Judas Priest’s Ian Hill says KK Downing’s replacement, Richie Faulkner, has fitted seamlessly into the band, saying he's “a joy to work with”.

Priest’s latest album Redeemer Of Souls is the first release from the group following Downing’s departure in 2011 and the bassist says Faulkner’s creativity and enthusiasm played its part in the overall sound of the album.

Speaking with May The Rock Be With You, about the ideas and inspiration behind Redeemer Of Souls, Hill says: “A lot of it came from Richie and his enthusiasm. He got together with Glenn Tipton and they would sit in the dressing room and strum a few riffs and chord sequences.

“By the end of the tour, they had quite a few ideas between them. Then we got together to write and record and it turned out great. Richie fitted straight in with our recording methods and he was a joy to work with.”

Hill also reveals that playing with Faulkner on stage not only proved how good a guitarist he was, but it strengthened their relationship within the band.

“Being on tour with Richie was beneficial,” he says. “Not only did we find out he’s a phenomenal player, we also got to know his character. Working with somebody you get along with is very important. He’s a great bloke, a really genuinely nice man. By the end of the tour, we weren’t just colleagues, we were great friends.”

Asked how the band keep coming up with ideas after more than 40 years together, Hill says: “We’ve never been afraid to try anything. If there’s a new recording technique or tech gadget, we’ll give it a go. If it sounds good, we’ll use it, if not, we’ll throw it away. I think it’s the risk to improve and to push the envelope that keeps everything fresh.

“We still love it, and the thought of not doing it terrifies every one of us.”

Judas Priest head to the US in October for an extensive tour which kicks off in Rochester, New York on Oct 1 and follows calls from frontman Rob Halford that Priest should play at Glastonbury after Metallica's successful headlining slot this year.