Former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing is putting his music experience to good use by helping boost the profile of new bands in his native U.K.

The rocker, who quit the band in 2011, will promote shows under the banner The Future of Heavy Metal, with his first concerts set to take place in the West Midlands area in May (13).

Hostile are among the acts set to feature, and Downing is hopeful he will find an act to rival infamous rockers who hail from the region, such as Black Sabbath and Slade.

He tells local newspaper the Shropshire Star, "The Black Country and Birmingham are known as the home of heavy metal and now it's time for the next generation to step up to the plate.

"In some ways, it has been difficult for other bands to fill the void. Back in the 70s and 80s the Black Country and Birmingham produced so many good rock bands, from Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin to Judas Priest and even Slade."