Saxon have returned with album number twenty! A British institution of Heavy Metal who have hardly put a foot wrong in forty years (brush over that little spandex period) are back with ‘Sacrifice’. Saxon are as good as they’ve ever been out on the live circuit and in big demand too but it’s awesome to see that they don’t just rely on past glories. Their new albums just keep getting better and better.
After Saxon march into your headphones via the instrumental intro; the first thing that hits you about ‘Sacrifice’ is the sound. It’s dynamic and powerful but very raw too, it almost has a live album feel to it. The grit in the guitars is wonderfully abrasive and Biff’s vocals meander from the forefront on occasion, to ride along with the riffs beautifully.
Next up it’s the awesome ‘Made in Belfast’. The stand out track for me, it pays tribute to all thing heavy and metal from Belfast docks, complete with hammering drums with a subtle little Irish jig creeping through now and then too.
‘Warriors of the Road’: complete with race car and commentary soundbytes, pays tribute to more transportation and has a rip-roaring solo to match the speed of the subject.
Saxon have tried hard to make songs that stick in the memory here on ‘Sacrifice’. ‘Guardians of the Tomb’ starts with primitive tinkling-music to fit with the subject, the race cars and the hammering of metal in ‘…Belfast’. It all gives the songs an identlty and keeps the album away from the common pitfall of making 10 more NWBHM songs (something that a of of the new ‘Trad’ bands do quite a lot).
Of course it wouldn’t be a Saxon album if you didn’t have tracks like ‘Stand up and Fight’. A straight ahead trad-metal song if ever you’ve heard one! This album is almost flawless actually as a piece of work. Final track ‘Standing in a Queue’ is a little jibe at that famous British pastime and displays a bit of humour to finish the album.
Another job well done by Saxon, let’s hope they are not getting ready to queue up for their pensions just yet and keep on turning out the good stuff like this!
‘Sacrifice’ is out now!