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The guitar riff from "Breaking the Law" is one of the most recognizable from early 1980s heavy metal. Though British Steel sounds dated these days, it's also a classic slice of metal, one of the best from a band that defined the genre in the late '70s and early '80s. Everything that ultimately became characteristic of heavy metal is here, from the lightning-fast riffs on "Rapid Fire," the anthemic "Metal Gods," and "United" to the obligatory party song "Living After Midnight" to the equally obligatory youth-rebellion song, "You Don't Have to Be Old to Be Wise." British Steel is unquestionably Priest at their peak. The 2001 remastered reissue includes two bonus tracks--a previously unavailable studio selection called "Red, White & Blue" and a live take on "Grinder." --Genevieve Williams
- Should've kept Les Binks....
First, a note on the remaster: The Bonus track live version of "Grinder" was NOT recorded on the British Steel tour as they claim, but is taken from the radio broadcast concert from California on the Defenders Tour. When I first saw this falsehood, I went so far as to attempt to contact the band through their website to find out why they were trying to mislead people like that. I got no reply, but noticed that all the subsequent cd releases after the first four did not specify the source location of the bonus live recordings. I'm not claiming responsibility, but I sure hope they now realize that their fans aren't that stupid.
Anyway, back to British Steel...
Here come the anthems!! "Hell Bent for Leather" was just the preamble, while British Steel was the body of their Metal Constitution and set the stage for the rest of their career, as far as subject matter goes. "Breaking the Law", "Living After Midnight", "You Don't Have to be Old to be Wise"--not a ballad in sight. But as with all of the remasters, take the printed lyrics with a grain of salt, because their accuracy is way off in some places.
British Steel has a very upbeat, good time atmosphere throughout and nearly compels you to raise your fist and shout. Warning: doing this in your car will result in several strange glances from passers-by, and perhaps even the odd restraining order from people you don't even know.
The only real downer here is Dave Holland, the new "drummer". WTF? The guy hardly ever uses his toms, instead utilizing a plain, boring Ringo Starr style of snare/kick-snare/kick which any drummer will tell you saps the music of any extra muscle it could've potentially had. It's no surprise that, four albums later, they replaced him with a drum machine for most of the recording, and soon after that they picked up Scott Travis.
And Dave just didn't "look" the part, either. With that 'gay bar' mustache, goofy hair and bored-out-of-his-mind smirk, I was sure that he was the queer one in the band all along....more info
- this is the album that took them off
this was the album that they started wearing leather it's funny now thinking back on it and rob halford got the leather from gay shops in alley ways in england it's from the gay lifestyle no metal head new back than and wore the studs and the leather great tunes on this one the newly remastered one has red, white, and blue as an extra track which is a patrioc song for england yes their flag is red white and blue also. ...more info
- 28 years later and they're still living after midnight!
"British Steel" is an important part of Judas Priest's career, because it marked an obvious change in their sound, and even image. Don't get me wrong, though, their '70s output was awesome, with such classics as "Stained Class", "Sin After Sin" and "Hellbent For Leather". But "British Steel" was the album where Priest put a new spin on their sound. As opposed to the bluesier, more psychedelic/acid-rock sound of their '70s classics, "British Steel" was a pure metal release, and you can hear this album's influence in such bands as Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax.
Here's a list of the songs and how I feel about them:
"Rapid Fire": A fast, chugging riff and a great drum intro kick off this speed-metal masterpiece. Lots of epic, action-based lyrics and some great guitar trade-offs between Glenn Tipton and KK Downing. One of my favorite songs on the album.
"Metal Gods": More great, heavy riffs, a passionate guitar solo and a great combo of Rob's phenomonal vocals and sci-fi lyrics.
"Breaking The Law": A legendary riff and sing-a-long chorus, this is a song that broke Judas Priest into the Top 40. Still a classic after repeated listens.
"Grinder": A slower and heavier song with sleazier, in a good way, lyrics, and another staple of the album.
"United": An uplifting, shout-a-long anthem, one of the best rock/ metal anthems ever written.
"You Don't Have To Be Old To Be Wise": An underrated, introspective song.
