Up the Irons & Steel! 40 Years of "Iron Maiden" and "British Steel"
All interviews conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: April 25, 2020
1980. That's the year when the phenomenon known as the NWOBHM really took off. Judas Priest released their influential British Steel album and the new but very exciting Iron Maiden released their self-titled debut. Both classic albums celebrate their 40th anniversary this year, which is quite an impressive milestone.
Iron Maiden and British Steel have left indelible marks in the minds of many and are the inspirations for countless young musicians to grab guitars, basses and drums and form their own bands.
We were curious to know of what these two albums meant to other musicians in their own band(s) and how they viewed the albums' influence in the evolution of Heavy Metal.
Thanks to every individual who contributed this 40th anniversary feature on the Iron Maiden and British Steel albums
Luxi: When did you become aware of these classic NWOBHM albums and what kind of impact did they have on you personally?
Rob Urbinati (SACRIFICE): I was pretty young. About 13, I guess. Iron Maiden were on a show here in Canada called "The New Music". They had a segment about the new British Metal scene, people going to clubs with cut out cardboard guitars (you can probably find it on YouTube) and they played the "Women in Uniform" video. I fell in love with Maiden right away. The first album was pretty hard to find here at first and when I did find it surprisingly to me, "Women in Uniform" was not on it.
British Steel was a cassette my brother had in his car and it looked like something I would be into. Again, I fell for the band immediately. Both bands had a huge impact on me, obviously.
King Fowley (DECEASED): Priest came first for me. I found out about it from a sampler record with "Breaking the Law" on it. "Living after Midnight" was all over the radio, too. I bought it and liked it even if it was a bit more commercial by past Priest standards.
Iron Maiden. First album I went back to after Killers. I fell in love with it even if I thought the attack of the songs on the record was a bit laid back and played "safe".
Matt Ries (TRAVELER): I was probably somewhere between the ages of 14 and 16 when I heard both albums. I remember playing them both on repeat. And I definitely still play Maiden's debut regularly.
British Steel never hit me as hard as the rest of Priest's '80s albums. But Maiden's self-titled debut to me is timeless in its own right. Once you're hooked on Maiden, you never look back.
Petros Leptos (SOLITARY SABRED): Really early on, I must have been around 15 years old when I saw an Iron Maiden poster on my cousin's wall and got the debut shortly thereafter! As soon as the first notes hit, I was a metalhead for life!
British Steel was the first Judas Priest album I ever got and it was also a life-changing album, so direct and to the point, hits you right between the eyes!
Carl Delius (TORIAN): In my opinion there are big differences between the albums. British Steel is more a hit album with straight songwriting, and, of course, a godlike vocalist. The Maiden debut is wild and impetuous with a special singer. Also you have to say that British Steel was released by an experienced band while Iron Maiden was released by a young and wild newcomer.
For me, the riffing and the hits of the British Steel album blew my mind. On Maiden's debut, the guitar melodies had a great impact on me.
Honestly, concerning the Maiden debut, because I started to listen to Heavy Metal as a young person in the '90s, I first knew all the albums with Bruce Dickinson. Years after I started being a diehard Maiden fan and I got to know the Di'Anno albums. The first time I listened to Killers and Iron Maiden I was disappointed because I expected another masterpiece with Bruce. As a 14-year-ol kid in the '90s I did not know that there was a singer before him, there was no Internet, only tapes and superficial knowledge but later and nowadays I started to love the albums and Paul's voice, of course.
All the Priest classics kicked my ass because everything was sung by the "Metal God" himself and this album next to Painkiller or Screaming for Vengeance, impresses me to this day.
So, as you can see, British Steel caught me right from the start whereas Maiden's debut needed some extra time for me to fully absorb.
Mike LePond (SILENT ASSASSINS): Around 1982 I became interested in Heavy Metal. Almost immediately I discovered these bands and these two classic albums. Maiden and Priest had a huge impact on me. They both took what Black Sabbath was doing and brought it to the next level. They were inventing a more aggressive sound that would later be called Power Metal.
