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Saxon – Carpe Diem Award winner

Carpe Diem
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 19 January 2022, 11:31 AM

Seize the day because who knows what tomorrow brings. That is the first sentence that came to my mind while listening to Saxon's brand new offering, "Carpe Diem". It felt to me, right from the start, as if a ton of stress was unleashed through the course of ten songs, each a reliever that bound by Metal, strong as steel. This is not just a cliché for SAXON, this is pure reality and what a band, with a career span of more than four decades, can do.

The term 'True to form' hasn't been alien to SAXON, their motivation, and inner desire, to get out the best of themselves, has been noticed through the last stream of albums. Nevertheless, in a way, "Carpe Diem" tops the band's latest effort, exporting the known bread and butter NWOBHM, yet without implementing the sophisticated arrangements, which some of the newer generation British Metal bands have been using. Furthermore, in comparison to previous SAXON albums, "Carpe Diem" is one fist full of Metal, bludgeoning of heavy riffing, amazingly crispy soloing and a vocal line that is nothing less than profound. No doubt, the record is an intensified experience, and the emotional magnitude of the time period we live in are felt.

Right from the beginning, with the howling of Biff Byford, of "Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)", the scene feels alive, Byford himself sounds like a reborn man, especially after the last hard two years, including his past heart attack. Nodding to the 80s, which reminded me of "Crusader" sailed in "The Pilgrimage", that I found to be quite an emotive tune, striving to become one of SAXON's classics. Not really another nod to the 80s, yet it could well may be a tougher version of it, there is "Remember the Fallen". For me it is a nifty modern version of the 1985 passionate hit, "Broken Heroes", yet as a memorial to heroes, victims, of the wretched Covid-19 pandemic that hit us with a massive blow.

"Super Nova" is a stellar musical performance, a celebration of in your face Heavy Metal, fierceness of the highest quality, with the right hooks, especially guitar oriented, delivering the massive blow of the event, yet also the sorrowful aftermath. "Black Is The Night" is a mid-tempo rampaging beast, certainly one of SAXON's powerful songs of late in terms of the levels of Metal that were measured in the air while it was playing. Lastly, the one that I found to be a sort of a personal band story, is the "Living On The Limit". SAXON has been through a lot, been there and done that, and this short, energetic, track shows what is it all about, to be live up to the limits of what one can do, especially when you aren't a band of boys anymore. This is a pure salute for the band's longstanding career. Hailz to that.

The previous "Thunderbolt" opened 2018 with a fine blast, yet I believe that "Carpe Diem" starts 2022 with a megaton bomb, as SAXON sound decisive, without holding back, they are true to their style of music, even while trying to enable it to more than old schoolers. Thanks to their view to the future, along with a fine sound production, made by Andy Sneap, the vision of "Carpe Diem" looks to me like a sheer success, a definite addition to the band's grand legacy.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

1. Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)
2. Age of Steam
3. The Pilgrimage
4. Dambusters
5. Remember the Fallen
6. Super Nova
7. Lady In Gray
8. All for One
9. Black is the Night
10. Living On the Limit
Biff Byford – Vocals
Paul Quinn – Guitar
Nigel Glocker – Drums
Doug Scarratt – Guitar
Nibbs Carter – Bass
Record Label: Silver Lining Music


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