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Judas Priest – British Steel (1980)

June 10, 2017

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Magnificent logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

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[Album 540/1001]

“The years are flying by…You don’t have to be old to be wise”
– Judas Priest, Don’t Have to be Old to be Wise

The years are indeed flying by; whether I’m “old” may be a relative term, but I’m indisputably getting older.

But thanks to groups like Judas Priest, I’m hopefully getting a bit wiser along the way as well.

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I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of life-affirming lyrics on British Steel.220px-Judas_Priest_British_Steel

Given track names like The Rage, Grinder, and Rapid Fire, I think I was anticipating lots of riffs & lots of angry young male growling, not necessarily decipherable growling at that.

But then I kept hearing lyrics like…

“United, united, united we stand, United we never shall fall”

or

“Off the beaten track…got no use for routine…open skies are my scene”

or

“live and let live from now on…when I need it, then I’ll ask for advice”

…and I could decipher each & every one of them.

Better yet, the vocals were sung over an impressive vocal range.

Perhaps best of all, I expected plenty of riffs and Judas Priest delivered!

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So perhaps as I continue to get older, when I need it, I’ll refer back to British Steel for advice.

When it comes to musical tastes & opinions, maybe try to live and let live from now on, stand united (united, united) as a diverse community of music fans.

That being said, also try not to fall into a comfort zone listening routine (got no use for that); make the open skies/off the beaten track more of my scene.

British Steel definitely wouldn’t have been on the ‘beaten track’ for me when I started the 1001 project.

But I’d like to think I’m now a little wiser for having heard it.

And I didn’t have to be old to gain that wisdom.

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Verbalize the Positive

Cheers to records like this one that deliver what you know you want (riffs!) and surprise you with things you didn’t realize you wanted in the first place (a solid grade 9 math song-of-the-day for when teaching exponent laws & why it’s important to not break those laws!).

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From → 1980s

21 Comments
  1. Great writeup on British Steel Geoff! Cool pic as well! HAHAHA….
    British Steel at times is thinking metal not just all straight ahead gibberish!
    Tons of riffs/great vocals and the songs just flow from one into the other…
    Such a great album!

    • Like Sarca’s ‘cupface’ it felt like a ‘steelface’ was appropriate here!
      Thanks Deke!

      • hahahaha..thats awesome! SteelFace….horns up brotha!

  2. Ahh man you made me smile. This was really good, you and you quoted some of my favourite Halford lyrics on this album. Open skies are my scene. Thanks for the reminder, I’m going to go and look at some beautiful open skies right now.

    I like how you saw this album as inspirational. I felt that was as a misfit kid.. United was an anthem that appealed to me. For something very similar (but in my opinion even better) check out “Take On The World” from the previous album:

    Well done Geoff!

    • Cheers Mike!
      Another good lyric, ‘As we need you like you need us for sure’ – nice summary of interdependence, not something I would have expected before last week.
      But I’ve since learned not to assume anything about metal lyrics!

      • I remember in an old 1993 MuchMusic interview, Rob Halford was asked about some of his hobbies. One of his best quotes was, “I love books, I devour books.” He loves words. Especially as time goes on he really sought to use unusual words.

        I always appreciate a literate rock star, because when I was younger, my introduction to a lot of classic stories was first via rock lyric references or interpretations.

      • I think that’s why I like the hip so much as well – Gordie’s an avid reader, and it shows!

  3. If you ever decide to get into modelling, I say use that headshot.
    From looking at your hands I would say you are in Fight Club. “No clam chowder, thank you.”

    As for the album, it’s great. Some people assume a lot about metal. NWOBHM bands have clean vocal, and as you say, often great lyrics.

    • Haha, I fell off my bike last week, so alas the scrapes aren’t from a more heroic story!
      I had to look up the NWOBHM acronym – more wisdom gained without having to be too old 😀

  4. Comedy heavy metal! What’s not to like?

  5. Self-portrait with razor blade. Love it!

    • Cheers Bruce – it all started with Sarca’s “cupface” photo a few years ago, it felt like this ‘face’ might be an interesting variation!

  6. Steelface! 😊

  7. Awesome! With age (hopefully) does come wisdom. And metal. Judas Priest metal. Oh yes.

    I like how the lyrics struck you. I always respond to the instruments, lyrics a secondary thing. In fact, I rarely mention them! Maybe I oughta pay more attention to the words…

    Also, nice Steelface! Glad that was an album cover, not an actual razor blade!

    • Typically lyrics just sort of blend in for me as well – if they stand out, it tends to either be a very good thing or a not so very good thing at all.
      Fortunately, here the lyrics stood out for good reason!

  8. I have to admit that this is my least favourite of the Priest albums I’ve heard (shocker!). I’ll revisit it, though. However I do dig Halford’s lyrics. Clearly a man who reads his books on the tour bus.

    … also, Steelface!

    • And I didn’t realize how much I appreciate that in lyrics, when it sounds like the singer’s read a book or two!

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