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British Steel

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(107 Reviews)

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  • Reissued in the original non-U.S. running order, this record cemented Judas Priest as the preeminent heavy metal band. I say “heavy metal” because of the music and the themes. On its previous studio records, the band had intermixed Sabbath-type lyrical themes and plodding melodies with songs that could best be described as hard rock (a la AC/DC). They would return to the hard rock format on later (and lesser known) records like 1981’s ‘Point of Entry’ and 1986’s ‘Turbo’. But ‘British Steel’ is the first of a line of records that would define heavy metal.The record had its share of thematic anthems, such as “Breaking the Law” and “United” – paving the way for pop metal of the 1980s (e.g., “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister). But the record also had faster and more intense songs, with lyrics of darker mythology, such as “Rapid Fire” and “Steeler”, which were the precursor for a metal style of bands like Metallica that has aged more gracefully. As for the bonus tracks, “Red, White & Blue” is an anthemic outtake from the ‘Turbo’ sessions which should have probably remained an outtake. “Grinder” is a good live version of one of the classics on ‘British Steel’ which was taken (despite what the liner notes say) from a show that was performed and broadcast live on the radio at the height of Judas Priest’s career (the 1984 ‘Defenders of the Faith’ tour).

    Posted on November 30, 2009