Strephon Taylor (SACRILEGE B.C.): I was in junior high school and a good friend had been introducing me to Metal bands. I had already been turned onto Judas Priest and British Steel was on constant rotation. Iron Maiden was altogether another beast! I had never heard anything like them before. Paul Di'Anno is still my favorite Maiden singer and I looked up to him a couple years later as we started Sacrilege B.C. I remember that same year Back in Black came out. 1980 was a great year!
Mateusz Drzewicz (HELLHAIM): While it's natural to get to know Judas Priest by the songs from British Steel (like "Breaking the Law" or "Living After Midnight"), the discovery of Iron Maiden's debut usually comes much after regular metalheads have sore necks from headbanging to "The Number of the Beast", "Aces High" or "Fear of the Dark". It was a similar situation for me, though I must say that knowing the Maiden classics I wasn't much impressed by them and it changed when I first heard their debut album. I was blown away by the perfect blend of raw, almost Punk approach (mostly thanks to Di'Anno and Burr) and the melodies that made the album stand out. I listened to it for a loooong time and after I moved on to subsequent releases (and got disappointed by Killers, haha!) I've discovered Maiden again and loved it. With Judas Priest it was quite similar, I have some of the classics but it wasn't until I reached the Sad Wings of Destiny album when I fell in love with the band. When I discovered British Steel as a full album I was shocked and pleased about how much the heavy metal pummelers ("Rapid Fire", "Metal Gods") perfectly fit with the already mentioned "radio-friendly" songs!
Sean Peck (THE THREE TREMORS): I discovered both of them very late. My first Priest album was Defenders so I had to go back and discover the magic of the back catalog. Truth be told even though it is considered a classic, British Steel is just an OK album for me. I prefer Priest's more aggressive stylings of the '80s and '90s. The album cover is perhaps their best ever though.
It was not until the late '80s that I went back and got into the Di' Anno stuff from Maiden. I had a whole new group of friends in LA at the time who swore by the Di'Anno era as the best and so I did a deep dig.
Shaun Farrugia (IN MALICE'S WAKE): Thanks Luxi! In Melbourne we used to have a Metal night called "Back in the Day". A crew of mates and I used to haunt that place every second weekend when it was on. The play list was great and I discovered heaps of old school tunes from that joint and had a heap of beers, some of the greatest memories. I would have heard tracks from both albums on these evenings. I was really drawn to British Steel especially and preferred later Maiden. But I ended up buying both and love them.
Chris Osterman (IRON KINGDOM): Well for me personally, I went to seek out British Steel as I was aware of the tune, "Breaking the Law", and I was curious what else might be hidden on that record. At the time I was already listening to Painkiller by Priest and I loved it. I was hungry to find as much as I could and this album took a little time to grow on me, simply because it was quite basic in its approach and not nearly as heavy as Painkiller, but once I got it, it definitely stuck. I gained a lot of respect for Judas Priest after this because I realized they weren't just based around one sound, they had a massive variety of great and unique sounds throughout their career. I believe when it comes to Maiden's debut it was the second album I got from them. I had no idea what to expect but I was a huge fan of The Number of the Beast, so I figured I'd give this record a shot. It was definitely different than I thought, as it was a different vocalist, but it quickly became a classic to spin over and over.
Zach Slaughter (SKULL FIST): the first Judas Priest song I heard as a kid was from the Jugulator album and I hated it. For like a year I thought Judas Priest was a new Metal band. I grew up in a tiny town with 5000 people and only knew two metalheads.
The first Maiden album I heard was Fear of the Dark from my dad. I liked it. He had the CD and I thought the art looked cool so I tried it out. So Maiden was better for me and I ordered the first album a few months later from Columbia House, a mail-order catalogue. I didn't listen to Priest for almost a year. Screaming for Vengeance was the first Priest album I bought and it was crazy good. I was back on the Priest train. British Steel came later, though, and I think it's an important record for the beginning of that sound but not a great record. Although "Grinder" and "Breaking the Law" were obviously insanely progressive and incredible songs that I wore out in my teens, hahah!! I still listen to "Grinder" every now and then, though. Iron Maiden's debut record was perfect for me. I was coming from a Punk background. This was the perfect blend of Punk and Heavy Metal. I was really into those first two albums for a long time.
