“British Steel” (remaster) by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “British Steel” (remaster)
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: 5/29/2001
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 8/10

British Steel would follow the incredibly powerful live release of “Unleashed In The East” and cement Priests place in Metal as a powerful force of music. The core members would remain the same but the drum chair would prove to be revolving once again as the album would introduce Dave Holland on drums (he would replace Les Binks). This decision was one of those musical mysteries because the level of technique the two had between them was vastly different. Binks had a proven level of superb double bass drumming across the last few recordings while Holland seemed to be more simplistic and straightforward. As a result the drumming of Priest would become a little less complex focusing more on the impact of the vocals and the guitars. Still, despite any of this The Priest had an absolute winner with this record due to the instantly accessible tracks of “Living After Midnight” and “Breaking The Law”. The two songs became responsible for millions of air guitarists around the world and I defy you to play them and not find yourself reaching for your own invisible axe. The album would also give us “Metal Gods”, a title that Halford would take for himself going forward in the first person. He would be forever referred to now as “The Metal God” and there are not many who will argue this title with him. Fast numbers like “Rapid Fire” and pounding “Grinder” would show the world that Priest had not gone commercial and would still deliver the Metal as needed while “United” became a number just begging for the audience at large to sing along. The production level of the remaster is great and to sweeten it up they tossed in a couple of extra tracks. However, the couple of tracks in this case would be a live version of “Grinder” which is all right as well as a disposable studio track called “Red, White and Blue” (this was an outtake from the “Turbo” recording sessions).

There is expanded artwork and photos on the booklet though which make up for other shortcomings. British Steel holds a couple of special memories for me, as it was not only supplying some of the most commercially successful songs in their catalog but my Parents actually bought the vinyl for me when it came out. This alone was an amazing feat since the purchase of Metal by ones family was not often done at the time of this albums release (1980). If they only knew what would come of this I fear they might have changed their mind.

Track Listing:
1. Rapid Fire
2. Metal Gods
3. Breaking The Law
4. Grinder
5. United
6. Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise
7. Living After Midnight
8. The Rage
9. Red, White & Blue – bonus
10. Grinder (live) – bonus

Official Web site: www.judaspriest.com

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