Heavy metal had existed for several years before Judas Priest hit the scene in the mid 1970s, but the mighty Priest drove it all home--many still consider them to be the quintessential metal band. Dressed in studs and leather from head to toe, the band specialized in soaring, heavy-duty metal, with lyrics that alternated between the menacing and the party-hearty.
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
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