"Living After Midnight": A catchy, three-and-a-half minute fist pumper with awesome riffs, verses and an extremely cool guitar solo.
"The Rage": The complete opposite feel of the last song, this one does contain a cool bassline and some experimental textures. Although this song is one I wouldn't listen to when I'm feeling good, it does show Judas Priest maturing in their songwriting talent.
"Steeler": An adrenaline-pumping, fast-paced classic with more classic guitar work, singing and lyrics. An excellent way to close the album.
The remastered album also contains "Red White and Blue", a power ballad that I personally love, though think it's ironic that Judas Priest, a British band, would write a song about American pride. Oh well, no harm done. There's also a live version of "Grinder".
"British Steel" is an undisputable metal classic that marked an important spot in Judas Priest's history. Some may not like this album as much as others, but all the same, this is one of the best albums in metal. I highly recommend it, as well as the rest of Judas Priest's catalogue, as they are one of my all-time favorite metal bands. Well, that about wraps up this review! Thanks for the time, and peace....more info
- British metal doesn't get much better than this
British Steel would be Judas Priest's breakthrough album and along with Screaming For Vengeance is their best work. Beginning with their previous studio album Hell Bent For Leather and then with this album, the band began to write shorter and catchier songs while sacrificing little of their metallic crunch. Rush did this around the same time with their Permanent Waves album. The result? A huge increase in popularity, new fans discovering their older albums, and a long recording and touring career for both bands.
Every track here is great, and the band still play many of these tracks live. "Living After Midnight" remains their catchiest and most enduring track and it still gets consistent airplay. "Metal Gods" and "United" are two of the best heavy metal anthems ever recorded. "Grinder", "The Rage", and especially "Breaking The Law" all contain great riffs and are very strong tracks. "Rapid Fire" and "Steeler" are the heaviest tracks and are both first rate. Finally, "You Don't Have To Be Old To Be Wise" is one of their most underrated tracks as well as one of their most melodic. This is one of the best British heavy metal albums ever recorded. Highly recommended....more info
- Priest Lite - Falling In With The Pack
If you were new to Jusas Priest back in 1980 you probably thought this was a killer album . If you were familiar with the groups earlier work , you were probably a bit dissapointed but not surprised , if thier previous effort Hell Bent' was an indication where the band was heading . Its got a lot of pop songs on it - Living After Midnight , Breaking The Law , Metal Gods , United .. etc .... but it does have a few great tracks on it that make it worth buying . Stealer ,Ginder and The Rage are all great Priest tunes , Rapid Fire in my opinion is the lps strongest track . Its ferocious.. Its a song that represents the course Priest should've ( but didnt take ) in the 80s . I hate to give this 3 stars, because for any other metal band its a 4 1/2 - 5 star album , But to me its the first Priest album that has them falling in with the pack instead of being at the forefront of it ....more info
- Will always be a favorite of mine
After Painkiller and Sad Wings of Destiny, this is my third favorite Judas Priest album. "Living After Midnight" is my favorite song off the album. It along with "Breaking the Law" are the two big hits, but not the only two good songs on the album. "United" is a wonderful song also, and the two other great tracks are "Metal Gods" and "Rapid Fire". A Priest fans' collection is simply incomplete without this album....more info
- Heavy Metal at its Best
What a classic album. No bad songs, just non-stop Heavy Metal!...more info
- It's classic Priest!!
So what more needs to be said? This cd represents Priest before they turned the corner when it comes to international acclaim. It's rocks from start to finish and has some radio friendly tunes on it like Living after midnight and Breaking the law. All in all good stuff and it showed us a glimpse of what Priest was going to offer us just around the next corner....more info
- The best metal album of all time?
To give an album 5 stars, it's got to be a damn good record, and "British Steel" is! If I were asked to name the five best heavy metal records of all time, this one would without doubt be mentioned. "British Steel" was released 1980 and in my opinion this album had something special that other metal acts at that time didn't have - the powerful unique guitar riffs that made Judas Priest easy to recognize. The songs on "British Steel" are both very heavy (at least by that time) and melodic. Judas Priest deliver their strongest material ever on this one - everything is top quality. There are songs that have very high hit potential ("Breaking the law", "Living after midninght", "United") and of course they became hits more or less... There are other songs that goes straight to the heart of a fan of old time traditional heavy metal (for example "Rapid fire" "Metal gods" and "Grinder"). There are in fact no weak song at all on this album and my advise is: run out and get a copy as fast as possible, this one sure stand the test of time, perhaps better that any other record of that era!...more info
- Kindergarten Metal.
