Thursday, 12 August 2010



This was a record I bought based on the cover alone.  Also it was for present.  Such was the strength of the artwork that I felt confident enough to pass on the riches.  Call me an idiot, call me a fool but that’s just the way I rock then roll.

The first time I ever heard anyone speak highly of Saxon was at my first office job which was at a family owned double glazers.  While I was into the grunge, the successful son of the outfit (and semi professional footballer) took us back to his formative years and private hell when explaining his tastes as a teenager.

Saxon were so specifically seventies.  They were of their time and as such have not necessarily aged with grace.  This is your dad’s music, the kind that the old bearded men will get nostalgic about in the pub.  Its music that couldn’t be constructed today.  Or at least constructed to last.  It is no coincidence that Tommy Saxondale inhabited such a moniker.

Listened to with modern ears there is quite a strange cauldron of sounds on display.  There was always something very Donnington about these bands, something very working class and curiously earnest in their transparent veneers.  As hard as they may try to be mythical, they could just as easily have been bricklayers.

A song such as “Big Teaser” feels classic of the times and something you would never hear born today.  It is classic scrappy rock with that seventies bass sound and general galloping feels but strangely with a hook that reminds me of “River Deep Mountain High”.  Elsewhere a song such as “Judgement Day” opens in joyful fashion echoing a Kiss-esqe demeanour with upbeat gestures only to later meander into something of a prog area and Yes like harmonies.

On the whole the band seems to me to be attempting some kind of Led Zeppelin assertion, not least through the vocalist/singer Biff Byford who generally only accomplishes sounding like a midget Robert Plant.  Whereas Zeppelin had “Stairway To Heaven”, Saxon seemed to settle for “Stallions Of The Highway”.

It ends horribly with “Militia Guard” and cheesy army drumming.  Why did metal bands used to do this?

There is worse metal, worse bands, worse albums.

Thesaurus moment: resolute.

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