The guitar riff from "Breaking the Law" is one of the most recognizable from early 1980s heavy metal. Though British Steel sounds dated these days, it's also a classic slice of metal, one of the best from a band that defined the genre in the late '70s and early '80s. Everything that ultimately became characteristic of heavy metal is here, from the lightning-fast riffs on "Rapid Fire," the anthemic "Metal Gods," and "United" to the obligatory party song "Living After Midnight" to the equally obligatory youth-rebellion song, "You Don't Have to Be Old to Be Wise." British Steel is unquestionably Priest at their peak. The 2001 remastered reissue includes two bonus tracks--a previously unavailable studio selection called "Red, White & Blue" and a live take on "Grinder." The album turned out to be the right kind of album for commercial success. "It was a very immediate, straightforward recording session, very minimalist in terms of production, but acoustically it sounds phenomenal," Singer Rob Halford said. "The sonics and the dynamics on the record are mind-blowing." The album was recorded at Tittenhurst Park and Judas Priest arrived there having far less than an album of new songs. Much of "British Steel," such as the hit "Living After Midnight," was hammered out during jam sessions at the Tittenhurst Park home.
"Glen was in the room where John Lennon recorded (‘Imagine’), that wonderful piece of video where he was playing the piano and Yoko is walking around opening the drapes. That was the room," Halford said. "Glen had shut it up and was playing away at three in the morning. My bedroom was above that room and I was kept awake and I went down and he said ‘I’ve got this great riff. Check this out.’"