KK's Priest band 2023 photo

A founder member of Judas Priest, K. K. Downing is unquestionably one of the most influential guitarists in Heavy Metal history. Departing from the band which he helped build in 2011, Downing has kept busy outside Judas Priest; collaborating with others, and releasing his autobiography Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest in 2018. Then to the delight of many, Downing performed some Judas Priest songs with former band members Tim “Ripper” Owens and Les Binks, former Megadeth Bassist David Ellefson and Hostile Guitarist A.J. Mills in a one-off show in ’18. A fun experience for those who were lucky enough to attend, little did anyone know that it would spark Downing to form a new band and pick up where he left off with Judas Priest. Forming KK’s Priest in 2020, they would release the stunning debut album Sermons of the Sinner in 2021, and now return in 2023 for more with The Sinner Rides Again.

Arriving on September 29th through Napalm Records, the new album features Downing on lead guitar, along with former Judas Priest Vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens, matched with Guitarist A.J. Mills, Bassist Tony Newton, and Drummer Sean Elg. A stellar lineup of accomplished players, if you heard Sermons of the Sinner, you are aware that this band offers some high octane traditional Heavy Metal. Speedy, melodic, and powerful, the music matched with Ripper Owens’ voice makes it feel like the old days. What this means is you feel like you are listening to classic Judas Priest, which you theoretically are in a way, considering you have Downing orchestrating the band. Hence naming the project KK’s Priest, with respect to his former bandmates in Judas Priest, who are still rocking hard, Downing is blazing his own way in the modern era.

These thoughts all in mind, the new album consists of nine tracks in total which were written (with collaboration of his bandmates) and produced by Downing himself. With that, Downing taps into some killer riffs that are reminiscent of a time when Heavy Metal shined brightest during the ‘80s era. And this does not mean there is any recycling here, because everything KK’s Priest offers is fresh, inspired Metal music. Blazing away, The Sinner Rides Again in many ways picks up where Sermons of the Sinner left off. 

Led by singles such as the chant-along “One More Shot At Glory,” “Reap The Whirlwind,” and “Strike Of The Viper,” the band gives you a solid sample of what this album is all about. However, these three do not tell the entire story, because some of the biggest gems here include “Sons Of The Sentinel,” the album’s well laid out title-track, and “Pledge Your Souls.” Each Metal through and through, the tempo changes make for an interesting listen, but truthfully, the darker, slower moments really shine brightest. This is not to say the blister guitar work, including some amazing solos, are not stellar… it just means the diversity is really what sells this well.

All in all KK’s Priest keeps the wheel rolling with The Sinner Rides Again and reminds us that there is still a place for Heavy Metal in this world. Well-produced, dynamic, and better with each listen, Cryptic Rock gives The Sinner Rides Again 4 out of 5 stars. 

KK's Priest - The Sinner Rides Again album artwork
KK’s Priest – The Sinner Rides Again / Napalm Records (2023)

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