CD Reviews

Saxon - 'Sacrifice' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 23, 2013    
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Great stuff.

Saxon … for me at least, more than any other band that emerged at the tail end of the 70s, they’ve come to epitomise what the whole NWOBHM movement was all about. Granted, their sales figures may never quite have kept up with those of either Iron Maiden or Def Leppard – although significantly north of ten million album sales worldwide is still pretty good going – but there’s a ‘peoples band’ facet to their psyche that makes them seem that much more real and approachable. Not forgetting, of course, a back catalogue brimming over with classic metal songs (and a fair few classic albums) and an enduring live reputation that draws a decent crowd wherever they choose to touch down.

Coming a little over 18 months after their ‘Call To Arms’ set, ‘Sacrifice’ is (would you believe) their 20th studio album…one hell of a milestone to reach by anyone’s standards I’m sure you’d agree; even more so with what still sounds like a full head of steam! Since the ‘Dogs Of War’ album in the mid 90s Saxon have gone for a leaner, meaner more contemporary metal sound – no doubt with one eye on supplementing their steadily aging audience with new blood – but this time around, as well as maintaining the modern edge they’ve also successfully recaptured that primal early Saxon style that made their name in the first place on albums like ‘Wheels Of Steel’, ‘Strong Arm Of The Law’ and ‘Power & The Glory’.

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Attempting to recapture one’s glory years some 30 years after the actual event is often fraught with obscured pitfalls, but to their credit (and with the help of the brilliant Andy Sneap) Biff and the boys have actually made a fairly decent fist of it on ‘Sacrifice’. Kicking off with a fairly lengthy (well, just under two minutes at any rate) intro is a bit of a departure for Saxon, but the moody ‘Procession’ with its tribal rhythms and jungle noises sets a suitably malevolent tone before first song proper ‘Sacrifice’ roars in on the back of a mighty riff and kicks you in the balls! Raw, dynamic and full of angst, yet at the same time hooky and melodic, this is the kind of stuff they cut their teeth on (think ‘20,000 Ft’ meets ‘Heavy Metal Thunder’ and ‘Metalhead’).

The crunching ‘Made In Belfast’ follows (don’t let the Gaelic intro fool you); a rumbling, relentless behemoth of a song with a cocksure swagger that leaves you in no doubt that even after more than three decades in the business Saxon are far from done. And, keeping up that near relentless barrage of riffs with disarming ease, tracks such as ’Stand Up And Fight’, ‘Night Of The Wolf’ and Warriors Of The Road’ all continue that inimitable Saxon tradition…great stuff!

The limited edition version has a bonus disc with a number of re-recorded and acoustic tracks, and although not essential, for Saxon collectors it’s a must! Nice one gentlemen!

Dave Cockett

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