In 1980, likely unaware of the indelible mark they were about to make, Messieurs Halford, Tipton, and Downing fashioned a true Metal masterpiece while retreating to (of all places) Ringo Starr’s home to create their 6th studio album. In the same space where John Lennon wrote and recorded the timeless classic “Imagine,” Judas Priest pieced together an equally everlasting work of musical art filled with unprecedented catchy anger and frustration generated from the depths of the smoke-filled industrial recesses of Great Britain. During the process, the band was able to craft a revolutionary sound, which blended piercing vocals, slicing cymbals, and razor-sharp cutting edge guitars in simplistic, but genius-like fashion. When finished, these Bashers from Birmingham appropriately entitled the album British Steel (read the Metal Express Radio album review by clicking here).
As you should know, this magnum opus went on to make Rock ‘n’ Roll history ... and its sound would go on to influence countless other musicians and propel the overall rise of Metal worldwide. 29 years later, Judas Priest set out on an American tour and played the entire British Steel album from start to finish to commemorate this monumental release, and in 2010, the band celebrates a landmark anniversary for the album by reissuing British Steel with 2 bonus tracks (“Red, White, & Blue” and an 80’s live version of “Grinder”) along with a DVD and CD of the Hollywood, Florida British Steel 30th Anniverisary Tour show.
For those fortunate enough to see the 2009 British Steel Anniversary Tour (read the Metal Express Radio concert review by clicking here), you’d recall there was something “magical” about that set. Similar to the album, that simplistic genius was delivered with raw, unadulterated power when those 9 songs were played live in sequential order. Although the original members are in their upper 50’s, there was a certain Cocoon-like energy pool vitalizing both the band and the audience with every crunching guitar riff, deafening drumbeat, pounding bass line, and anthem-like vocal sequence ... genuinely a case where Judas Priest roared thunder and the winds summoned echoes of the past to shout back in enigmatic fashion. This spirit and command of this British Steel 30th Anniversary Tour is refreshingly captured in its “true” form (without any tricks) on this DVD, and the CD version is certainly a bonus “gift” to the loyal fans who attended. Lastly, the 30-minute “relaxed” interview with the 4 veterans of the band discussing the making of British Steel is an absolute “must” for any diehard fan of the band.
What’s Less Than Good
The sound mix shaved off a bit of the high treble in favor of deeper bass tones (which buffers some of the “live” feel), but other than this minor imperfection, IT’s ALL GOOD!
In A Nutshell
Regardless of the type of Metal you prefer today, British Steel is one of the most essential albums of them all, and should have a place in your collection. If you don’t have it, there’s no better time than now to get your hands on a remastered copy ... and all fans of Judas Priest will enjoy the DVD and live CD. Take care, though -- a couple forms exist of this 30th Anniversary release – be sure you snag the version that’s “right” for you!
Judas Priest Website