The moment your parents (grandparents?) found the majesty of Heavy Metal.
One could easily criticize JUDAS PRIEST’s ‘British Steel‘ as the moment when they chose
violence money, lots of money. Abandoning (mostly) the darker themes and musical complexity of earlier work by delivering a radio-friendlier sound. Purists aside, this 1980 album remains a monolith that ushered hundreds of thousands into the loving embrace of Heavy Metal.
New sound, new Drummer (Dave Holland), and a new Producer (Tom Allom). Can’t argue with the results (at least, commercially) as this line-up would produce six studio albums with millions(!) sold. ‘British Steel‘ marks the beginning for the Golden Age of Metal. So purists can go $*#%! themselves.
Need one list the glory onboard? “Living After Midnight“, “Breaking the Law“, “Metal Gods“. A virtual cornucopia of Metal anthems. Cheesy? Hell Yeah! Subtly be damned. This demanded the teenage boy in all of us scream out, “United We Stand!”
Truthfully, I don’t include ‘Steel‘ among my favorite PRIEST albums. Despite a plethora of killer hooks, a soaring Rob Halford, and the trademark twin fire of Tipton and Downing there’s so little meat on these musical bones. Most of what’s here may please the masses, but ultimately fails to hold attention in spite of those many ear-worm choruses.
However, almost as an afterthought, closers “The Rage” and “Steeler” showcase nearly unequalled musicianship.
JUDAS PRIEST picked 1980’s ‘British Steel‘ as the defining moment for a generation of Metalheads. A best of collection for any other band, while being just another great PRIEST album. No one may call themselves a true Metal fan if they’ve not already heard this. And for the uninitiated, what are you waiting for?