Elegant Weapons, the new band spearheaded by Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner, will release their debut album, Horns for a Halo, on Friday. In shaping the sound of Elegant Weapons, Faulkner turned to music that made him “who I am.”

“There’s Black Sabbath, Black Label Society,” Faulkner tells ABC Audio. “Obviously there’s Judas Priest DNA in there. There’s some Jimi Hendrix stuff in there.”

Faulkner wanted Elegant Weapons to combine those influences with production that reflects a “heavy rock record in 2023.” The band’s name, which refers to the instruments they play, is a reflection of that goal, with Faulkner likening the idea to “the lightsaber that Obi-Wan gives Luke Skywalker.”

“When [guitars] became commercially available — in the electric sense, anyway — it was in the ’50s,” Faulkner says. “So they’re almost kinda relics from a bygone era, but they’re still creating music today.”

Along with Faulkner, Horns for a Halo features vocals by Rainbow singer Ronnie Romero, as well as Priest drummer Scott Travis and Pantera bassist Rex Brown.

“As soon as Rex sent me the bass tracks, it just made the record something else, which is what a band should do,” Faulkner says. “Each [band member] has got a musical character, which makes the band greater than the sum of its parts.”

Horns for a Halo comes after Faulkner underwent emergency heart surgery in September 2021. While the album was written and largely recorded before the health scare, songs such as “Do or Die” have taken on extra meaning for Faulkner.

“If you’ve got a book to write or an album to record or whatever, do it,” Faulkner says. “I can say from firsthand experience, you just don’t know what’s around the corner. So, for me, it motivates me, really, in a good way, in a positive way.”

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.