Judas Priest: British Steel 30th Anniversary Edition

RIYL: Iron Maiden, Saxon, Breakin’ the law

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since Judas Priest help define modern metal with their masterpiece British Steel. And with this new deluxe edition celebrating that anniversary, it’s almost as hard to believe that almost all of it still holds up. But even though times change, Halford is still Halford, and his epic yell ensures that British Steel is still heavier than ever.

Sure, time hasn’t been kind to the whole thing; the odd anthem “United” is goofier than ever, and the “man, parents sure do suck” vibe of “You Don’t Have to Be Old to Be Wise” sounds like something your cool uncle would say after your dad yells at you for breaking curfew. But even in their cheesiness these tracks still work somewhat, if nothing else than as a time capsule for a simpler bygone era. And even if those tracks are a bit embarrassing now, “Rapid Fire,” “Metal Gods” and the one-two punch of “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight” remain just as metal-horn salute worthy now as they were in 1980.


This 30th Anniversary Edition includes a bonus live disc that features a 2009 recording of Priest performing the album in its entirety. It’s kind of superfluous, since they don’t really add much to the tracks in these new live versions. What is worthwhile is the encore, which features new and old Priest favorites like “The Ripper,” “Hell Patrol” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.”

Old fans of Priest (and man, they must be getting old by now) should dig the new remaster and bonus live cuts, and for all the youngins out there inexperienced in the way of Halford’s epic howl, this serves as a great starting point. (Columbia 2010)

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