Pekka Montin (ENSIFERUM): I heard Judas Priest and Iron Maiden probably in the late '90s. For me Clive Burr is the best Iron Maiden drummer ever. Clive Burr's drumming is the most important thing that makes their first two albums so great to my ears. With Judas Priest it has always been the chemistry between the guitarists and Halford, of course. British Steel is a NWOBHM classic. It's the album that made them go 100% Heavy and after this album they weren't a Rock band anymore, that's how i see it. After British Steel came classics like Screaming for Vengeance, Defenders of the Faith and Painkiller, of course. Then again, Turbo was... well, never mind.
Titan Fox V (HAMMER KING): Hello there, thank you for having us. Well, who would not have grown up on Maiden and Judas Priest? It's really hard to say when I first crossed paths with British Steel and the first Maiden album. I guess at the age of 14, at least that's when I first saw Iron Maiden live along with Helloween, W.A.S.P. and the Dio-fronted Sabbath. Judas Priest were not around at that time as Halford had left and Ripper Owens was yet-to-be presented. But I remember hearing the Priest album first.
I am a bigger Priest fan than I'm a Maiden fan, although I own everything by both bands. To be fair, I think that Maiden's debut is one of the finest albums, while British Steel is a freakin' amazing album, but not Priest's greatest album to me.
Gilian Adam (VIGILANCE): My father is very much into Heavy Metal and Rock, so I was introduced to his record collection quite early, around 7 or 8. I really got into it a bit later, though, but those two records were definitely amongst the early ones I got to hear. I think in the long run Maiden's debut had a bit bigger influence on me and is, along with the follow-up album Killers, the sole reason I picked up the guitar in the first place! However, British Steel had me going as a kid as those songs were some of the first I could actually play on my old guitar. It might be overplayed nowadays, but I used to spend hours just jamming to "Breaking the Law" and "Steeler" in my little room!
James DeMaria (TOXIK): I was a teenager who loved heavy music and I was listening to Kiss, Foghat, Ted Nugent, Van Halen and Black Sabbath and when I saw that first Maiden album cover, I bought it. Loved it! It was dirty and heavy and the vocals were gravelly plus it had that punk edge to it. Priest I loved from Unleashed in the East and British Steel came shortly after. I remember loving the guitar sound and riff to "Living After Midnight" and I was hooked!!
Andreas Sinanoglou (WARRIOR PATH): I was 10 years old when I first listened to Maiden's debut album and then British Steel by Judas Priest. I had an older friend who was a collector of Heavy Metal albums and he introduced me to these records as well as many others from the NWOBHM. That was the time when I decided that ONLY METAL music makes me happy!
Bob Katsionis (WARRIOR PATH): To me these albums came long after Seventh Son..., which introduced me to Heavy Metal music in 1988 (and still remains my ultimate favorite Metal album of all times) and Painkiller, which I consider the finest Metal abum ever recorded. So, I wouldn't be the right person to talk about them, even if they both sit really high on my favorite album list.
Ron Rinehart (DARK ANGEL): Wow, right from the start, you make me think back to the early days. I heard British Steel first for sure. Priest at that time, in 1980, already had an amazing run of killer releases. I want to say early '80s, around '82 maybe. Back then there wasn't a lot of promotion for bands, albums, tours, not like it is today.
We had to research that stuff up on our own. For Maiden's debut, that album was actually the third album that I heard from them. Maiden is definitely one of those bands once you hear them, you go all in!
Metal bands like Maiden and Priest are a major reason why I love music so much. You could even say a major part of why I wanted to sing.
Luxi: What songs in particular impressed you the most on Maiden's debut and British Steel?
Rob Urbinati (SACRIFICE): For Maiden probably "Phantom of the Opera" and Priest I guess "Rapid Fire". Hard to say because both have so many classics.
King Fowley (DECEASED): "Prowler", "Remember Tomorrow" and "Phantom" are my faves on Maiden's debut.
