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Steel forged in the killing machine. - 74%

Warthur, November 11th, 2011

Did you like Killing Machine - AKA Hell Bent for Leather? Well, in that case British Steel should go down well with you, since aside from a change of drummer the album is pretty much a refinement and polishing of the general approach of that album. There's the tedious attempt at a football chant that would have been better off removed from the album (United, taking the place of the predecessor's Take On the World), there's the kickass pop-metal fast tracks (Breaking the Law, Living After Midnight) and the occasional nod to the style of Sin After Sin or Stained Class (The Rage, Steeler).

On the whole, the band are on good form, new drummer Dave Holland integrating well into their sound and Rob Halford giving enthusiastic vocal performances as always. Musically speaking, however, the album is a bit less varied than Killing Machine, which had the groovey as hell title track and the intriguing ballad Evening Star to break things up a bit. Still, it's an accessible and very listenable album which will appeal to a broad range of listeners, though aside from the classic Breaking the Law I wouldn't put many pieces of here on my personal Priest "best of" list - a lot of them are rather interchangeable.

The bottom line is this: if you want a Priest album where every single song is distinctive, original, packed with personality and an inspiration to legions of metal bands following it, then go for Sin After Sin, or Stained Class, or Sad Wings of Destiny - well, in fact any Priest album whose title starts with S is a good one. If you want a Priest album which kept the band competitive against the NWOBHM scallywags who were starting to challenge them on their own turf but doesn't exactly break a whole lot of new ground compared to its predecessors, British Steel's got your back.