Good God, Metal doesn't get any more sterile than this. What do people see in this crap anyway? The riffs are uninventive, the song structures are unimaginative and the drumming sucks. This album might sound "killer" to someone who's either been listening to Metal for about a day or is just incredibly stubborn. For those of you who haven't been living under a rock though, don't bother....more info
"British Steel" was a major hit for the band and will forever be one of the most important works in the long discography of the metal titans. The disc contains classic heavy hitters like "Grinder","Living After Midnight" or "Breaking The Law". Those songs alone are reason for puchasing the record, which is considered by many as the finest work of the Birmingham Priests. ...more info
- Nothing beat J.P.!
If you have any interest in killer metal/HARD rock, GET IT, ASAP! It's a classic from one of the best heavy metal bands ever! Order up, you'll never regret it, trust me....more info
- Overrated Priest album
I know that this is supposed to be a real classic, but I've never really got into this cd. I absolutely hate the song "Breaking The Law", because it's so repetitive and juvenile. They weren't really doing metal to much on this album, because the song "Living After Midnight" is just a regular rock anthem, not heavy metal. I guess this might be up some of your customers alleys, but this is about the only pre 1985 Priest album that I've never bought, and I don't see myself buying this any time soon, but maybe I will when hell freezes over. If you like Priest that is kind of lame, then this is perfect for you....more info
- JP's Dark Side Of The Moon
What's that mean? It means this is the Judas Priest album that everyone bought. In the eyes of the American media it also seems to be the only album Judas Priest ever recorded-or at least the only album that's any good. All JP and metal fans know this isn't true, but there's no denying how good this album is. I don't know about you, but I don't skip over one song when I listen to this album, I just hit play and let it go to the end. Priest is in top form here(as usual) and carved their niche in the music world. Really, who hasn't heard Breakin' The Law? Aside from that classic, this album gives you much better and lesser known tunes. You also get those great "metal" lyrics like: "Forging the furnace for the final grand slam." If anyone knows what exactly that means, please email me and let me know. There really isn't anything new I can say about this album, so I won't try. It's a classic for a reason. Buy. Buy now....more info
- One of the most overrated metal albums!
Judas Priest is one of the most famous metal bands, a lot of people consider it to be one of the best metal bands ever... Are they right? Of course! British Steel is one of the most famous metal albums, a lot of people consider it to be one of the best metal albums ever... Are they right? In my opinion, they aren't. Personally, I consider this album to be one of Priest's worst and one of the weakest famous metal albums. Besides, I don't really consider it to be a metal album, it sounds more like hard rock to say the truth.
This album is extremely overrated. I can't believe that Priest went from awesome albums like Stained Class to this only 2 years later... They went from awesome metal songs with great riffs to simple hard rock songs with average riffs. I fail to understand why so many people consider it to be Priest's best album. My guess is that most of those people prefer 80's mainstream hard rock over 80's metal.
The songs on this album are so ridiculously simple... Most of them have only 4 riffs in total and those riffs are nothing special compared to most of Priest's riffs from the 70's. Ok, there's nothing wrong with simple songs, but the songs aren't only simple, they're also nothing special or in other words, they aren't like most of Priest songs from the 70's. Breaking The Law is so overrated, I used to like it, but I got bored of it fast... Some people think that it has an awesome chorus, but what's so awesome about it exactly? Its one of the least melodic choruses ever! Just say 'breaking the law' 8 times and you have the chorus. Living After Midnight is pretty catchy, but its just a generic and cheesy rock song... Ok, I guess that it wasn't generic in the 80's, but its just a very average song. United has a catchy chorus, but that's it. You Don't Have To Be Old To Be Wise and Steeler are extremely forgettable.
Did I mention that this album has some of Priest's weakest solos? Now I did. I guess that I should also mention that its one of their least melodic albums.
