Openly gay heavy metal legend Rob Halford will reunite with the band Judas Priest for an album and a concert tour for the first time in more than a decade, reports CNN. "Rob Halford, along with band members K.K. Downing, Glenn Tipton, and Ian Hill, have felt a heightened level of intensity," a member of the group's management team told CNN. "Rob said they were all very excited and they have reestablished their friendship. These guys grew up together from their early 20s on, so this means a lot to them personally and professionally." Production work on the album will begin in October with an eye to a 2004 release, which will be promoted by a worldwide tour.
After Judas Priest's success in the '70s and '80s, Halford had an acrimonious parting with the band in the early '90s, after which he recorded five solo albums, including one live album. Ripper Owens, who took over as lead vocalist after Halford's departure, will not be participating in the reconstituted Judas Priest, but his parting with the band was said to be amicable. Owens's experience as a Judas Priest tribute band lead singer who was tapped to become the actual band's frontman was the partial basis for the 2001 film Rock Star.