metal talk
facebook
Type band name, album name, artists name etc here...
Search all our articles by typing band name, album name, artists name etc here...
news now
metal talk






  JONATHAN CHURCHILL: DEFENDING OUR ISLAND
KK DOWNING: DEFENDER OF THE FAITH

5th May 2011

jonathan churchill

Pin It
Share |


Huge news has rocked the Metal world recently as KK Downing, half of Judas Priest's legendary twin-guitar attack, has announced his retirement!

The underlying reasons are not clear, but KK refers to an ongoing breakdown with band members and management in his official press release.

With a World Tour booked and rumours of a new album in 2012, Judas Priest have filled the vacancy with top British guitarist Richie Faulkner. They got the right man for the job but to all of us who love to see KK play live, this is a tragic loss for the world of Metal and a poignant time to showcase some of KK's greatest moments.

kk downing

Famed for his wild, Hendrix-inspired style and crazy whammy-bar solos, KK Downing and Judas Priest have such an influence on modern Heavy Metal worldwide that it's easy to forget the band have been together for over 40 years - and even harder to believe the classic 'Painkiller' album is now 21 years old!

So for all those of you who only listen to 'Painkiller', here are some classic tracks on which KK has worked his magic and helped change the face of Metal forever.

kk downing

Sinner (1977)

One of Judas Priest's lesser-known and most underrated albums is 1977s 'Sin After Sin'. 'Diamonds And Rust' and 'Dissident Aggressor' are key tracks, but the moment when KK really let the world know he was a true Metal pioneer is on 'Sinner'. This is Priest at their most exciting and dynamic. A fast, urgent riff; wild post-apocalypse lyrics; and KK doing his best psychedelic Hendrix impression - freestyling, thrashing the whammy bar, throwing in random notes and creating his trademark sound. With Glenn Tipton generally playing more melodic solos, this is KK's moment to shine. It also features on the album 'Unleashed In The East', and the 'Live Vengeance '82' DVD.



Before the Dawn (1979)

'Before The Dawn' from the late 70s album 'Killing Machine' (or 'Hell Bent For Leather' if you live in the USA) is one of the first great emotional Metal ballads. It's a real change of pace for the band after setting the thrash Metal template previously on the 'Stained Class' album. KK wisely hides his wild side and plays a subtle, gentle and surprisingly emotive solo, which matches the tragic yearning of the lyrics. It's a song that showcases the enormous depth of talent in the band.



Jawbreaker (1984)

KK rips the Metal world a new one yet again on this track from the 'Defenders Of The Faith' album. The lyrics of this song are definitely open to interpretation – part street fight, part gay sauna - but this is Priest firing on all cylinders. The opening five tracks on the 'Defenders' album are the definitive 80s display of pure Heavy Metal. Metallica and Slayer might have been upping the ante and taking Metal to a younger, tougher generation, but 'Defenders Of The Faith' remains the epitome of twin-guitar perfection and power.

KK and Glenn's interplay across the lead breaks on this record is incredible, but the best solo moment belongs to KK for 'Jawbreaker'. His lead guitar power matches the filthy savagery of the lyrics, starting with a frenzied intro that builds and builds until it suddenly pauses and changes direction falling back into the main melody. It's one of the most exciting, fist-pumping moments in the Priest back catalogue. Check out Ville Krannila's fantastic special report at KK Downing's Steel Mill for more on this track!



Painkiller (1990)

No article on Judas Priest is complete without mentioning The Painkiller. If The Sinner was the ultimate back in 1977, then Priest updated the template for 1990. It's the same post-apocalypse lyrics and urgent riffs, but this time with a modern, speed/thrash approach, blitzkrieg drumming and vocals that could strip paint.

'Painkiller' is a monster and will always be known for Glenn's huge solo and Scott Travis' definitive double-bass intro. But tucked away near the end is an awesome KK special moment. As the song winds down, almost five minutes in, Halford is repeating; "This is the Painkiller" and it's all set to fade out. But KK clearly had other ideas and as Halford drives up the vocals and screams "...Killaaaaaaarh", KK comes in with a short but brutal solo giving the song a final lift of power – guitar and vocals both shrieking in harmony. It's a phenomenal ending to a song that definitely will never fade out.



Judas Rising (2005)

Priest returned in 2005 with 'Angel Of Retribution' and opener 'Judas Rising' is worth a mention. This is a strange album with moments of sheer genius, none more so than 'Judas Rising'. With so many European bands ripping off 'Painkiller', Priest change direction with this album opener, taking us all by surprise. This double-bass-led killer just roars into existence louder than a nuclear explosion, but with Halford singing low register, almost operatic and a restrained but insistent riff, led by Scott Travis' lunatic drumming.