The best song on the album is definitely The Rage. Its actually a great song, it has a cool intro, a great main riff (the best riff on the album) and the verses are pretty catchy (the best verses on the album). Rapid Fire, Metal Gods and Grinder aren't bad either, but damn, they're really nothing special, they're really simple, there's nothing really original about them and they aren't anywhere near as good as most of Priest's songs from the 70's. I know that I'm repetitive with that, but it has to be said.
So, its 50/50, half of the album is very average and the other half is just good. There's nothing really bad on this album, but there's nothing awesome either, its just very average overall.
Now, I have a question... How can anyone prefer songs like Breaking The Law and Living After Midnight over songs like Exciter, Beyond The Realms Of Death, Victim Of Changes, Sinner, Starbreaker... ? Ok, I understand if you're a fan of 80's mainstream hard rock, but otherwise I don't.
This album was nothing more than an attempt at becoming more famous. Thank god that Priest redeemed themselves with Screaming For Vengeance. Even Turbo is better than this album.
Do I recommend it? Well, I guess that most of the people who look at this site have already heard it, but if you haven't, I don't recommend it, but I can't really tell you to avoid it because a lot of people like it, so maybe you'll like it....more info
- Priest's finest hour
This is my favorite Judas Priest album.The album cover kicks ass, and the songs do too. Living After Midnight is just one of those songs that you listen to while you party and raise hell....more info
- This Album Saved My Life!
"British Steel" was the first Priest album I ever bought (back in '80). I was hooked! I had never heard songs like these! The glass-shattering vocals of Rob Halford! The twin guitar savagery of Tipton & Downing! The cool bass intro on "The Rage"! I listened to it daily, over and over. It drove my girlfriend nuts! She absolutely hated every song, especially "Grinder". I loved it! Every tune is a classic. There are no duds. My girlfriend is long gone, but Priest lives on......more info
Compared to previous releases, this album is very simple a stripped down. It's not as intricate and not as technically inclined as Sad Wings of Destiny or Stained Class. But that is truly the beauty of this album. It is raw, heavy, aggressive, and truly possesses an aura of power. Do not listen to the fools who gave this album two star reviews, they would not know good metal if it blugeoned them over the head. Buy it! You'll like it!...more info
- THE POWER OF THE PRIEST
While not quite as strong from beginning to end as Hell Bent for Leather, British Steel still produced two of the most recognized and well-loved metal songs of all-time.
"Living after Midnight" while perhaps a bit on the "pop" side remains one of the great metal anthem songs. With it's distinctive opening drum beat by new drummer Dave Holland, this is a tune that remains on the play lists of many rock stations 25 years after its debut. A certified classic.
"Breaking the Law" as distintive as "Living after Midnight" is with its opening drums, so is this song with the opening guitar riff making this another certified classic. The song has gone on to be featured in several films and while it had one of the cheesiest videos ever, the song remains a fave.
"Rapid Fire" A speed metal song before anyone ever heard of the term. A pounding "rapid fire" pace of a song that always made for a great opening song and a head banging legend.
"Grinder' a great opening guitar riff of a song that in many ways reflects the essence of heavy metal. Fantastic solo!
Those are my four favorites from the album. "Steeler' and "The Rage are also good. I was never much of a fan of "Metal Gods" though. A powerful album that cemented Priest as the premiere and most revered Heavy Metal band of the early 1980's.
- The Best Album of all time.
I have worn out more records, tapes and CDs of this album than all others combined.
Timeless. If you are looking for a hard (but not thrashing) CD buy this. (Just delete the extra on the 'remastered version' red white and blue--it does not belong. Why do record companies always want to mess with perfection?)
I would recommend buying the non-remastered version.
Van Halen I
Piece of Mind - Iron Maiden
Black Sabbath Paranoid
Judas Priest British Steel
AC/DC Back in Black
If these six CDs are not in your collection, you are wasting precious moments on Earth. Buy them now. ...more info
This is album is a timeless classic. This is my favorite Judas Priest album, and I personally consider it their best release. No where else can one find traditional heavy metal of the late 70's/early 80's era that stands out with great superiority.
