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A Review of the Album British Steel by Judas Priest Released in 1980

Updated on May 24, 2020
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is looking to always explore his writing opportunities.

The album cover shows a person holding steel in their fingers. The album lacks the heaviness and aggressive nature of their 1990 album Painkiller but Judas Priest was a different band back then.
The album cover shows a person holding steel in their fingers. The album lacks the heaviness and aggressive nature of their 1990 album Painkiller but Judas Priest was a different band back then.

Track listing for British Steel (The US version of the album has a slightly different track listing).

  1. Rapid Fire
  2. Metal Gods
  3. Breaking the Law
  4. Grinder
  5. United
  6. Living After Midnight
  7. You Don’t Have to Be Old to be Wise
  8. The Rage
  9. Steeler

What Is the Musical Style of British Steel?

British heavy metal band Judas Priest came out with their 6th full-length album called British Steel. The album was released on April 14, 1980 and it is the first album to have Dave Holland playing on the drums. By this time in their career, Judas Priest was entering their 3rd decade as a band and they would eventually establish themselves as one of the elite British heavy metal bands along with Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. British Steel features straight ahead hard rock. This is a style that Judas Priest would use for much of the 1980’s.

British Steel Is a Decent Album & the Song Breaking the Law May be Its Strongest Moment

I remember receiving this album from my cousin as a present during the Christmas holidays a few years ago. British Steel is not the strongest album that Judas Priest would release in the 1980’s but it is a good one to listen to. The tracks Metal Gods, Breaking the Law, and The Rage are on the compilation album called Metal Works 73-93. British Steel was released just two years after 1978's Stained Class album however British Steel is nowhere near as solid as that album. Nonetheless, the album does have its better moments such as the song "Breaking the Law." The song has been covered by Swedish death metal band Arch Enemy on their 2015 studio album called War Eternal.

British Steel: a review and analysis of this 1980 album: the Songs Metal Gods & Breaking the Law

Metal Gods is a straight ahead rock song that has some chanting style vocals in it. Breaking the Law is one of the most famous songs of Judas Priest and it is about the drinking and partying kind of lifestyle. Just keep in mind what the dangers of drinking and driving are. It is about a person who has had a long day at work and he is tired and worn out. He unfortunately turns to drinking as a way to escape the stress that he has had in his working life.

"Living After Midnight"

The significance of the time period that British Steel was released

British Steel was released at a time when heavy metal as a genre was starting to become one of the most popular genres of music in the United States. Iron Maiden had released their self-titled debut which had songs such as the great Phantom of the Opera on it. Black Sabbath had a new vocalist at that time by the name of Ronnie James Dio. They released the solid album called Heaven and Hell.

How is the rest of the album British Steel?

United is about fighting for a cause that you really care about and when you are as determined as this, failure is not an option. Living After Midnight is another song about the partying lifestyle as a group of friends sit up until dawn rocking and partying. They seem to have so much fun that they don’t want to go to sleep. The Rage starts with some bass guitar play by bassist Ian Hill before the song turns into another hard rock style tune. Following the release of British Steel, Judas Priest would enter the studio and release Point of Entry in 1981. Point of Entry is considered by many Judas Priest fans to be their weakest album. In 1982, Judas Priest would release Screaming for Vengeance which would have the hit songs “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,” “Screaming for Vengeance,” and “Devil’s Child.” The strongest songs in British Steel are Breaking the Law, United, Grinder, Living After Midnight, and The Rage. However, it is still not one of Judas Priest’s stronger albums and so it gets a 75 out of 100 points.

"Breaking the Law"

© 2016 Ara Vahanian


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