British Steel is the sixth album by the British heavy metal band Judas Priest, released on 14 April 1980. It saw the band reprise the commercial sound they had established on Killing Machine however; this time, they abandoned many of the dark lyrical themes which had been prominent on their previous releases. British Steel was recorded at Tittenhurst Park, home of former Beatle Ringo Starr, after a false start at Startling Studios, a recording studio located on Tittenhurst's grounds. Sampling did not yet exist at the time of recording, so the band recorded the sounds of smashing milk bottles to be included in "Breaking the Law", as well as various sounds in "Metal Gods" produced by billiard cues and trays of cutlery. It was released in the UK at a discount price of £3.99, with the advertisements in the music press bearing the legend "British Steal". Songs "Breaking the Law", "United", and "Living After Midnight" were released as singles, while the track "Metal Gods" earned the band members their moniker.
The album was remastered in 2001, with two bonus tracks added. Bonus track "Red, White, and Blue" was written in the earlier years of Priest's career. It was recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau in July 1985. The second bonus track, a live performance of "Grinder", was recorded on 5 May 1984, in Los Angeles during the Defenders of the Faith tour.
In 2009 Judas Priest kicked off their 30th anniversary tour in the US by playing the entire album live for the first time. The only other Judas Priest albums of which all the songs have been performed live are Defenders of the Faith and Rocka Rolla, but neither of them were played in the original LP running order or during the same tour.
Anthrax guitar player Scott Ian said in an interview in the documentary Heavy Metal: Louder than Life that British Steel was probably the album that really defined heavy metal, because, according to him, it did away with the "last shards of blues" that had otherwise been ...