"Rapid Fire" kicks the album off to a roaring start. "Metal Gods" is a slow-paced rocker that has an interesting bridge. "Breaking the Law" is a radio stable, as is "Living After Midnight." "Grinder" could have used better lyrics, but the guitar work by Downing and Tipton make up for it. Adding to their collection of rock anthems is "United." Any classic metal fan would love this album. This is classic Priest at its best. A top production....more info
- Pretty Swell Album
This is one of Priest's best albums. The first 3 songs, "Rapid Fire", "Metal Gods" and "Breaking The Law" are awesome, the kind you listen to over and over again. I don't like "Grinder" and "United" and "You Don't Have To Be Old To Be Wise" that much, but "Living After Midnight" is a classic. The next two songs, and the two bonus are not that great either. But the first three, especially #1 and #3 are great, great, great, you should buy this album just for those....more info
- Very good, but a step below previous work
First of all I would like to say this is a great metal album and a very good Judas Priest album. There is no doubt this album hits hard from start to finish, with some incredibly solid songwriting, some usual great singing by Rob and some great solos by Tipton. There is no doubt there are some riffs on this album that will immediately stick in your head, not wanting to ever go away like Rapid Fire, Metal Gods and Grinder.
However I do not agree with people saying this is Priest's creative height. As a matter of fact I think its a step down creatively from the heights of Sad Wings of Destiny, Sin After Sin, Stained Class and Hell Bent for Leather.
British Steel offers very little in the way of experimentation, save for the reggae feel of The Rage, and even that only lasts for a total of a minute through the song. This album shows Judas Priest simplifying their riffs and simplifying their lyrics, and it was a major success for them. Whether they made these changes to appeal to a wider audience or it was simply something they wanted to do musically doesn't really matter, but this album abandons the progressive tendancies that all of their previous studio albums had.
I feel bad not saying great things about this album, because I really do like it. However it must be said that this was the start of the "arena metal" Priest and the end of the with progressive rock experimentation Priest. Who can blame them though, they had achieved such greatness with their innovative albums in the 70's (especially with Stained Class and Hell Bent for Leather), it was time to make a change, and they were rewarded with huge amounts of success....more info
- Pounding the World....
Judas Priest is my 2nd favorite band, and this is my favorite release of theirs. Don't listen to people who say this album is a sell out! Sure, Breaking the Law, Living after Midnite & United have commercial appeal, but the former two are two of their best songs. And can anyone honestly tell me that ANY of the other songs on this album are radio friendly? Rapid Fire? Grinder? Metal Gods? These songs are pure metal Heaven! The Rage is the closest thing to a ballad, and it still rocks! And I'm sorry, but after 4 studio LP's that didn't exactly light the world on fire (sales wise), can you blame them for wanting to record some material that might gain them some attention? Did it ever occur to anyone that maybe the record company may have given up on the band if they didn't have a breakout hit? Quit griping! This album kicks from beginning to end! It's not a coincidence that this ablum was picked for VH1's classic albums series, and anyone on the fence for buying this should check out that show!
- This is a GREAT album!
This is a great great great album! No frilly stuff, no messing around - just straight-forward metal from The Priest! I love "Living After Midnight", "Grinder", and "Breaking the Law"! Who says gay guys are wusses? Rob Halford (the lead singer) is gay, and this album kicks ass! All the songs have this sort of steady, grinding beat that feels so primitive and so good!...more info
- Pounding the World.......
