After 40 years together, the Metal Gods appear to be calling it a day. Judas Priest has announced plans for the Epitaph world tour, which is also being dubbed their final tour. They are expected to hit every major city around the world for one last time. News of Priest’s farewell tour comes as surprising. Even though the band has been taking a break to focus on other projects (most notably Rob Halford), the members had never suggested beforehand that their upcoming tour would be the band’s last. Granted, this farewell tour will probably be dragged out into 2012, especially since no North American dates have been announced yet. It wouldn’t be surprising if they take The Scorpions route and release a new album in the meantime. Nonetheless, this still means that one of the most influential metal bands of all time will be saying goodbye for good in the near future.

As sad as it might be to see the Metal Gods go, you have to respect their decision to quick while they are still on top and doing well for themselves. Fans have been fortunate enough to either catch them in their heyday or at least see them since their reunion with Rob Halford in 2004. Since reuniting with Halford, the band has been touring nonstop (with the exception of this past year), and released two studio albums and multiple live releases. The band even picked up their first ever Grammy last year for the live track “Dissident Aggressor.” They’ve accomplished so much and inspired so many in the 40 years they have been together.

More dates are expected to be revealed shortly. Priest will begin the Epitaph farewell world tour with a few European festival dates listed below:

June 9- Sweden Rock Festival, Sweden
June 11- Sauna Festival, Finland
June 17- Copenhell Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark
June 19- Hellfest, Nantes, France
June 22- Gods of Metal Festival, Milan, Italy
June 25- Graspop Festival, Belgium
July 23- HIgh Voltage Festival, London, UK
August 5- Wacken Festival, Germany