With Priest, it would be "Rapid Fire", "Breaking the Law", and "Grinder".
Matt Ries (TRAVELER): Maiden's debut top to bottom is perfect. So it's tough to choose an absolute favorite. But I remember hearing "Phantom of the Opera" for the first time and it completely blew me away.
"Grinder" and "Metal Gods" are probably my favorites off British Steel. The radio hits never did much for me.
Petros Leptos (SOLITARY SABRED): "Phantom of the Opera" was a game changer I believe. It brought the grandiosity of 70s Rock into the new age.
As for Priest, "Breaking the Law", "Rapid Fire", "The Rage" are my faves, all so distinctive, all classics!
Carl Delius (TORIAN): I think for me the best songs of the Maiden's debut are, "Prowler", "Running Free" and, of course, the title track "Iron Maiden".
From the British Steel album "Metal Gods", "Living After Midnight", and "United" still impress me to this day.
On the other hand I heard "Breaking the Law" too many times at Metal parties and covered by other bands and am a little bit sick of it. Although the song is objectively a smasher, especially with many beers at a festival.
Mike LePond (SILENT ASSASSINS): On Maiden's debut, all the songs are amazing but two tracks that stood out were "Phantom of the Opera" and "Sanctuary". They were so fast, furious and epic! The British Steel album had some monster tracks also. "Rapid Fire" and "Metal Gods" would kill me with every listen. You just had to bang your head.
Strephon Taylor (SACRILEGE B.C.): "Running Free" was the stand out track for a young rebellious kid like myself. The entire record is amazing, but that track would get repeated often. "Breaking the Law" on British Steel is still one of my all-time favorite songs. It's what comes to mind if I think about Judas Priest.
Mateusz Drzewicz (HELLHAIM): For Maiden's debut it would be "Prowler", "Phantom of the Opera" and "Strange World" in particular. For British Steel I would say that "Rapid Fire" was a game-changer for me, but "Metal Gods" and "Grinder" were not very far behind!
Sean Peck (THE THREE TREMORS): Probably "Wrathchild" for Maiden and "The Rage" for Priest. That was sick when they played that live. ("Wrathchild" is from Iron Maiden's second album, Killers – ed.)
Shaun Farrugia (IN MALICE'S WAKE): With Maiden it was definitely the guitar playing - absolutely classic - and the cover art, of course! Derek Riggs is a legend!
With British Steel, I just loved the vibe and Halford's voice. The tunes just had this kick ass attitude that was impossible to not get excited by.
Chris Osterman (IRON KINGDOM): I was always drawn to the "Phantom of the Opera" by Iron Maiden, it has an almost epic quality to it. On British Steel, definitely "The Rage", the intro bass line was very unique and captured me immediately.
Zach Slaughter (SKULL FIST): "Phantom of the Opera". I thought, "Man, this is so complex but so good". Nothing like that from Punk music. I remember thinking, "Man... I'll never be able to play this stuff". I tried and gave up fairly quickly. First time I heard Malmsteen and Van Halen guitar solos I swore it wasn't even a guitar, haha
From British Steel it was "Breaking the Law". As I mentioned earlier, I didn't like Priest because I only knew the Jugulator album and thought it was horrible. Small town, no Internet. I didn't get the net until I was about 16 maybe? Well, I think my parents had it maybe a year or so earlier but I only used it for porn and had no idea music stuff was even on there, haha!
"Breaking the Law" was in the truck of this guy at school during lunch. He was like, "You're a metalhead, you like Priest?" I said, "No. They suck". So, he put on "Breaking the Law", and I loved it, and then he explained things to me, haha! "Grinder" later on was one of the first riffs I couldn't get out of my head I think.
Pekka Montin (ENSIFERUM): From Maiden's debut, "Prowler" and "Remember Tomorrow".
From British Steel I'd pick "Breaking the Law" and "Metal Gods".