Judas Priest accomplished the best of both worlds for heavy metal in the spring of 1980. They created a great album that was as heavy as it was commercial. Continuing the experiment of recording shorter, punchier songs that would appeal to a more mainstream rock audience that was started on 'Hell Bent for Leather', 'British Steel' represents the band at its peak for may fans and casual listeners. The original running order for the UK release opens with "Rapid Fire", from which the title of this review comes and serves notice right off the bat that Priest would deliver the goods in thrashing, bashing fashion. "Stealer", "Grinder" and "The Rage" continue the onslaught and lyrically and musically remain the more complex tunes on this disc. New drummer Dave Holland and producer Tom Allom help create the piledriving sound that Priest may have lacked in the '70's. 'British Steel''s most famous songs are of course the hits, heavy metal and pop, very well combined. "Breaking the Law", a classic though simple tale of desperate acts by desperate men (dumb video though); "Living After Midnight", Priest's "You Shook Me All Night Long" though I have yet to hear this at a wedding (thank God!); "Metal Gods", where Halford gets his well known sobriquet (and a continuing theme for Priest, Sci-fi); and "United" a "Take on the World" style anthem, though not as good as that song (my humble opinion anyway). Some people feel this LP spelled the beginning of the end for Priest as a serious metal band because of the over commercial, dumbing down quality which followed as later cartoon characters as "Screaming", "Defenders" and "Turbo" would testify. Much like "Hell Bent", this record will always be a special one for me and much better than records that would soon follow into the new decade, ironically one that Priest's descendents would rule. "Red White and Blue" is okay (again a leftover from "Turbo" obviously and "Grinder" live are the two bonuses on this reissue, with more to follow. Priest were now striving for commericial success but their creativity would soon suffer....more info
- Columbia remasters not worth it
Columbia is not too great about remastering. The sound is not improved to any degree. The running order is altered and the album dosent sound right with the current running order. The original discs are superior. They have sound that is just as good, and who really cares about bonus tracks? I know this review will be torn to shreds by Priest fans, but keep in mind, I am a huge Priest fan. If I was not, I wouldn't have written a review. I would seek out the first edition discs. Remastering rarely improves sound from cd. Cd is already as good as it gets. Remasters are just ways for record companies to revive slagging sales on artists back catalogs....more info
- Has it's moments, but nothing great
This is regarded as a classic metal album, but is extremely dated and has aged horribley. BRITISH STEEL is really not all that great, especialy when you compare it to what else came out in 1980: Black Sabbath released the exellent HEAVEN AND HELL, AC/DC come out with the greatest rock album of all time, BACK IN BLACK, Ozzy Osbourne unleashed his solo debut BLIZZARD OF OZ, Motorhead came out with their best ACE OF SPADES, The Scorpions put out ANIMAL MAGNETISM and there was the first IRON MAIDEN lp as well. Each and every one of the above efforts mentioned utterly destroys BRITISH STEEL with out breaking a sweat. It is really one of the most overrated albums ever put out, the songs are just half @$$ed metal at best. The two best songs were Rapid Fire and Grinder, forget about everything else because it is just the beging of heavy metal becoming foolish. When people talk about Def Leppard or Motley Crue being one dimentinonal clished pop metal, Judas Preist should be right up there with them, BREAKING THE LAW and LIVING AFTER MIDNIGHT basically gave birth to the insipid pop metal scene that polutted the 80's.
OVERRATED! ...more info
- Classic album by JP
I've listened Judas Priest since 2006, on our way to Cedar Point of course, Well Judas Priest is a British heavy metal band from the 80's, 90's and so on. Also, it has some really awesome songs like Turbo Lover, Some Heads are Gonna Roll, Living After Midnight, Breaking the Law, and You Got Another Thing Comin'. Well my favorite albums are British Steel, Screaming for Vengence, Turbo, Defenders, etc.
Here is what think about the songs (in all albums):
"Breaking the Law": *****/*****- classic song to any YouTube video (Beyblade, Battlebots, Robot Wars, etc)
"Living After Midnight": *****/*****- awesome, very catchy too, it's probably my favorite of the Judas Priest songs, I only listen to this song, when I go to amusement park to watch a roller coaster go into action, and or other events. again, a underrated classic hit and never gets old.
This song is also useful for a Beyblade music video, Now thats what I'm talking about!
"Turbo Lover": *****/*****: crazy fun, useful for roller coasters going in a fast speed.
"Painkiller": ****/*****: a little scary, but its still worth listening.
"Some Heads are Gonna Roll": *****/*****: classic fun, but common to listen, use it anywhere that suits you the most.
"You Got Another Thing Comin": *****/*****: very cool song, but easy to listen.
Thats all I have to say about this album, classic fun, full of excitement and everything.
One more thing, the name is Zac Ritner (Age 15), not R.Ritner (my username is Beybladefan1615).
