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The year was 1980 and a new wave was crashing down upon the face of hard rock. It featured faster tempos and pentatonic-based song structures coupled with more extensive guitar solos. It was called NWOBHM, or New Wave of British Heavy Metal. At the vanguard was Judas Priest.
Ok, so that was a bit sarcastic. I love JP, and I am the dude you will always hear singing along to them. Still though, this has got to be the most generic and bland album they've done. I swear to God, every song ranges from mid-paced bland NWOBHM to fast-paced, bland NWOBHM. There are no aggressive cookers like Screaming For Vengeance or The Sentinel, nor are there any epics like Beyond the Realms of Death or Dreamer Deceiver. This is, for the most part, 1st grade heavy metal.
Also for a good chunk of this it's not even heavy metal, it's just bland-ass hard rock. It doesn't get a whole lot of listens because this really isn't all that groundbreaking. Considering what Priest have done before and what another (at the time) way more obscure heavy metal band was doing: Iron Maiden. This is the album that got Priest famous, but that was simply because they became way more accessible on British Steel. Frankly, I'd bet that most people are hard-pressed to come up with a single Judas Priest song other than Breaking the Law.
Suffice it to say, no instrument shines here. Halford delivers, and I will never call Rob Halford a bad singer, but you won't see his stunning range or piercing high end here. Here he gives a mostly mid-ranged performance. The guitars, bass, and drums are no different. This is late-'70s/early '80s bar rock mixed with their early sound. It's not bad in any sense, just really less special than albums like Screaming for Vengeance or Stained Class. I guess I could make a pun here and call British Steel "Stained Classless" or something like that. Either way, Judas Priest have a whole catalog of better albums than this. If you're new to Priest, do not be deceived, you should definitely start elsewhere. The two other albums I mentioned would be a good place. British Steel, unfortunately, is not.