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Saxon - 'Decade Of The Eagle' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/98/b4/68/saxon-decade-of-the-eagle-91-1519505959.jpg Hot

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A truly wonderful collection from one of England's most beloved Metal bands.

You take a breath for a moment... and another Saxon release pops up! However, it's safe to say the band really have been taking great care of their legacy in recent years. This latest set – which comes in either 2CD or 4LP vinyl versions – spans the 1979-1988 period. This can be viewed as Saxon's glory years, from early support slots with Motörhead and headlining shows of their own, to festival appearances and even turning up on 'Top Of The Pops', Saxon were everywhere, including my bedroom wall in poster format!

The music spans nine albums of glorious Metal anthems and hard rocking nuggets, containing songs that are now truly considered to be classics of the genre. There have been a great many Saxon compilations over the years, and for the best part, they have covered the more obvious selections like '747 (Strangers In The Night)', 'Wheels Of Steel' and 'Never Surrender'.

This set delves a little further into the history of the band, with early and long forgotten gems like the Pop Metal of 'Big Teaser' and 'Militia Guard' which are a reminder of Saxon's ear for a good melody. The all-out Speed Metal of '20,000Ft' and 'Heavy Metal Thunder' gave fuel to the whole Thrash Metal fire that influenced bands like Metallica and Annihilator.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Never let it be said that singer Biff Byford could never tell a good story within the lyrics of a song; 'The Eagle Has Landed', 'Dallas 1PM' and 'Broken Heroes' all included plenty of grey matter thought among the crushing riffs and stratospheric guitar solos. Also, let's not forget the wonderful 'And The Bands Played On' which was written about Donington's Monsters Of Rock Festival.

Some of the more obscure gems that may have been previously missed also gain a new lease of life here including 'Midas Touch', 'Suzie Hold On', 'Northern Lady' and 'Ride Like The Wind'. The latter was a popular Christopher Cross cover version that upon release was much derided among the Metal community; in hindsight, it was an inspired choice and one that the band are frequently asked to play on tour.

As either an introduction or a trip down memory lane with Saxon, this is a truly wonderful collection from one of England's most beloved Metal bands.

Ray Paul

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