Judas Priest (British Steel): 5/5
- if u dont own it u suck
this album is a landmark in heavy metal. with soaring guitar harmonies, rob halford's trademark high yell, and not to mention superb drumming. favorites include living after midnight, breakin the law, rapid fire, and grinder...more info
- Judas Priest pound the heavy metal world like a battering ram out of hell!
British Steel is not my absolute favorite Judas Priest album, but I do consider it one of their better ones. The songs on British Steel are very concise and tight and heavy and to the point. Much of this has to do with the rhythm section (featuring then new drummer Dave Holland, ex-Trapeze), which had never been tighter. This is one of two or three JP albums where Ian Hill's bass guitar is audible, especially on ' The Rage ', which starts OUT with bass (a rarity in a JP song) and has the band playing in a weird time signature in one section.
The newly remastered and expanded version of BS has the songs in a different order (at least it's different than the song order on the original U.S. version) and starts out with one of the album's faster tunes, ' Rapid Fire ', which I THINK is about a steel factory. ' Metal Gods ' (which has cutlery being banged on a kitchen table at the end) is about robots taking over the world...this four years before the first Terminator movie! I love the rhythm guitar playing near the very end. I just noticed this past week (after having the album for twenty years) how danceable the two tunes I just mentioned are!
' Breaking The Law ' gave JP a well deserved hit, and though I think it's a mighty catchy song, I do find it a bit silly! ' Grinder ' and ' Don't Have To Be Old To Be Wise ' are the two slowest songs on the album and my two least favorite, though I really like all of the songs here. ' Living After Midnight ' is my kind of upbeat party hard rock song, with an irresistably catchy guitar riff and chorus, and a short, but happy guitar solo that says alot. ' United ' may be the only anthem of JP's that I like, due to it's very well sung and emotional chorus. The original LP ends with one of my favorite songs, the very fast paced and furious heavy metal tune ' Steeler '. I particularly love the last part of the song, with the band jamming fast and furious and soloing their arms off over two chords.
The two bonus tracks should have remained unreleased...the patriotic ballad ' Red, White and Blue ' (recorded during the Turbo sessions) and a live version of ' Grinder ', which doesn't sound too much different and is no improvement over the studio version. This does come with a lyric sheet, which is essential for this band, despite Rob Halford's stiff, nearly robotic phrasing at times.
British Steel is a must have for Judas Priest fans!...more info
- Totally Britsh heavy metal so let us rock
You can devide the Judas Priest(halford)-era in three periods of four albums. You got the silver period:Rocka rolla,Sad wings..,Sin after sin and Stained class that's characterised by searching for a sound, vague experimentation and a bluesy feel to it. You got the bronze period:Defenders..,Turbo,Ram it down and Painkiller that's charaterized by different moods on each of the albums and trying different things out. And then you got the golden period:Killing machine,British steel,Point of entry and Screaming.. that's charaterized by raw agressive riffs, flashy solos, short songs, sing-a-long choruses and a meaty sound. Too many people this is classic Priest and it is the sound that defines the band and also heavy metal in general. British steel is a Priest-gem. It's short,sharp and deadly.The first song on it is the anthemic Breaking the law, a real classic. No wonder that Beavis and Butthead sing it. Rapid fire is one of Judas Priest's fastest songs ever. and Grinder proves that mid-tempo songs can also sound very agresive as does Metal gods with it,s machines destoy the eart fantasy-text. United is an infectious football style sing-a-long tune and ofcourse the catchy yet heavy sounding Living after midnight. If you're a metalfan you must have this album....more info
- Classic metal, my favorite Priest album
First I want to briefly discuss Killing Machine (known as Hell Bent for Leather in the US) and then move on to British Steel, so please bear with me...I heard both records for the first time late in 1984 or early in 1985 when I was 16 years old and new to the metal scene...
Killing Machine was a great record, it was released in 1978 and was Priest's first experiment with their new stripped-down sound, shorter songs and more direct lyrics. As such, while individual songs on Killing Machine were great (actually they nearly all were), the album had a very experimental feel to it, and you felt that still better was to come.