Titan Fox V (HAMMER KING): Maiden's debut has almost only perfect songs, absolutely perfect, only "Charlotte the Harlot" is a little weaker. Hard to pick certain songs, as I'd pick almost all of them. I go with "Prowler", "Phantom of the Opera", "Running Free" and the immortal "Remember Tomorrow" and "Strange World" although the version on The Soundhouse Tapes is FAR superior!
British Steel is an album with a real consistent atmosphere, easy to be played start to finish. I will not pick the singles here, which are great, but the album really shines in other songs; "Rapid Fire", "The Rage" and "Steeler". All are unique and unmatched. "Metal Gods" has been played to death but the original studio version is truly amazing.
Gilian Adam (VIGILANCE): Both albums are packed with great material, but if I had to choose I'd say Maiden's debut has the best trio of songs in the middle; "Phantom of the Opera", "Transylvania" and "Strange World". Those three songs are magical, they flow perfectly from one to another.
British Steel has my favorite tracks on the B-side, though, I absolutely love "You Don't Have to Be Old to Be Wise", "The Rage" and "Steeler" is the perfect closing track to the album.
James DeMaria (TOXIK): The opening guitar riff from "Prowler" just sucked me right in to that Maiden record. Then it got fast and raw. The closer and title track was the perfect ending for a great record.
I have to say off British Steel it was "Living After Midnight". The guitar tone was crushing and in your face and the song was truly catchy! Solidified my affection for Priest!
Andreas Sinanoglou (WARRIOR PATH): It's difficult for me to choose. Both albums must be experienced from start to finish and then repeated! Something very rare nowadays.
Bob Katsionis (WARRIOR PATH): For me, it's definitely "The Phantom of the Opera" by Maiden and "Rapid Fire" by Priest respectively.
Ron Rinehart (DARK ANGEL): Both full-length albums are amazing!!! You can rarely say that today. Off of Maiden's IM, "Phantom of the Opera"! I can still picture the very first time I heard that song start. It was like... Damn, next level!! This is an amazing song!!!
As for Priest, so easy, by this time I had heard a lot from Priest, and knew that they like to do some different styles or mesh them, so I was really excited when my friend Matt brought this over for the first time. After around 30 plays or so, "Rapid Fire" was and still is the song.
Luxi: How much would you say these albums shaped you as metalhead (or just a fan of harder music)?
Rob Urbinati (SACRIFICE): I was just starting to find heavier, faster stuff, so both had a massive impact on me.
King Fowley (DECEASED): Neither really changed my life. Maiden as a band has changed my life a whole lot but as for this Maiden record, not so much. Priest's British Steel hasn't even aged that well for me.
Matt Ries (TRAVELER): 100%. I was introduced to Screaming for Vengeance and Powerslave first. But once I dug around and made my way to these albums, I knew these two bands were the serious heavy hitters. It's sort of comforting knowing all of their great albums will always be there for you.
Petros Leptos (SOLITARY SABRED): Just the fact that I revisit these classics time and time again, is a testament to their timeless value.
Carl Delius (TORIAN): The songs on these two albums are part of my personality, especially the lyrics which symbolize the special attitude of a metalhead until this day.
"I've got nowhere to call my own, hit the gas, and here I go... I'm running free, yeah!!!"! – I love sports cars so this is my motto, haha!!
Mike LePond (SILENT ASSASSINS): Speaking as a bass player, Steve Harris had a tremendous influence on my playing. He has influenced my bass style and writing approach to this day. The Judas Priest grooves on British Steel have defined the standard for Heavy Metal and I always use this album as a model when I work on new music.
Strephon Taylor (SACRILEGE B.C.): They definitely had as strong an influence on me as Black Sabbath and Motörhead. They are both records that I have always had and have bought both of them many times over. I still often think of "You Don't Have to Be Old to Be Wise" when I talk to some people. I think the music we came up with is kinda imprinted in our DNA and it is always with us.
Mateusz Drzewicz (HELLHAIM): Oh, they definitely shaped me. Both exhibit the perfect blend of heavy rawness and melody that I still crave in music and it's the philosophy I try to follow in each of my music projects.
