British Steel is for many the quintessential Judas Priest album, despite being their sixth studio album, recorded a full 11 years after the band was founded. This is due to a number of features, primary of which has to be the band’s output. “Rapid Fire”, the track’s first salvo, is exactly that – those listeners that originally stuck the needle on their new vinyl copy back in 1980 would have to have been a replica of the Maxell Man. Secondly, and related to the overall sound, the remastering of the album sounds even better than the 2000 effort.
Where I may just been excited for this reissue, there is a fuller sound to the guitars, drums, and even Rob Halford’s inimitable vocals. The 2010 / 30th Anniversary Edition of British Steel is an exhaustive release, representing the final reason why a fan should purchase the title. Aside from the remastered album, the 12 page liner notes go into detail about the impact of album, while the DVD contains a panoply of additional features. The concert performance of British Steel sticks with the tempo and overall feel of the songs as they were cut on the album, but there seems to be an additional energy present that kicks the tracks into high gear.
The video and sound quality of this performance is solid, ensuring that hooks and riffs are heard, even as the vocals are tearing down the house. Finally, there is an interview conducted with Priest themselves regarding exactly what led to the creation of the album, along with some of the issues confronting the band at the time. These additional features, coupled with a few additional tracks on the CD side of things – “Red White & Blue” and a live version of “Grinder” – makes for a must-purchase title. Hopefully, Sony Legacy will continue to re-release and beef up the Judas Priest discography in the years to come.
Top Tracks: Rapid Fire, Breaking The Law
Judas Priest: British Steel 30th Anniversary Edition (CD/DVD) / 2010 Sony Music / 27 Tracks / http://www.judaspriest.com / http://www.legacyrecordings.com