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I'm no Judas Priest fan. Not yet, anyway. That said, I bought this album a couple of weeks ago, knowing that it is considered one of Priest's best, and their definitive breakthrough. Judas Priest are often compared to Iron Maiden when it comes to "vs."-threads and other things. I don't quite see why, as they have little in common. "British Steel" consists of simple and catchy metal songs, with some cheese thrown in for good measure. Opener 'Rapid Fire' is pretty much everything you could want from the first song on an album. It's fresh, catchy and to the point. Well, it WAS fresh back in 1980. Now it's just another good metal song. Song number two, 'Metal Gods' is also good, but not quite up there. It's definitely worth hearing, though. Then comes one of Priest's most well-known songs; 'Breaking the Law'. It's also the shortest song on the record, clocking in at only 2:35. As usual, everything is catchy, and it's easy to hear why it was chosen as a single. Personally I think it's better than the two tracks before.
'Grinder' has a very cheesy chorus, but after repeated listens I can't help but like it. "Grinder! Looking for meat!" That's cheese if I ever saw it, haha. As with the rest of the songs, the riffs are very catchy. But then comes 'United'. This is one of the most obvious fillers I've ever heard. It has this brotherhood thing going on, and is hardly metal at all. And even while it stinks, I don't really mind listening to it. There's something strange with this album...'You Don't Have to be Old to be Wise' is quite the stupid song title, and I don't really care much for the song either. It's ok, but a bit anonymous compared to the other songs. Song 7 is named 'Living After Midnight'. This has got to be their most famous song, right? And it's kick-fucking-ass as well. The riff is supercatchy, same with the chorus, and the verse is so cheesy it's good.
'The Rage' is next up. It's a good song, but not as good as most of the other songs found on "British Steel". The last song (excluding bonus tracks), is 'Steeler'. It's a great finisher. When the lyrics end, and the song just keeps on playing, that's my favourite part. That was the original tracklisting. But there are also two bonus tracks. The first is 'Red, White & Blue', a very patriotic song recorded in 1985 (I have no clue why it was included on an album from 1980, but whatever). The first time I heard it, I thought it sucked. But now I think it has this uplifting feeling to it. The other bonus track is a live version of 'Grinder', recorded during the "British Steel"-tour. It's pretty much as good as the studio version.
Hey, is this my shortest review yet, or what? I think so, hehe. "British Steel" is a good metal album. I find it to be a bit too simple, though, and it's not much here to get my head banging. The production is good enough (it's remastered, by the way), but doesn't exactly add power to the songs. Compared to Iron Maiden's (there they are again!) debut from 1980, this is pretty lightweight stuff. But I guess that's why it has sold so damn much. At least I'm glad I bought this album, and finding out what the big fuss is. Plus, my friend loves the album already. Good for him!