Review by Shadowdoom9 (Andi) for Judas Priest - British Steel (1980)
I'm the kind of metalhead who thinks even new records can be modern classics, but of course, many other metal listeners believe the classics to be ones that are well known since its release 40 years ago. British Steel is one of those old classics, from the second ever true heavy metal band and the first expand the genre to its own unique sound. However, it's not without a couple terrible songs...
In the middle are two pieces of sh*tty failure contaminate part of this album, and I don't know why they were released as singles. Oh wait, I know, it's the 80s, where the most atrocious metal songs are the singles. Those are why my rating is stuck at 4 stars and why I'm still not close to ready for this band, though I worship the true classic tracks.
"Breaking the Law" was released as a single, but unlike those two sinning sh*ts, this is a real classic that shows Judas Priest at their realest. Even my parents and brother have heard of piece of metal art. The catchy guitars and lyrically rebellious chorus (with a siren after the second one) have a different yet pleasant aura. It's shorter than all the other songs, but still great and exciting. I haven't watched its music video, but based on what I've heard, I should stay away from the video and enjoy the song on its own. "Rapid Fire" is another classic, continuing the band's mission to help forge speed metal that started with the song "Exciter". Its so direct and sharp, that when I get an actual smartphone, this would be my ringtone. Then again, the fantastic guitars would make me look like an a****le if someone calls when I'm in a quiet subway train. Anyway, it's no exaggeration that song would begin the idea of making faster heavy metal. Then we have the metal hymn "Metal Gods". That song and "Grinder" would help define heavy metal to the Earth core with the screams of soloing guitars and Rob Halford's occasional falsetto in his vocals.
And now here we are at the two stinkers that ruin this otherwise perfect classic, starting with "United". OOH, it's so radio-friendly and harmless, and it has a perfect time of 3 and a half minutes to bow down to the mainstream. How great...NOT!!! The lyrics are painfully simple, and so is the repetitive song structure, turning this pleasant aura into a stinky aroma. What a poke in the eye for this album! The other eye is poked by "Living After Midnight" for those same reasons, and needless to say, Disturbed did a far better job on that song when they covered it 3 decades later.
After those two sh*t-bags that work better as radio B-sides, the album is slightly improved by "You Don't Have to Be Old to Be Wise". There's a wicked mantra you can use if you dare to rebel against your school teacher, as a nice follow-up to the vibe they've had as early as Killing Machine. If you're hoping for better songs than that one and those two stinkers, "The Rage" is for you, though as a passable level. A digital-ish bass intro is performed by Ian Hill, and as tough as that gets, Halford takes mean lean control of his vocal duties. The closing track "Steeler" stays fresh in many of its different parts, with no lack of power at all. This is the ending return to classic territory and makes up for two atrocious songs and two passable ones that infect what was meant to be a classic album.
In order to truly appreciate an entire genre, one must like its earlier years and hear the production that might not be as competitive as the present. British Steel is the right start for metal's second decade. Despite not enjoying this album or band too much, I recommend this to any melodic or aggressive metal fan. A promising semi-classic!
Favorites: "Breaking the Law", "Rapid Fire", "Metal Gods", "Grinder", "Steeler"