Monday, July 26, 2010

Judas Priest - British Steel (30th Anniversary Edition)

'Pounding the world like a battering ram' - Rapid Fire

As a statement of intent / article of faith you can't really get more inciting than that as an opening line for a metal album. This ultra influential slab of well, british steel, gets the remastering massage for unleashment once again this time armed with DVD of a 30th anniversary live show. Along with Motorhead's ACE OF SPADES this originally sneered onto the streets in post-punk Britain 1980 like the metal godding daddy of the embryonic NWOBHM bringing dawn and cementing the eighties as a metal decade. Newcomers can see the influence on Maiden, Metallica, Dio and beyond to battle metal. Time may have tamed it's impact though not it's temerity. It's a stern, staunch tirade & a lotta fun. Opening barricade Rapid Fire is like a blueprint for Killers (the track) & Metal Gods ('engulfed in motorbreath'). Despite overdoing the penchant for fist in the air metallers all together now of United (see also Rose Tattoo's cringing, vehemently un-angry, menacing-as-mash-potato plod We Can't Be Beaten) though the sci-fi stained Metal Gods is a classic of lumbering molten intent to soundtrack any Cronenberg (I'll leave you to ponder Proust-like on Freudian lines like 'Ripping men apart...'). Halford's enunciation matches the gristly guitar gouges, strafing speakers from severe to Teutonically as well as Tamworthly industrial but still bolstered with sinewy bluesy soul. The Rage may surprise (and/or sicken) some with it's 'oooh look at that Sting feller, eh?' cod-reggae insertions but it's really the bruisers here you need - namely ballistic scalpers Breaking The Law (Priests's Paranoid), Grinder, Steeler & Living After Midnight. For the hardcore it's a little treasure though perhaps not a whole chest-thumping trove. I can imagine they (as I did & I'm far from a die-hard Priest proselytiser) would be well nourished by some contemporary live clips & more bonus tracks than Red White & Blue (which is far from Lizzy doing Roisin Dubh: A Rock Legend though oddly stirring, like Priest at the Proms) and a live Grinder, that suggest the sort of afterthought that came with the initial influx of CD's when label Asskiss&Rip-off berks tried to justify their expense accounts by inserting a paltry live cut or random b-side. That slight niggle aside, this is pretty high on list of essential metal albums (& if you have no idea what they are then you should really go get this), the concert invokes enough power, glory &, importantly, passion to overlook how far Maiden surpassed them and the gloriously down to earth 'making of...' documentary (including how Living... came about) provides an interesting, if not illuminating, backdrop to the whole.

'That's what metal'll do - it'll make you a resilient person...' - Rob Halford
Stu Gibson
British Steel 30th Anniversary Promo Clip

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