Meet Elegant Weapons, the new Judas Priest/Pantera/Rainbow supergroup

Elegant Weapons
(Image credit: Epic Records/Frontiers Music/Harmony Gerber)

Does the prospect of a Judas Priest/Pantera/Rainbow supergroup give you goosebumps? If you've given a positive response here, 2023 is going to bring you much joy and excitement, as that's when Elegant Weapons, the aforementioned ministry of all talents, are set to debut with Horns for a Halo.

The band features Judas Priest duo Richie Faulkner and Scott Travis, on guitar and drums, respectively, Pantera's Rex Brown on bass, and Rainbow/Michael Schenker Group alumni Ronnie Romero, and having signed with Nuclear Blast, their debut album is being recorded by Andy Sneap, Faulkner's six-string sidekick in Priest's touring band, and the acclaimed producer for Priest, Machine Head, Killswitch Engage and others.

“It’s exciting to be part of a label like Nuclear Blast that has such a rich history and level of respect among fans and the music industry,” says Richie Faulkner. “Monte Conner [Nuclear Blast VP A&R] knows Andy Sneap well, and Andy has always held Monte and label in very high regard. Monte has loved the record from the very early demo stages. It’s very valuable and important to me that the label I sign with understand and connect with the music.

“This record represents for me more of my DNA as a guitar player and a songwriter. Heavy, but moving slightly outside the realms of ‘heavy metal.’ Those roots are obvious, but I wanted to reach in a bit and see what else came out that wasn’t necessarily ‘expected’.”

Faulkner likens the sound of his new band to “a mix of Jimi Hendrix, Priest, Sabbath, solo Ozzy and Black Label Society – heavy, catchy, and with melody. Sort of old school and modern at once if that makes any sense.”

Faulkner describes the Elegant Weapons team as his “dream line-up.”

“I’ve always wanted to make a record with Scott outside of Priest,” he says. “Add to that Rex Brown’s unmistakable tone and attitude is something special. Having those guys as the rhythm section is a guitar players dream. The icing on the cake was Ronnie Romero. One of the new breed of instantly classic vocalists, Ronnie brought a character and a swagger to the songs that is instantly iconic, making these songs his own.”

Nuclear Blast's industry legend Monte Connor is equally enthused.

He says, “I am such a huge fan of all the players involved, especially Richie. As a diehard Priest fan, I have enjoyed watching help breathe new life into the band and add to their incredible story and legacy. What an amazing player he is. People always focus on leads, and of course Richie is a master in that department, but I can listen to him play rhythm guitar all day long! His rhythm playing is just so tasteful and magical. I can’t wait for fans to hear this album and discover how multi-faceted he is.”

Horns for a Halo is set for release via Nuclear Blast in spring 2023.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.