1987: “Heart of a Lion” appears on an album by a respected but little-known rock band from Los Angeles, Racer X. The song, written by Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing, has a crushing riff and an unforgettable chorus — quintessential Judas Priest. Yet it will never show up on a regular Priest album. Racer X’s drummer: Scott Travis. 1990: Travis, having left Racer X, records Painkiller with his new band, Judas Priest. 1993: Halford and Travis leave Judas Priest to form the harder-edged Fight. It goes nowhere. 1997: Halford and John Lowery (later called John5 with Marilyn Manson) form the industrial duo Two, produced by Trent Reznor. Travis has gone back to Judas Priest to record and tour with front man Ripper Owens. 2000: Fighting unprecedented invisibility, Halford releases Resurrection with his new band, Halford, which sounds suspiciously like Judas Priest. 2001: Two studio songs are tacked on to Halford’s nominally live Live Insurrection, and one of them is a blistering version of “Heart of a Lion” that sounds exactly like Judas Priest. 2004: Judas Priest releases the retrospective box Metalogy, which includes a demo version of “Heart of a Lion” recorded by Priest in the ’80s. During communications about the box, the idea of a reunion has come up. Judas Priest, including Halford and Travis, go on the Ozzfest tour. 2005: Judas Priest, with the same lineup that made Painkiller, drop Angel of Retribution. The circle is closed.

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