Sean Peck (THE THREE TREMORS): Probably very little since I got into Metal about the age of 17, a few years later than all my other friends. I was already more heavily influenced by other albums by then. Defenders and Piece of Mind or even Powerslave was when I was becoming infected by the Metal disease.
Shaun Farrugia (IN MALICE'S WAKE): I think both of them taught me the value of strong songwriting. They don't get pulled out as much lately, there is usually a heap of Morbid Angel/Slayer etc. on the stereo - but they are a big part of my years of Metal discovery and I love them as much now as I did when I first discovered them.
Chris Osterman (IRON KINGDOM): I think that both albums helped me dive deeper into Metal but more so I think they shared a certain level of classic sound, something that would not easily be repeated, even by the bands themselves. These albums stand on their own, in my opinion, the quality and craftsmanship are stellar and unique.
Zach Slaughter (SKULL FIST): The first Maiden album was important to help me transition from Skate Punk and grimmy shit into Heavy Metal. It was nice and not pussy. I liked to skate to music as a kid and this did it just right. "Grinder" and "Breaking the Law" were the first riffs to get stuck in my head for sure. I have old videos as a kid butchering "Breaking the Law" with my first band, haha!
Pekka Montin (ENSIFERUM): They had a huge impact on me. I learned a lot through these albums back in the day and when i was taking my first steps as a singer in the world of true Heavy Metal. Halford and Di'Anno are still some of my favourite singers. They sing from the heart.
Titan Fox V (HAMMER KING): It might be a bit of a let-down to admit, but not much. I was very much influenced by Helloween's early albums at that time and when it comes to Priest, it was albums from them such as Sad Wings of Destiny, Stained Class, Unleashed in the East, Screaming for Vengeance and Painkiller that I grew up with.
In Maiden's case, I am pretty much influenced by Live After Death, Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.
Gilian Adam (VIGILANCE): I think they were both very important to me; one made me pick up the guitar and the other one got me going. No matter how much new music I've discovered in all these years (and still continue to do), it always feels like home putting them back on the record player. 40 years might have passed, but they still perfectly encapsulate everything that Heavy Metal in its purest, most distilled form is all about!
James DeMaria (TOXIK): I'd say both albums influenced my youth in many ways. The music and bands I listened to stemming from those bands make me who I am musically now. I loved the NWOBHM bands and still listen to, and sometimes get to play show with!!
Andreas Sinanoglou (WARRIOR PATH): Both albums were very important to me. They have filled me with tons of emotions. I learned from them the Heavy Metal as I know it and as a result, they have influenced my music.
Bob Katsionis (WARRIOR PATH): Well, they were not the albums that made me a metalhead strictly because of when these particular two were released. They only made me wish I was born earlier!
Ron Rinehart (DARK ANGEL): It was like a reinforcement; you know there was so much killer music going around and live in the LA area. You had the opportunity to see lots of great, now legendary bands live. In the early '80s to get a hold of two jaw-dropping amazing start to finish albums like these two, totally reinforced my taste for the oh so fine Metal.
Luxi: How much have Maiden's debut and Priest's 6th studio album shaped the Metal scene in the last 40 years?
Rob Urbinati (SACRIFICE): Somehow, all Metal has Priest, Maiden and Sabbath in it. They will always be there.
King Fowley (DECEASED): They both influenced so many bands and sounds of bands for sure.
Matt Ries (TRAVELER): Maiden busted out of the gate with genre defining precision. Priest took a bit of time considering they were literally inventing as they went along, which is insane to me. I always considered Priest's 70s albums like Sin After Sin and Hellbent for Leather (in Europe, it was released under the title, Killing Machine – Luxi) to be the more important Metal albums of their career.
Petros Leptos (SOLITARY SABRED): When Maiden hit, it kicked the whole NWOBHM scene to a whole new level. It wasn't just the band, it was the gigs, the mascot, the persona, they became emblematic for Metal in general.
As for Priest, for me they are always the band that defined the very essence of Metal, in all their incarnations and eras, both in terms of music and looks.