It's a song that needs a solo to match. Not one of Glenn's note-perfect melodic lead breaks, but something to match the sheer thunderous intensity of the vocals and lyrics. KK rises to the challenge, reaching into the depths of his 1970s locker to pull out a solo that hints at The Sinner but is disciplined, tight and intense. It's a powerful moment that reminds me of some classic Adrian Smith moments for Maiden.



Victim of Changes (2005 Live)

Recorded for 2005s 'Rising In The East' DVD, this is a brilliant bit of Judas Priest theatre with KK seemingly dressed in the identical leather jerkin and 'Priest' guitar strap he was wearing on the 1982 'Live Vengeance' tour! 'Victim Of Changes' is one of Heavy Metal's golden moments for many reasons, but KK's solo is just awesome. Shredding on his black flying V guitar, throwing in wild notes and playing like his life depended on it, this is just such a classic KK moment. There's a passion and emotion to his playing which perfectly counters Glenn's more studious approach. The interplay between the two, later on 'Hellrider', defines the band. Plus this DVD features 'Judas Rising', 'Painkiller', 'Breaking The Law' and 'Exciter'. What's not to like!



So, KK Downing may be retiring but his music lives on and on. Going right back to the early 1970s, KK's influence on Heavy Metal is extraordinary. If you're not a huge fan of Judas Priest then now's the time to check out their back catalogue and worship at the altar of the Metal Gods. Try downloading:

Unleashed In The East
MetalWorks... 1973 – 1993
Angel Of Retribution
Rising In The East (DVD)

Have you got any classic moments featuring KK that you want to share? Let us know in the MetalTalk.net Forum.

Thanks to Jari and Ville from KK Downing's Steel Mill (www.kkdowning.net) It's a treasure-trove of KK and Judas Priest material and a truly fantastic website. Check it out by clicking here!

kk downing


Pin It
Share |






 
nicko mcbrain AN AUDIENCE WITH NICKO McBRAIN ANNOUNCED FOR THIS SUNDAY IN LONDON
Nicko will not be doing any drumming at the event but it will a chance for fans to meet the legend up close and personal...

lemmy MOTORHEAD 40th ANNIVERSARY TOUR ALL GOING WRONG AS ANOTHER GIG IS PULLED AFTER THREE SONGS
Lemmy let out a sigh and announced: "I can't do it", before leaving the stage with the rest of the band...

edagr winter EDGAR WINTER ANNOUNCES EUROPEAN TOUR
"Are Y'all ready for The Monster?" Edgar Winter hits European shores including a UK date in December...

ghost GHOST ANNOUNCE UK LEG OF EUROPEAN HEADLINE TOUR
Prepare for the full Ghost experience with tickets available from 4th September...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN RELEASE VIDEO GAME BASED ON 'SPEED OF LIGHT'
This is your chance to control Eddie Donkey Kong style...

lemmy MOTORHEAD PULL SALT LAKE CITY CONCERT AFTER FOUR SONGS
A statement on the official Motorhead Facebook page said: "The people are great, but the air is just too thin..."

heavy metal kids HEAVY METAL KIDS ANNOUNCE GARY HOLTON TRIBUTE GIG
The show marks the 30th anniversary of Gary's death. He passed away at the age of 33 due to his excessive rock 'n roll lifestyle...

the sword THE SWORD TO COMMENCE UK TOUR IN SEPTEMBER
The tour is in support of their fifth album 'High Country'...

wolf GENTLEMANS PISTOLS ANNOUNCE LONDON SHOW AT THE UNDERWORLD
"We hope you can dust off the Monday blues and join us for a debauched evening of wine, whiskey and song..."

wolf WOLF ANNOUNCE TOUR WITH ENFORCER
"This package is so much Metal that everyone coming to the shows will have a hard time passing airport security and metal detectors for a foreseeable future..."

jared james nichols JARED JAMES NICHOLS TO RELEASE 'HIGHWAYMAN' EP
The EP features the new single 'We're An American Band'...

michael monroe MICHAEL MONROE REVEALS 'BLACKOUT STATES' ARTWORK + CO-HEADLINE TOUR WITH HARDCORE SUPERSTAR
"It has all the ingredients of a perfect rock n' roll record - strong melodic songs with great meaningful lyrics that defy all clichés..."

