-- Hell Patrol gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
At the awesome festival FireFest on September 3, 2016 I had interviews with John L. and Sythera (COMING SOON). And you know, I had such a great time during the festival and during these interviews that I decided to go for a bonus round! And my choice went to the Judas Priest cover band the Hell Patrol.

Since both me and the band have a shared love for the metal gods, the topics naturally came slipping into my mind. We discussed our respective favorite Judas Priest songs and albums, the band members' experiences in seeing Judas Priest live and their opinions on the work Judas did with Tim "Ripper" Owens. Plus other fun subjects such as Guy's recently opened metal concert bar Titans Club.

So let's go heading down the highway being hell bent for leather and start breaking the law!

BMS: Tell me, guys, how did you begin covering the mighty Judas?
Nico: In 2008, the Hell Patrol began as a side project by the members of Burden Of Flesh, a band that had a similar heavy metal style to Judas Priest. Eventually Burden Of Flesh disbanded and today Guy remains the last founding member of Hell Patrol. I became the band's drummer in 2010, Geoffrey here joined the gang in 2013 and Silver came in last year.

Nico: Guy and the other founding members decided from the get-go to cover Judas Priest as it was one of Burden Of Flesh main creative influences!

Guy: Not only do we want to pay tribute to the metal gods but we also want to maintain the band's legacy. Let's face it, every music act has to retire one day but bands like ours can help in keeping the spirit alive of the artists they are covering.
BMS: I recall my first time watching the music video of the iconic Judas Priest song Breaking The Law. It was so funny to see the band rob a bank using only the sound of their instruments and vocals, causing everyone to lie down on the ground because of its heaviness! And then Judas Priest use that same metal badassness to break into the bank's vault and steal a golden record for British Steel. Original and fucking awesome!

BMS: What are your favorite songs and albums in the Judas Priest catalogue?
Geoffrey: Victim of Changes is a favorite of mine. It's an excellent, varied track. Some parts are slow and brooding while others are faster and more energetic.

Nico: The fact is that Judas Priest adapted various different styles throughout their career, they've done hard rock, heavy metal, speed metal, thrash metal and more. But if I have to make a choice, I'll go with the entire Painkiller album! What a juggernaut of a release that is! The band went all guns blazing and created a true masterpiece!

Silver: Blood Red Skies is my top pick for Judas.

Guy: I love the album Ram it Down. It's an overlooked gem in the Judas Priest catalogue. And I also dig Painkiller just as much as the other guys here do!

BMS: For me personally, I'd say both the entire albums Screaming For Vengeance and Painkiller. The latter even has more personal value to me as it was unleashed in 1990, the year I was born! And I also want to give a very honorable mention to Jugulator, a criminally underrated release!
Silver: I agree, Jugulator's a great album. But do yourself a favor and don't listen to Demolition. Nobody in the world likes that album.
BMS: I'll take your advice (or perhaps I won't. I'm a curious guy, after all).
Nico: The main reason I believe why Jugulator gets ignored by many people is because Rob Halford wasn't behind the microphone. If he were Jugulator's vocalist, the album would've received much more popular acclaim. But still, it's an excellent piece of work and Tim "Ripper" Owens did a fantastic job as Rob's replacement. Rather than mimicking Rob Halford the Ripper added his own awesome flair to the album!
BMS: I agree. Ripper has such a raw, hard-hitting voice and he also manages to shriek just as impressively as Rob Halford does!
Guy: I think that during the period with Ripper Judas Priest tried too hard to modernize their sound and it eventually backfired with Demolition. Fortunately, they recovered by the time Rob Halford rejoined the band and in fact, Judas's 2014 release Redeemer Of Souls remains a top favorite of mine.

BMS: I haven't seen Judas Priest live yet so please share with me some of your personal experiences in seeing the metal gods.

Geoffrey: My first encounter with Judas was about five years ago at Graspop Metal Meeting during which they played many songs from the Nostradamus album. Although the release itself didn't get a lot of critical praise I found the show to be highly enjoyable. And because I had such a great time that night Nostradamus has become one of my preferred Judas Priest albums.

Nico: My first time seeing Judas Priest was around the time the band released Demolition so they had Tim "Ripper" Owens on vocals. It was a great performance featuring both classic Judas Priest songs and songs they made with Ripper and he effortlessly worked his way through the entire set list.

Nico: A few years later I saw Priest again on their Reunion tour with Rob Halford and then I saw what the band was really capable of! Even now Judas Priest keeps on playing for two or two and a half hours straight which is damn impressive considering how long they've been around! And they don't show any sign of slowing down!

Guy: I've seen Judas Priest as early as 1979 when they played alongside AC/DC. It was one of the most defining moments in my life as a heavy metal musician.
BMS: Damn, I'm jealous, Guy! I always wanted see AC/DC with the late Bon Scott. Too bad he had died ten years before I came out of my mother!
Guy: Not only that, but I've seen Metallica back in the day when they were still awesome. And when they still had both Cliff Burton and Dave Mustaine!
BMS: Double damn! Now I'm even more jealous! If only I were born a couple of decades earlier and see Metallica play with their late legendary bassist as well as with the man who would've later start up Megadeth!
Guy: I recall that in 1989 Metallica were scheduled to play a show here in Belgium with Queensr├┐che and our country's very own Drakkar as supporting acts! Eventually Metallica's show got cancelled by their management because they didn't want a local band to support them!
BMS: That's a poor decision on Metallica's part. I think Drakkar is an awesome band, not to mention their flamboyant frontman Leni!
BMS: And how about you, Silver, have you already seen Judas Priest live?

Silver: Not yet. Yeah, I knew you wouldn't expect an answer like that from a guy who sings in a Judas Priest cover band. Although I did see Rob Halford play with his solo band ten years ago at Graspop. It wasn't a very pleasant experience as there were several technical issues. He even stopped midway during the song Electric Eye because he was so angry about the botched sound during the show!

BMS: Is there anything else you guys do in life aside from the Hell Patrol?
Geoffrey: Nico and me have a degree in chemical engineering and we both have a job in that industry. However, I also play in a Belgian cover band called Cover Age. We play songs from the seventies and eighties from iconic bands like Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Van Halen... All the members are really good musicians, it is a real pleasure to play in this band.

Nico: In addition to this Judas Priest cover band I also play drums in an Iron Maiden cover band called Sevenson. And I love to discover all the great stuff the metal scene has to offer!

Silver: I do vocals in three different bands. Two Judas Priest cover bands (including the Hell Patrol) and a classic rock band. Plus I'm writing an album, you'll be hearing more about it in due time. And other than that, I've been a proud, full-time employee of Hell Inc. for over 30 years!

Guy: In January this year me and some friends opened up a bar, concert hall hybrid called Titans Club, located in Lens, Hainaut. We arrange weekly shows and the following weeks we've got bands like Nightmare, Eternity and Max Pie come over to play!

BMS: That sounds great! I think I'll be coming along there in the near future. I'm looking forward to travel to Wallonia and discover the metal scene there!

BMS: That being said, do you guys have questions, remarks or suggestions for me to write in this article?
Nico: Be sure to check us out after FireForce. Although we're one man short, we're going to rock your socks off in honor of the metal gods!

Silver: We wish a speedy recovery to Stefano, our second guitarist. He's in the hospital right now for treatment of an appendicitis.

Guy: I'd like to congratulate FireForce for pulling off a festival like this. Everything's professionally organized, there's an excellent roster of metal bands present and we're having a great time here. We hope to be playing along with FireForce many more times in the near future!
BMS: Then we'll drink to that!

The Hell Patrol covering Metal Gods during Titans Fest 2015