Great Metal Albums of 1980: Judas Priest- British Steel


Someone has already said that there were a lot of great heavy metal albums in 1980 and I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve covered two of them already (although this takes nothing away from the Sammy Hagar album) but there were more. One of these was “British Steel” by none other than Judas Priest. By 1980, they were finally breaking big and this album was proof of that fact. It was the album that got me into them as I suppose it did many others.

I never fathomed why the US version of “British Steel” put “Breaking the Law” as the opening track. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic song and I was glad they played it when I saw them live in 2009. Still saying, listening to the original version, I think that “Rapid Fire” is a damn good opener. It gets you in the right frame of mind for listening to the rest of the album. Boy, what a rest of the album it is. “Metal Gods” provides the right bridge between the opener and the aforementioned hit. “Grinder” is an excellent song in its own right with some great guitar work before going into the anthem “United.” Of course, after “You Don’t Have to be Old to be Wise” is a great lead into my third favourite Priest song of all time, “Living After Midnight.” I was slightly disappointed when they didn’t play that one back in 09. It leads beautifully to the pen-ultimate “The Rage” before “Steeler” takes it home with style. So with “British Steel,” you have nine hard metal bang your head tracks that don’t disappoint and leave you reeling in your seat.

Track Listing:

1. Rapid Fire

2. Metal Gods

3. Breaking the Law

4. Grinder

5. United

6. You Don’t Have to Be Old to Be Wise

7. Living After Midnight

8. The Rage

9. Steeler

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

Robert Halford- vocals

Glen Tipton- guitar

KK Downing- guitar

Ian Hill- bass

Dave Holland- drums

“British Steel” is one cracking album from start to finish. For me, it got me listening to Judas Priest and was yet another stepping stone in my journey to becoming the full fledged metal head that I am today. Many will argue that this is their all time best, I won’t argue for it but I definitely won’t argue against it.

Next post: Iron Maiden

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15 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1980: Judas Priest- British Steel”

  1. This album is terrific and one of the first metal albums I owned. Only recently I heard their stuff from the seventies and man, it was great too!


  2. “Grinder… looking for meat, Grinder… wants you to eat” I LOVE this album!!! Happy you included it for 1980!!! \m/\m/


  3. I prefer Rapid Fire as the opening track too. That opening drum salvo, “POUNDING THE WORLD! Like a battering ram…” Brilliant.

    I like how this track listing of the album really has a journey, as you’ve illustrated. I won’t argue that it is their best (maybe Sad Wings for that honor? Screaming? Hell Bent?) but it’s definitely strong. I think it’s worth noting that when Ton Allom and Dave Holland on board, they took a much more “robotic” rhythm on. With Les Binks on drums it sounded more loose and organic but I’ve always found Holland to be a stiff sounding drummer, and maybe Allom’s production works hand in hand with that.


  4. Another classic from a great year for METAL! It’s an excellent record but my personal fave is probably Stained Class. Priest just have so many brilliant albums though that I’ll change my mind about it that every other week!


  5. Near Perfect album. So solid.

    Reading through these I’m starting to agree with you, 1980 definitely looks for Metal what 1986 was for Thrash.


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