turbowolf TURBOWOLF ANNOUNCE UK, EUROPE & US TOUR DATES
"Seeing all your wonderful faces, staring into those expectant eyes, and giving you all exactly what you're looking for, and maybe a little bit more..."

mike shinoda MIKE SHINODA'S FORT MINOR TO PLAY FIRST LONDON SHOW IN 10 YEARS
Shinoda will fit in these special one man shows around Linkin Park's European tour...

babymetal BABYMETAL TO HEADLINE WEMBLEY ARENA NEXT APRIL
Can't wait till April? Two new live DVD releases have also been confirmed for October release...

cats in space CATS IN SPACE ANNOUNCE THE RELEASE OF DEBUT ALBUM 'TOO MANY GODS' FOR OCTOBER 2015
Welcome to a new brand of Power Pop Rock from a band with a stellar CV...

nightwish NIGHTWISH TO RELEASE 'ENDLESS FORMS MOST BEAUTIFUL' TOUR EDITION
The special edition is released on October 30th and comes with a DVD stuffed to the brim with bonus features...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN ANNOUNCE MASSIVE 2016 WORLD TOUR
The new Ed Force One will take the band, crew and over 12 tons of equipment more than 55,000 miles (88,500km) around the planet...

glenn hughes BREAKING NEWS: GENE SIMMONS' HOME SEARCHED UNDER WARRANT IN CONNECTION WITH CHILD PORNOGRAPHY INVESTIGATION
Police have confirmed that neither the Kiss bass player or any members of his family are considered to be suspects in the investigation...

glenn hughes GLENN HUGHES UNVEILS OFFICIAL PHOTO OF NEW BAND
Glenn hits the UK for live shows in October. "There is no greater high than performing and to reach out to my fans..."

gentlemans pistols GENTLEMANS PISTOLS PREMIERE NEW TRACK 'THE SEARCHER' ONLINE
"The song is about becoming apathetic towards things you once enjoyed and searching for where you are going in life..."

vreid NEW ALBUM FROM NORWEGIAN METALLERS VREID IS RELEASED IN OCTOBER
"This is the definition of our lives and heritage...the fire burns stronger than ever..."

napalm death NAPALM DEATH JOIN UK LEG OF "DEATHCRUSHER" TOUR
The Deathcrusher tour contains the very best in Grindcore...

blitzkrieg EXCLUSIVE: BLITZKRIEG RELEASE 30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF 'A TIME OF CHANGES'
The classic album has been completely re-recorded and contains two bonus tracks...

w.a.s.p. W.A.S.P. PREMIERE NEW SONG - 'LAST RUNAWAY'
"The song is an intensely personal account of what happened to me, not only then but over the years and the success that followed after..."

nervosa NERVOSA UNLEASH NEW VIDEO FOR 'INTO MOSHPIT'
The band are currently on tour in the UK...

metal allegiance METAL ALLEGIANCE POST STUDIO TRAILER FOR 'DESTINATION: NOWHERE'
The track features Matt Heafy on vocals and guitar. A special launch show has been arranged to celebrate the album release...

uriah heep URIAH HEEP STAGE CLASSIC REUNION WITH CORE MEMBERS OF THE CLASSIC 1970S LINE-UP
Ken Hensley and Lee Kerslake are welcomed to the Moscow Crocus in October for the exclusive event...

rage against the machine RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE 'LIVE AT FINSBURY PARK' TO BE RELEASED
The free concert held after the success of the Christmas Number One campaign is now available in a quality package...

helloween HELLOWEEN ANNOUNCE LONDON FORUM SHOW FOR FEBRUARY 2016
"We feel pleased and honoured to yet again come to London UK..."

monkees THE MONKEES PLAY LONDON HAMMERSMITH EVENTIM APOLLO ON SEPTEMBER 4th
The set will include selections from the pyschedelic cult classic 'Head'...

rammstein RAMMSTEIN UNLEASH NEW 'RAMMSTEIN IN AMERIKA' DOCUMENTARY AND 'LIVE FROM MADISON SQUARE GARDEN' DVD
The incredible package is immaculately filmed and bursting with content...

amulet AMULET LAUNCH VIDEO FOR 'BLOODY NIGHT' & ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES
Be prepared for a Heavy Metal attack...

guitar of your dreams MAKE'N MUSIC ANNOUNCES $3,250 GUITAR GIVEAWAY
Calling all guitarists - there isn't a cooler giveaway throughout the entire industry...