British Steel was released two years after Killing Machine, and you felt the band had matured a lot and grown heaps in self-confidence. The live album Unleashed In The East kept the fans' interest in the band alive throughout 1979. Another change took place before British Steel was recorded, with Les Binks being replaced by Dave Holland on drums (sadly incarcerated now for sex offences - forvever remembered in my mind for the drum intro on Riding On The Wind). The heart and soul of the band, Rob Halford on vocals, KK Downing and Glenn Tipton on guitars and Ian Hill on bass, remained in place for British Steel.
What can I say about British Steel itself? I loved it, I just loved the overall sound that they managed to produce. It was similar to Killing Machine in basic style, sound and direction, but there was more of the feeling of the songs being linked together as a complete package. The sound was still raw, but it was slightly more polished, and by the time Vengeance came out in 1982 they would head further in the direction of a polished sound. Halford's voice is at its best on British Steel, authoritative, powerful, passionate, able to hit the very low and high notes, and suitably aggressive in the right places.
The album starts with Rapid Fire, a speed metal track ahead of its time, that just keeps on keeping on as the words and riffs just continue unabated, with not much variation in the tone, just a grinding repetitive rythmn, and no sign of an identifiable chorus either. It's a similar opener to Delivering The Goods on Killing Machine, but in this case I feel the Killing Machine opener is better, but not by much.
Metal Gods is anthemnic in nature with the powerful chorus of Metal Gods, backed up by the dragging of chains sound effect that occurs at the same time as the main riff, and its timing and volume mixed in with the regular guitar sound is just perfect, and chilling in its effectiveness. The chains sound is not too loud or too buried. The subject matter - which I didn't realise back in the day (no lyrics came with the album) - is about security cameras, as on the song Electric Eye.
Grinder is a standard, fairly slow, menacing and brooding heavy number. The main riff of this song and Creeping Death by Metallica seem somehow similar to me. However, to my knowledge no-one else has ever said this, now or then, so maybe I'm missing something.
United is a sing-along fun anthemn (Take on the World Part II), focusing on the togetherness and unity of metal fans back then, which is sadly (in my opinion) much lesser nowdays cos the genre has split up into thrash, death, black, melodic death, metalcore. etc. and many people are interested only in one or two of the sub-genres. So the early to mid 1980s were really a unique time in metal history, and United sums up the feeling of the times well. Back in the 1980s, metal was metal, and those that loved Motley Crue also loved Slayer and Metallica. Yes, the song was cheesy but think what Queen was doing back then.
On the original LP version, Living After Midnight kicked off side two with a bang. A great song, more commercially oriented, but its still definitely Priest in character and heart (in my opinion). It has so much energy and simplicity, and just simply rocks.
I was in a cafe in the entertainment district of Perth, Australia called Northbridge with a Canadian friend (Mark R.) one Sunday night two years ago. We both found out, almost stumbling upon it by accident, that we were two 80s metalheads in hiding. 20 seconds later we were both singing the words of Living After Midnight!
So I think this is the best Priest record. The title says it all. It summarised what Priest were all about - reliable, trustworthy, tough, unashamedly patriotic, resolute, cheerful. I'm glad they didn't call the album Living After Midnight and make that song the title track. British Steel sums up best what the band were all about circa 1980.
FOOTNOTE (added 9 June 2006): I have noticed on certain internet chat forums, it has become cool among some people to bash this record, and heap praise on all the Priest records that came before it and after it. This is just re-writing history in my opinion. Back in the day the vast majority of fans loved British Steel, and regarded it as a positive move forward for the band. It should also be noted that whilst Breaking The Law and Living After Midnight are not bad songs at all, they are not representative of the album taken as a whole.
- Defined 80s Metal
Rapid Fire, Metal Gods, Grinder, the list of genre defining tunes goes on. British Steel contains two of Judas Priest's most famous radio hits - Livin' after Midnight and Breaking the Law - but those songs are not really representative of the rest of the tracks. Those two are commercial hard rock radio classics but the songs that changed the direction of the genre are what make this CD one of the seminal works of heavy metal. Excellent rhythm and lead guitar work....more info
- great name!
they are a great band! they wrote very satanic lyrics! there's great riffs! i think i'm gonna listen to it right now! well the vocals are bad but that's not the problem!...more info