“We’re proud metal fans and this music is like an invincible shield!” Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner explains how their new album helped him recover from heart issue

Richie Faulkner of Judas Priest onstage in 2024
(Image credit: Chiaki Nozu/WireImage)

Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner has spoken about how the band’s new album, Invincible Shield, helped his recovery from his aortic aneurysm.

The musician, who replaced Priest co-founder K.K. Downing in 2011, suffered the heart issue onstage at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky, in September 2021 and was quickly taken to a local hospital.

The band postponed their live commitments for the remainder of the year to let Faulkner heal.

Now, talking to Total Guitar (as reported by Guitar.com), Faulkner has explained that the process of creating Priest’s 19th studio album aided his recuperation.

“Part of the healing process was getting back out there and finishing this record. I got back on the horse and rode on,” he said.

“We’re proud metal fans and this music is like an invincible shield. We all go through challenges. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

The guitarist then added, “Glenn [Tipton, co-guitarist]’s had his struggles, I’ve had things, Rob [Halford, vocalist]’s been through it as well, but we live to fight another day!”

Tipton – who joined Priest shortly before the recording of their 1974 debut album, Rocka Rolla – revealed in 2018 that he has been living with Parkinson’s disease since 2008.

Tipton stepped down from the band’s full-time live lineup around the release of 2018 album Firepower as a result, replaced by producer Andy Sneap, but continues to contribute to songwriting, recording and performing songs during the encores of certain concerts.

Halford underwent a prostatectomy in July 2020, following a prostate cancer diagnosis, and began radiation treatment for the disease in early 2021. He has since been given the all clear by doctors.

Judas Priest recently toured Europe to promote Invincible Shield and will play a series of dates across America this spring, starting at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, Connecticut, on April 18.

The band will then play a host of festivals across the globe from June to October.

For the full list of dates, plus tickets, visit the Judas Priest website.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.