Album Reviews of the 80s

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Judas Priest, "British Steel" / 1980 Review by: Murray
Undoubtedly the orignal and the best pure Heavy Metal album, British Steel set the entire stage for Heavy Metal through the 1980's. Of course we mustn't forget earlier releases by Black Sabbath and Priest themselves, however they still retianed elements of hard rock and darkened blues, thus making British Steel such an important album. This aside, it's still the most frickin' cool sounding album ever recorded anyway. The print kicks off with "Breaking the Law" (unless you've got that shitty remastered edition), a song which has since become the essential anthem of British heavy metal. Following the header track is "Rapid Fire" which contains arguably the best trade-off solo section ever put down by guitarists Glen Tipton and KK Downing, as well as perhaps some of the hardest heavy metal lyrics ever penned. "Metal Gods", a song that became maybe more prophetic than the band had anticipated, contains some interesting choral vocals and excellent guitar riffs to back the entire vocal track (not to mention some crazy sound effects using cutlery.) "Grinder" is many peoples faviourite song on the album, I can't say I'd agree, but a great song nonetheless, the solo is definitely the defining point there. When "United" begins, it's the kind of song that makes you just want to grab the nearest persons arms and sway from side to side with them. I would not be suprised to see a number of countries adopt a version of this song for their national anthems, it definitely has that quality. When Priest made it big in the US, "Living after Midnight" was the song that did it. A song tailor made for the rockin' new wave of heavy metallers, it was an instant success not just in the US, but all over the globe, making it still one of Priest's best known songs. If I had to choose a low point on the album, I'm sorry to say it would have to be "You don't have to be old to be wise". Not to detract from the song, great song, but probably my least faviourite on the album. Rob Halford lays down some brilliant vocals in there, hitting some great high notes, but the song as a whole doesn't seem to have to edge that the rest of the album does. "The Rage" on the other hand, starts with a bass riff, and blasts in with an achetypal Priest style heavy metal crunch. I think the best thing about this song would have to be the first solo, put down by KK Downing, it compliments the entire song so brilliantly that it's got a special place in my solo filled heart. ...And what can one say about "Steeler"? Apart from being a great song, along with "Rapid Fire", it forged an entire genre of metal - speed metal, fast vocals, fast guitars (especially in the second section), just plain good headbangin' heavy metal, love it. Overall, for a personal touch, I'd have to give this album 11/10, it grabs the extra point for being the most influential metal album in history, well done Judas Priest.

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