As predicted, Judas Priest's new album, "Redeemer of Souls," has given the group its highest chart debut ever on the Billboard 200 and first bow in the Top 10.
The set bows at No. 6 with first week sales of 32,000 copies; it's Priest's second-best chart position ever, following "British Steel's" ascent to No. 4 in 1980.
Frontman Rob Halford tells us it's gratifying that demand remains high for the group, which is also celebrating the 45th anniversary of its first album this year:
“It's an absolute blessing. What's really heartwarming about this is the fact that the so-called old guard of metal and rock are still as strong and thriving as we ever were. I have very close friends like (Black) Sabbath, who released a fantastic metal album and went out on this huge world tour; they've been together longer than we have. Then you get (Iron)Maiden, then bands like Metallica, doing that type of process. All the bands that have been making this music for a very long time are still as strong and relevant as they ever were, so we're part of some very good company."
The group starts a North American tour on October 1 in Rochester, N.Y., with plans to hit Europe during 2015 and tour the rest of the world into 2016, Halford says.