Carl Delius (TORIAN): Absolutely. The Metal scene would be another thing today without these albums. Maybe the history of Metal would have gone completely different. These two albums established the Metal scene of the '80s and generations of metalheads. Metallica, Megadeth, or Slayer and their successors would not exist without these masterpieces. That means they have an impact even now.
Mike LePond (SILENT ASSASSINS): Yes I do. Maiden's debut album sounded like nothing you had ever heard before in your life. No metalhead could ever forget that album. It was true genius that will never be duplicated. The Priest record had some classic songs that were not only bone crushing, but they also crossed into AOR radio, bringing Metal to pop culture.
Strephon Taylor (SACRILEGE B.C.): Well both bands have had a major influence on Metal music and unbelievably both bands are still around and playing in 2020. So I would just think that they are still influencing the youth of Metal and we could not ask for better ambassadors.
Mateusz Drzewicz (HELLHAIM): It was definitely very influential - I would dare to say that Maiden's debut was even more influential, as this album (and the ones that followed) can be easily credited for spawning melodic Death Metal, Metalcore and other assorted genres (guitar approach, twin harmony leads in particular).
Sean Peck (THE THREE TREMORS): Well the British Steel image itself is iconic and will live on forever. Maiden has had so much great imagery since Killers that their music made more of an impact comparably. "Breaking the Law" was a big breakout somg for Priest (we just played it live onstage with Ripper and Blaze Bayley coincidentally).
Shaun Farrugia (IN MALICE'S WAKE): They are both such iconic albums that paved the way for everything that came after them. The twin guitars, the soaring vocals, the songwriting style. Every bit as influential as the first Sabbath album as far as the future of Metal was concerned.
Chris Osterman (IRON KINGDOM): Nearly every kid who starts learning the guitar is taught "Breaking the Law" during one of their first lessons. I'm sure it was a huge help in bringing kids into the genre in the early 2000s. In fact I feel like British Steel was probably a huge help in converting people to Metal ever since its release. As for Maiden's debut, well, it's a fine piece of music, although I'm not sure it's everyone's first look at Maiden, it certainly gets around and definitely stays with you once you've heard it.
Zach Slaughter (SKULL FIST): Yeah, definitely did. Maiden was a perfector of the Heavy Metal sound I think, Judas Priest being the innovator and somewhat creators of it.
Both important shit for that time. Would have loved to hear Di'Anno singing "The Number of the Beast", haha! Although I like them both the same.
Pekka Montin (ENSIFERUM): A lot.
I have to say...
Nowadays every goddamn bullshit 'metalcoreabbametalband' claims to be a Heavy Metal band. And I don't get it.
It is obvious that they haven't listened to these two great albums.
Of course, there are decent Metal bands who know their shit, and they owe a lot to Judas Priest and Iron Maiden for sure.
Titan Fox V (HAMMER KING): Well, a bloody lot! It was the ultimate breakthrough for Judas Priest worldwide and it put Iron Maiden on the map right away. The impact is clear and the legacy speaks volumes about their quality! Priest brought the all-time Heavy Metal look with all the leather as well. Iconic times and iconic releases.
Gilian Adam (VIGILANCE): The fact that they are still talked about and listened to is probably the best indicator of their status in the Metal pantheon. Metal has come a long way since 1980, but those albums still inspire new generations, and no matter how extreme or different most subgenres are now, I think bands like Priest and Maiden will always be a part of the DNA of the whole genre.
James DeMaria (TOXIK): Both records helped shape the modern era of Metal and heavy music in general. They were two of the bigger bands that became household names in the early '80s paving the way for the Thrash wave that followed. Heavy Metal and music have never been the same since their release.
Andreas Sinanoglou (WARRIOR PATH): There is a reason why both albums are considered classics and I believe that will stay that way for many years to come. These two albums have influenced the whole Metal scene.
Bob Katsionis (WARRIOR PATH): For me, they separated the Heavy/Dark Rock as we were introduced to by Black Sabbath with what we now understand as Heavy Metal.
