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Saxon - "Heavy Metal Thunder"
SPV 2002

Aaaaa, a complete entertainment!!! Re-load of Saxon's classics from the golden eighties. Recent line-up, Byford/Quinn/Scarat/Carter/Randow, decided to re-record some old stuff. But don't worry, this isn't just another band's "best of". Thirteen iron classics were done in order of Killing Ground production. New, alive and fresh approach. Live as hell! Randow, with his double bass footwork, is brilliant once again (you will find this out immediately in the first piece "Heavy Metal Thunder"). He incorporates his double bass perfectly into vintage Saxon's pieces. His rollings in bridges give all songs a special feeling. What to say, perfect rhythm section. Guitars are alive and perfectly tuned in. Solos made with balls. The band as whole is really thundering. Let us take a look at classics that can be found on this re-recorded release. "Heavy Metal Thunder", "Strong Arm Of The Law", "Power & The Glory", "And The Band Plays on", "Crusader", "Dallas 1PM", "Princess Of The Night", "Wheels Of Steel", "747 (Strangers In The Night)", "Motorcycle Man", "Never Surrender", "Denim & Leather", "Backs To The Wall". All of them are much more heavier than versions that appear on their original releases. This is an answer on how to join something useful with a lot of fun, when doin' your job. A fantastic idea.

What was not such a good idea, from my point of view, is official live bootleg added as bonus CD. For a price of one CD you'll get two. But one is more than enough. Live bootleg is Biff's monologue. O.K. We cannot expect really good sound here, but in comparison with other "official" live bootlegged releases, this one sounds like shit. Don't expect guitars to sound here, as they should in Heavy Metal. All you will be able to hear clearly are Biff's vocals. But anyway, guitars are loud enough to show how perfectly the band is tuned in on stage. And that makes me angry even more 'cause I know how good this band is live on stage. Especially in "Dragon's Lair" it is clear that guitar harmonies are perfectly done, but obscured. Also in long intro part and pre-chorus of "Eagle Has Landed" we can anticipate great communication between both guitars, but in that moment, when Biff joins them on vocals, their sound is too decreased and obscured.

Let us forget about bootleg and enjoy in refreshment of old Saxon's material that sounds unbelievably new. A great idea and once again a perfect job.

Author:   Aleš

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