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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Judas Priest

Tonight @ Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, Summerfest, 10 p.m.

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To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of their seminal album British Steel, the British-based heavy metal act Judas Priest has announced that they will play the record in its entirety during all shows throughout their upcoming summer tour (the album came out in 1980, so it’s only been 29 years, but I’m not going to argue with the Priest).

This is good news for metal heads in Milwaukee, as British Steel still stands as one of the best albums that the genre has ever produced. There is little filler among the record’s nine tracks, and the bluesy feel that marked albums by such metal contemporaries as Black Sabbath is noticeably absent. British Steel is a stripped-down, straight-ahead assault on the eardrums. The dual guitar attack of Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing—a sound that would come to influence countless metal acts—drives the album, while Rob Halford’s amazing vocals (the guy has a four octave vocal range) push the material well over the top.

Don’t believe me? Just try and argue with such classics as “Breaking the Law,” “Metal Gods,” and “Living After Midnight.” What is perhaps most remarkable is that British Steel came out just one year after Hell Bent for Leather, and two years after the equally strong Stained Class. Thankfully, the band has noted that they will also play a handful of songs from these albums during their upcoming tour. So break out the leather, Milwaukee, and get ready to rock.