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Daniels, Neil
British Steel (Book Review)
October 2011
Released: 2011, Wymer Publishing
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

This is kind of a neat little book. BRITISH STEEL is the second in a new series of books in a series called Rock Landmarks. The debut title was an analysis of Rainbow’s LONG LIVE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL. Published in England by Wymer Publishing the concept sort of mirrors another series of music books called 33 1/3, where a single album is analyzed in great detail. There are about 83 books in that series but only about half a dozen of the titles are Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Hopefully Wymer will keep it heavy!

Daniels, author of many books about Hard Rock and Heavy Metal (Journey, Priest, Zepplin) got the nod for the second book in the series dedicated to the 1980 Judas Priest album, BRITISH STEEL. The book is the exact same size as a CD designed that way presumably so you can store the book right next to your CD on the shelf and read along while you listen to your CD. I would have preferred the actually size of the book to mirror a cassette tape because my copy of BRITISH STEEL is on cassette! It’s a nice book, 62 pages long, glossy paper, about 18 pictures of tickets stubs, vinyl singles, advertising from back in the day, the band etc. It is well laid out and easy to read.

The book is broken into several self-explanatory sections, The Making Of, Artwork, a track-by-track analysis, Tour, and a generous number of quotes and opinions from industry people about the album. Oddly enough several industry people say it’s not even Priest’s best album but academically recognize it as a landmark album in the history of Metal. Daniels essentially dissects the album, strips it to the bare bones and leaves no stone unturned. Loaded with quotes and great trivia, it’s pretty much the definitive work on that album. Very compact, readable and affordable I hope there will be many more in the series.
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