Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
Whilst the falling out of old friends is never to be celebrated, when KK Downing found himself out of the band he’d helped make legendary he was never going to turn his back on the music.
With the great critical acclaim of 2021’s ‘Sermons of the Sinner’ that saw him reunite with former Priest vocalist Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, the guitarist was well and truly back, blonde hair flying as he wrung high decibel blockbusters from his Flying V.
‘The Sinner Rides Again’ sees the return of the leather and studs clad outfit, hellbent on bringing the loudest, most Metal, noise they can once more.
Things clicked immediately on their debut and this sophomore release sees the quintet solidifying their chemistry, the sparks flying higher and with even more of a bright, burning light. Whilst this urge to be more heavy metal than ever could at times border on parody in some hands, KK’s Priest show such a savage and heartfelt commitment to their mission that you can’t but help being swept away in the barrage.
Kicking things off, ‘Sons of the Sentinel’ is a furious, all guns blazing return, the flurry of riffs and Owen’s ear-piercing vocals reminiscent of ‘Painkiller’ heaviness but with their own twist, the following ‘Strike of the Viper’ suitably venomous and dripping with unbridled threat.
When the more metal than metal ‘Reap the Whirlwind’ explodes out of the speakers there’s no missing the intent here and fortunately its handled with a grace that stays just the right side of the line that threatens to tip into Manowar style bombast.
Whilst the album may thankfully be lacking a power ballad shoehorned in to bring a little break from the headbanging fury, there’s still a lot of light and shade here, the production bringing out some nice sonic layers that present diamonds amongst the blitzkrieg.
Examples of this stand out with the vocal harmonies at the end of ‘One More Shot at Glory’ and the quieter passages that leaven the blistering ‘Keeper of the Graves’ but scratch the surface and you’ll find a wealth of little touches that give added heights and nuance to the sledgehammer barrage.
A snappy nine tracks in total, ‘The Sinner Rides Again’ never outstays its welcome, the run time just right and shorn of any excess and bloating that plagues other such releases. Like another masterpiece, ‘British Steel’, with his old band, this is a tight album that gets in, does exactly what it needs to and gets out, leaving the listener bruised and dazzled.
With the machine gun drumming and bare chested swagger of battle hymn ‘Pledge Your Souls’ and epic closer ‘Wash Away Your Sins’ ending the album in suitably explosive style, KK knows that victory for him and his troops is assured.
Carrying on the tradition whilst pushing forward with a razor sharp modernity, ‘The Sinner Rides Again’ is another storied chapter in the Midlands legend’s book and a vital purchase for those seeking their new all killer, no filler fix of heavy metal.
The Sinner Rides Again track listing:
1. Sons Of The Sentinel
2. Strike Of The Viper
3. Reap The Whirlwind
4. One More Shot At Glory
5. Hymn 66
6. The Sinner Rides Again
7. Keeper Of The Graves
8. Pledge Your Souls
9. Wash Away Your Sins
The Sinner Rides Again will be available in the following formats:
-1CD Digipak Edition
-1LP Gatefold in Black
-Wooden Box Edition (incl. Digipak, Flag, Logo Wristband, Artprint, Patch) – Napalm Mail Order only,limited to 500
-1LP Gatefold in Marbled Orange and Black – Napalm International (excl. North America) Mail Order only, limited to 300
-1LP Gatefold in Transparent Orange – Napalm North American Mail Order only, limited to 300
-1LP Gatefold in Orange, Blue and Black Inkspot – Napalm Mail Order only,limited to 500
-Cassette Tape Edition in Red with White Print – Napalm Mail Order only,limited to 200
KK’S PRIEST w/ Paul Di’Anno & Burning Witches across the UK in October:
October 7, 2023 – Birmingham @ O2 Institute
October 8, 2023 – Glasgow @ SWG3
October 10, 2023 – Nottingham @ Rock City
October 11, 2023 – Manchester @ O2 Ritz
October 12, 2023 – London @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
KK’S PRIEST live one-offs:
March 2-7, 2024 – Monsters of Rock Cruise
KK’S PRIEST is:
Tim “Ripper” Owens – Vocals
K.K. Downing – Guitar
A.J. Mills – Guitar
Tony Newton – Bass
Sean Elg – Drums