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This review is from: British Steel (Audio CD)
The longevity of Priest means that ranking their vast output in terms of quality can be virtually impossible. There is Unleashed in The East, which is one of the best live albums ever made. There is Sad Wings of Destiny, which is one of the most significant blue prints for the heavy metal genre and finally there is Killing Machine, which is one of the first real modern metal sounding and looking albums. And let us not forget Screaming For Vengeance and the underrated Point of Entry albums, both welcome diversions into the US market. Note I have forgotten to mention Ram It Down, as there are no arguments as to where this sits in the bands Top 20 - nowhere.
But to my mind though there is no argument as to the pinnacle of the Priest bloodline - standing astride the lot, untouchable and virtually perfect is the colossus that is British Steel. Everything was right for this record: The razor blade packaging referenced both the recent Miners' Strike and the bands roots in the black country - stark and brutal it exhuded a punky malevolance that is striking to this day. The songs were an eclectic mix of Top 40 party `pop' (Living After Midnight), Queen influenced anthems (United) and brutal thrashing power (Rapid Fire). The album rightly spawned a further hit single with the iconic Breaking The Law, and created The Metal track of all time - the almost biographical `Metal Gods'. Finally, the mysterious `The Rage' added a touch of depth to the overall flow of the album (to this day Rob has no idea what it was about) and Steeler ripped through the albums frenetic finale with breathtaking speed and power; leaving the listener drained,ear drums bleeding and with their jaw firmly welded to the floor in awe. To be critical, You Don't Have To Be Old To Be Wise is a bit throw away, but this is nit picking. This is with out doubt one of Heavy Metals' finest moments, right up there with Ace of Spades, The Number of The Beast and Thor's `Unchained' (I'm joking on the last one...) - this is a masterclass of metal that stands the test of time to this vey day and no self respecting human being should be without it in there cd collection.
Oh, and I actually like the production.....