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Saxon - Thunderbolt Award winner

by Craig Rider at 21 January 2018, 11:50 AM

Metal maniacs, rejoice! I'm proud to present to you: SAXON; signed via Silver Lining Music, hailing from England - performing Heavy Metal, on their 23rd album entitled: “Thunderbolt” (released 02/02/2018).

Since formation in 1978; the quintet in question have 22 (!) albums in their entire career, which is quite astonishing in their discography of Heavy Metal consistency. I have been a fan since I discovered them, with my first purchase being the epic “Call To Arms” album released back in 2011; “Sacrifice” followed suit in 2013, and then the hammering “Battering Ram” in 2015. I have enjoyed these records extensively and have respectively checked out their classics from time to time, as well as seen them live. With this; I have been highly anticipating the upcoming “Thunderbolt” record as well, and I have the opportunity to review it with thanks to the might of Metal Temple. Without further ado; let us dive in to the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal's latest release, and let me introduce to you yet another intricately designed slab of solid arrangements of hard-hitting Heavy Metal developments.

Opening with the introductory track “Olympus Rising”, which showcases a savagely sinister build up - until the thunderous titular track “Thunderbolt” comes into play. Consisting of complex, dextrous duo Paul Quinn & Doug Scarrlett on guitars - the pair deliver explosively constructive riffs of raw grit and fluid executions that are progressively technical. Biff Byford needs no introduction, yet his vocalization adroitness is comprised of his original trademark voice that we all know and love. “The Secret Of Flight” demonstrates the organic aesthetics in the diverse variety of the instrumentation and musicianship that is quite unprecedented for SAXON thus far, there is a distinct characteristic which is embellished with a primitive element while amalgamated with the old-school Heavy Metal substance – let us not forget about Nigel Glocker (who I assume also needs no introduction), who relentlessly pulverises his drums with powerful hostility.

The next in line is the song that declares honour to the late and great Lemmy Kilmister (Rest In Peace) with “They Played Rock And Roll”; it is a energetically dynamic rocker, fuelled with bouncy rhythms and speedy velocity – structured with a live cheering audience and a segment of Lemmy's famous words “we are Motörhead, and we play Rock And Roll!”, followed by more concrete riffs and a solo which screams with power in which portrays a brilliant homage to the man who has contributed an illustrious collection of Rock And Roll masterpieces. “Predator” is the most surprisingly quirky, the melodies are comprised with crushingly pounding strength that has discriminating efficaciousness – including intense guttural growls that with to my knowledge has not been done before in the world of SAXON before, there is an undeniable hint of Johan Hegg from AMON AMARTH that sound so alike – with no information if it is actually him performing this segment, this portion is magnificently remarkable and distinguishes what SAXON have invented prior to this release. The punchline groove has a tasteful foundation, that shows off the band's craftsmanship which is full of stunning finesse so far. I have to say however, while the sound production is crystal clear…it disappointingly lacks that ear-splitting heat we all crave for.

Nibbs Carter on the powerhouse bass flourishes with pummelling attributes as in the song “Sons Of Odin” (not to be confused with the MANOWAR epic) I rock out to a mightily battle hardened tune which emphasizes on steely contrast, while packing harmonically melodic strikes of ambitious robustness - Biff notably does an intensely high-pitched scream that is just incredibly extraordinary. “Sniper” is a blisteringly deafening boomer, with its dominating grooves and raw weight of thick rhythms that slams with competent ability - a vehemently profuse track. “A Wizard's Tale” compiles collectively systematic tempos with low to mid tempo patterns that flow with consecutive rotations and galloping leaps of chugging maliciousness, an interestingly excitable tune. “Speed Merchants” rapidly fires with fulfilling swiftness and brings rough toughness, supplemented with motivating elegance that is just all round persistently exquisite.

Overall concluding “Thunderbolt” with the “Roadie's Song”; I thoroughly enjoyed SAXON's latest delivery, my only complaint is pretty much the sound quality which doesn't get any much louder through the entire record…a minor misfortune that should not stop you from checking out this unexpected work of artistic creativity. Certainly a contender for 2018's record of the year, however… we have a full year to decide on that! Check it out when it releases on 02/02/2018.

Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 9
Originality: 10
Sound Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Olympus Rising
2. Thunderbolt
3. The Secret of Flight
4. Nosferatu (The Vampires Waltz)
5. They Played Rock and Roll
6. Predator
7. Sons of Odin
8. Sniper
9. A Wizard's Tale
10. Speed Merchants
11. Roadie's Song
Paul Quinn - Guitars
Biff Byford - Vocals
Nigel Glocker - Drums
Nibbs Carter - Bass
Doug Scarratt - Guitars
Record Label: Militia Guard Music


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