What can be said about the great JP and their contributions to the Heavy Metal genre? Other than Black Sabbath, these guys were soley responsible for what I consider to be TRUE Heavy Metal…. A “crunching” guitar assault, “Head-pummeling” tempos, and “soaring” vocals abound. And as far as “looks” go, this band epitomized the visual side of the genre BETTER than any band before or since….literally Hell bent for Leather…and studs…and chains…and boots.
Although “British Steel” is not my all-time favorite from the band (that HAS to go to “Screaming”), I feel it contains a varied mix of music that encompasses what made this band so acssesable and likeable. Metal Anthems such as “Breaking the Law”, “Grinder”, “Metal Gods” and “Livin’ After Midnight” can still be heard on FM stations across the land. Cult followers of the band would surely cite cuts such as “Rapid Fire”, “The Rage” and “Steeler” as the real “treats” on this album. Personally, I like every song here…including the “lesser” tracks such as “United” and “Don’t Have to be Old to be Wise” (though somewhat “burnt” on “Livin” and “Breaking the Law”). The first band I was ever in (Pure Grain…are you out there!?!), literally “cut their teeth” to this ‘Metal’ great, and played no less than half the tracks on this album on any given “Gig”. If there is anybody reading this that is not familiar with The Priest and is searching for the REAL DEAL, “Old school” version of Heavy Metal….look no further, you’ve found IT! Also recommended for the “budding” Metalist: Maiden’s “Piece of Mind”, Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning”, Priest’s “Screaming for Vengeance” and Sabbath’s “Master of Reality”.
P.S. As I was about to submit this review, it occured to me that I failed to mention the individual members of Priest. The rhythm section of Ian Hill and Dave Holland were as tight and “spot-on” as any in the business….holding the “Bus” together with a mighty, pounding ‘Pulse’. The dual guitar “assault” of Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing never gave the music of JP a chance to even think about “blinking an eye”, and literally “steam-rolled” anything in their way….rivaled in intensity only by Iron Maiden and The Scorpions. And then there’s Rob Halford….This man WILL go down in Metal’s history as one of the best, if not THE best vocalist ever….”Pipes” the likes of Rob’s aren’t “handed-out” just any day of the week….His IS the voice of Heavy Metal and is not likely to be “Dethroned” in my lifetime! Many bands calling themselves “Metal” have come along in the years since this album—-some faster, some harder and some ‘flashier’…However, this band will forever remain “The Standard” to which ALL others are judged. Don’t Miss Out!