Judas Preist was formed in 1968 and recorded their first album in 1974. By this time the core of the group was in place, including Rob Halford on vocals, K.K. Dowling and Glenn Tipton on twin lead guitars, and Ian Hill on bass. The group evolved from a blues-influenced band including some keyboards and by the late 1970s were playing a new breed of heavy metal. The group’s sound is highlighted by Halford’s high pitched wails.

Priest’s 1980 album British Steel would be a watershed for the group. The album was a huge hit and contained the popular tracks “United”, “Living After Midnight” and “Metal Gods” where the group got their nickname. The provocative album cover went along with the group’s S&M-inspired leather look (influenced by Halford’s then-closeted homosexuality). The group’s commercial success came at a time when the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” was a popular trend. NWOBH used increasing tempos inspired by Punk.

Breaking the Law” was one stand-out track from British Steel, and the group filmed a popular music video for the song (using guitars instead of machine guns to rob a bank). The song became their highest charting single in the U.K. (#12), and certainly help personify the group’s “outlaw” image. It remains one of the group’s most popular.

Priest had a series of popular album in the 1980s, but Halford left the group in 1992. He was later replaced by a singer from a Priest cover band (inspiring the movie Rock Star). Halford has since rejoined the group, who continue to record and tour.