Saxon have been going for forty years, and are another outfit making up the elder statesmen contingent of metallers.
Written by: gdmonline
LABEL: Silver Lining Music
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Biff Byford – vocals * Paul Quinn – guitars * Doug Scarratt – guitars * Nibbs Carter – bass * Nigel Glockler – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Olympus Rising * 02 Thunderbolt * 03 The Secret Of Flight * 04 Nosferatu (The Vampire’s Waltz) * 05 They Played Rock And Roll * 06 Predator * 07 Sons Of Odin * 08 Sniper * 09 A Wizard’s Tale * 10 Speed Merchants * 11 Roadies’ Song * 12 Nosferatu (Raw Version)
WEBLINKS: Official Site
These guys have been going for forty years, and are another outfit making up the elder statesmen contingent of metallers. I kinda feel old just for following and listening to Saxon, plus all the music from bands that formed part of my high school era. I’m sure many of you have similar sentiments. Thanks to Dangerzone, many of Saxon’s more recent efforts have been covered off at Glory Daze. Not all of it positive mind you, so I thought I’d better jump in with some thoughts and commentary on Barnsley’s finest.
Firstly, the band line-up is very stable these days, has been for awhile actually. Secondly, I think many long-time metal heads know what they’re going to get with a Saxon album, though their career has gone through distinct phases, but it’s the last decade or so where the band have really settled into their groove.
‘Thunderbolt’ shows the two year differential between releases is no bad thing, and the band can certainly give the younger brigade something to think about in terms of sheer professionalism and delivering the goods.
Let’s dip into the music. ‘Olympus Rising’ is a brief instrumental which takes us right into the first metal anthem, the title-track ‘Thunderbolt’. The chorus is a huge chant-a-long that the Knights Templar would be proud of. ‘The Secret Of Flight’ puts Saxon’s delivery method under the microscope, and it passes the test with flying colours. Fluid riffing, super melodic guitar solos are the two highlights here.
Saxon dip into gothic territory with ‘Noseferatu (The Vampire’s Waltz)’. It’s a slower track, but full of sustained power and anthemic vocals where it counts. Grandiose metal is an apt description. The can is kicked to the side of the street with the Motorhead inspired ‘They Played Rock And Roll’. Lemmy would be having a good chuckle listening to this, that I’m sure.
‘Predator’ is angled at the heavier end of the spectrum. The cookie monster vocal add-on’s is an inspired move. ‘Sons Of Odin’ returns the band to metal anthem territory, though it does have a Dio like presence about it. ‘Sniper’ is more like it – fast and rapid fire just like a bullet.
More song-titles straight out of Hollywood abounds with ‘A Wizard’s Tale’, another rollicking affair with Nigel Glockler showing he’s lost none of his drummer’s touch. ‘Speed Merchants’ is 2018’s equivalent of ‘Wheels Of Steel’, a standout track for mine, bang your head if you please. ‘Roadies Song’ is Saxon’s dedication to all the helping hands that makes an enterprise like ‘Saxon’ happen. Indeed they will say, ‘we are the road crew!’
I’ll admit it’s been a very long time since I sat down and wrote a Saxon article. As soon as I saw the album become available last month sonething suggested that I give this one a go. I’m glad I did. Most of the reviews I’ve read so far all seem to be pretty positive.
The production on ‘Thunderbolt’ is very high which is good, and makes this a pleasurable listening experience. The band are currently out on the road supporting the album with fellow Brits Diamond Head and Rock Goddess I support.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)