Ron Rinehart (DARK ANGEL): Timeless is a word that comes to mind. Those releases and bands will help influence the future of Metal forever. Youngsters that are into Heavy Metal today blast those two albums loud and proud and I hear the influences in many newer artists. The last few times that I've seen both of these bands live you can physically see how forever timeless and influential they are just by looking at the crowd and their stronghold of fans.
Luxi: If you were forced to choose between either Maiden's debut or Priest's British Steel album, which of these two fine releases would be the one that could be buried with you when it will be your turn to leave this rotten planet?
Rob Urbinati (SACRIFICE): I'd have to flip a coin on that one.
King Fowley (DECEASED): Maiden with ease!
Matt Ries (TRAVELER): I think my previous answers speak for itself, haha!! Maiden's debut all the way.
Petros Leptos (SOLITARY SABRED): Priest. Forging the furnace for the final grand slam!!!
Carl Delius (TORIAN): Although I am still a little bit more of an Iron Maiden fan than a Judas Priest lunatic, I would prefer British Steel. In that era, Judas Priest was a better band out of these two. In my personal opinion, Iron Maiden started to be perfect in that manner with The Number of the Beast, to replace Rob & co. until Painkiller. ;-) But really, it is not easy to say...
Mike LePond (SILENT ASSASSINS): That is an incredibly hard question. Honestly, I think the Iron Maiden album is better, but I would rather be buried with the Priest record because they are much more fun to sing along to.
Strephon Taylor (SACRILEGE B.C.): That is a hard question, they are both great records. But if I had to choose, it would be British Steel. I can listen to it over and over and it has some of Judas Priest's best songs on it in my opinion.
Mateusz Drzewicz (HELLHAIM): A tough choice, damn it but I think that British Steel would be a winner by hair's breadth. Though Maiden's debut takes more credit for shaping me, Priest's sixth album resonates with me much more nowadays and I consider it a more "complete album" as everything works here - from song arrangements, personal performances, tracklist (but UK, not US release) and of course the iconic cover art.
Sean Peck (THE THREE TREMORS): Priest without a doubt. Halford is THE METAL GOD!!!
Shaun Farrugia (IN MALICE'S WAKE): I do love both but I'd take British Steel. It was always the album I gravitated more toward. Can definitely leave "United" behind though haha!! - always hated that chorus but the rest of the album rips!
Happy 40 years!
Chris Osterman (IRON KINGDOM): It would never be an easy decision, however I would have to lean towards Iron Maiden in this particular case. I mean hell maybe I could try to pose like Eddie from the cover, and a few years after decomposition hits we could try to get a matching photo, haha!!
Zach Slaughter (SKULL FIST): Maiden. I don't want to be buried with it, but if I had to, I'd choose that one. I'd like to think when I die the whole planet will die too so the records will all be burned up. That seems reasonable.
Pekka Montin (ENSIFERUM): Hmm... I have to go with Iron Maiden on this one.
Titan Fox V (HAMMER KING): OK, at first I thought I'd try to get Stained Class rather than British Steel but as I would be dead by then, I will go with British Steel as I would rather be found with a Priest album by later generations (when they dig up my grave site during archaeological works) than with a Maiden album. Although I consider the album Iron Maiden, a stronger Maiden album, I am a disciple of Priest, so it is British Steel for me. The King permitting, of course!
Gilian Adam (VIGILANCE): Usually I'd have a hard time choosing between Maiden or Priest, but in this case I'll go with Maiden's debut. That album inspired me to play, write music and embark on this awesome journey of heavy music so I think it'll keep me company beyond the grave!
James DeMaria (TOXIK): Haha! Trick question! Truth be told, I'm more of a Maiden guy than Priest although I love both. Bury me with Eddie. Cheers!!
Andreas Sinanoglou (WARRIOR PATH): Up the irons!!
Bob Katsionis (WARRIOR PATH): Ah, decisions all day long... I would pick the Priest album, 'cause I might meet Andreas on the other side and we could headbang to both of them!
Ron Rinehart (DARK ANGEL): Dammit!! I no longer like you!! Iron Maiden's debut, by a very, very, very slim margin.
As always, thank you so much for thinking about me for these super cool interviews.
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