But he says the veteran outfit feel “empowered” now the Epitaph trek is over – and having seen the live DVD of the same name, he’s proud of what they achieved.
Priest announced in 2011 that KK Downing had retired from the band and their trip round the world would be their last large-scale escapade. They’re working on a new album with Downing’s replacement, Richie Faulkner.
Halford tells the Huffington Post: “It’s a bit like lying on the heavy metal psychiatric couch. It’s very cathartic. A lot of the emotions don’t really come to the surface until you say goodbye to your road crew and everybody goes back to their respective homes. I think that’s how we all felt.
“More than anything, it was a very evocative and stimulating sense of realisation. It was very empowering – it was all good things. Nothing on the down side came through.
“People call it a journey, and I think that’s been very true in the case of Judas Priest. The road has had its potholes, but we’ve always seemed to find the road and get to the place that we’re trying to get to.”
Epitaph features material from throughout the band’s history, which Halford says is “a reflection on all the wonderful things we’ve been able to achieve.” And he’s delighted at how many people Priest’s music has touched over the decades.
“The great thing about that is that those emotions and that connectivity is worldwide,” he says. “It’s just a very cool vibe that exists. You might not be able to understand the language where you are, but the metal language is universal, and that what makes the whole thing so fulfilling. I love that metal continues to embrace every segment of society – -male, female, gay, straight. It’s just got this very unusual attribute that makes it appealing and approachable to all walks of life.”
Epitaph is released on May 27 via Legacy Recordings.