dan patlansky JOE SATRIANI EXTENDS EUROPEAN TOUR WITH DAN PATLANSKY AS SPECIAL GUEST
This part of the tour now encompasses 10 countries, 25 shows and 33 days...

tad morose TAD MOROSE TO TOUR EUROPE IN SEPTEMBER WITH SILENT CALL
The Swedish double bill celebrates the release of Tad Morose's new album 'St Demonius'...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN PREMIERE VIDEO FOR 'SPEED OF LIGHT'
The brand new track is taken from 'The Book Of Souls' double album due out on September 4th...

pentagram PENTAGRAM ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPE SHOWS
"We all are itching to perform some of our songs off of our new album 'Curious Volume' for you..."

born again BORN AGAIN - HEAVY METAL SOUNDHOUSE DAYS REVISTED AT THE BLACK HEART CAMDEN
Relive the glory days on the 22nd August with the best music around...

wildfire FIRST BANDS ANNOUNCED FOR WILDFIRE FESTIVAL 2016
Scotland's stellar Rock and Metal festival starts the buzz for 2016 with six quality names...

hotei HOTEI TO RELEASE DEBUT INTERNATIONAL ALBUM 'STRANGERS' ON OCTOBER 16TH
With an impressive range of guests, the world renowned Japanese guitarist and songwriter unleashes an epic album...

rich robinson RICH ROBINSON ANNOUNCES ACOUSTIC TOUR FOR SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2015
The Black Crowes' guitarist presents a stripped down, storytelling evening...

sonic syndicate SONIC SYNDICATE ANNOUNCE NEW BASS PLAYER AFTER THE DEPARTURE OF KARIN AXELSSON
The band premiere the new line up with the profound video for 'Diabolical Work Of Art'...

motorhead MOTÖRHEAD ADD EXTRA LONDON SHOW TO 2016 EUROPEAN TOUR WITH SAXON AND GIRLSCHOOL
We suggest ear-plugs and fortitude, because Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey are more intent than ever on showing at great volume that they are Motörhead and they play rock n' roll...

venrez VENREZ PREMIERE NEW LYRIC VIDEO AHEAD OF MICHAEL SCHENKER EUROPEAN TOUR
'Children Of The Drones' is the title track of the new album...

majesty GHOST PREMIERE 'MAJESTY' FROM FORTHCOMING ALBUM 'MELIORA'
Papa Emeritus III and his nameless ghouls will return to North America and Europe with a tour this autumn...

imperial state electric IMPERIAL STATE ELECTRIC SUPPORT GRAVEYARD & RELEASE NEW ALBUM
The release of Imperial State Electric's 'Honk Machine' brings their live show to the UK for the first time...

chantel mcgregor CHANTEL McGREGOR ANNOUNCES HER NEW ALBUM 'LOSE CONTROL' AND UK TOUR DATES
After four years of touring and festival appearances, Chantel returns with a vengeance with ten new songs...

lynne jackaman SOUL-ROCK SONGSTRESS JACKAMAN PERFORMS NEW EP 'NO HALO' LIVE IN LONDON
The show at Camden's Barfly on September 24th is set to be memorable for all the right reasons...

steve hackett STEVE HACKETT RELEASES THIRD REHEARSAL VIDEO CLIP FOR 40TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR IN OCTOBER
Preparations appear to be going very well indeed...

steve n seagulls STEVE'N'SEAGULLS ANNOUNCE THE SEAGULL HAS LANDED UK TOUR & NEW VIDEO
Anyone for hillbillified Iron Maiden...?

gentlemans pistols GENTLEMANS PISTOLS ANNOUNCE TRACK LISTING AND UNVEIL THE ARTWORK FOR 'HUSTLER'S ROW'
"A turbulent voyage of the sweetest sufferings and the most inexpensive of thrills..."

queensryche QUEENSRŸCHE REVEAL ALBUM COVER ART AND TRACK-LISTING FOR 'CONDITION HÜMAN'
The hard rock giants continue to thrill with their latest offering...

udo U.D.O. SAYS FINAL FAREWELL TO ACCEPT'S CATALOGUE
In a surprise announcement Udo Dirkschneider has confirmed that he will no longer play songs from the Accept library after one final tour...

operation mindcrime OPERATION: MINDCRIME REVEAL 'RE-INVENTING THE FUTURE', THE FIRST SINGLE FROM NEW ALBUM
The release from Geoff Tate's current project marks the first of a trilogy of albums...


metal talk
© All written site content is copyright MetalTalk.net 2008-2015, unless otherwise stated, and is not to be used without prior permission.
Ads raid data recovery