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Saxon

Discussion in 'Music Discussion' started by Yax, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. Forostar

    Forostar Ancient Mariner

    So the major outcome of the survivor has already been decided? :/
    Only post-2000 songs in the top 10 or even top 20, and one or two from the nineties? Not even an inch of excitement?

    Natalie, I will gladly check the songs you provide for (will also play the albums) and you wrote some nice reviews! Still I invite you to make this a bit more exciting and dive back in time and check these old songs out.

    I can follow you Natalie, when you speak about style, but to a certain extent only. The older songs have their own power as well (the good ones at least; Saxon concerts suggest to me that the audiences appreciate the old ones more even). To me, sound or style is like a skin. It is important, but it isn't as important as what's within. Core to music (my music) is how it was made, how it was written. E.g. if some heavy songs on later albums might sound 13 in a dozen or repetitive, it's still 13 in a dozen or repetitive. I like to do this in chronological order, to try and have the same perspective as the band creating these songs. And I am looking forward to discover the jewels. :)

    Continuing the crusade. Forever Free, for me an album full of party metal I dislike. It still has some less happy songs with strong parts but there's hardly one that is great from start to end.

    Currently underway with Dogs of War. Great opening track but the second song stole the couplet riffs of Delivering the Goods by Priest. Meh. Curious what follows, especially Great White Buffalo!

    edit: that was a strong song as well, though the couplets were less great. More standard so to say. I liked the chorus and the lyrics. For the rest I don't hope to disappoint when I say that I thought that with a first listening, the album sounded less solid than Solid Ball of Rock, which had more new elements in the music, probably ingested by new bass player Gibbs.

    On Dogs of War the band clearly zoomed in on the heaviness of the rhythm guitars. Still, I find it more important what these guitarists play and what vocal melodies Biff lays his voice on. Often songs have a good chorus or a good couplet, or a great solo part, or a nice vocal, or none of it all, but rarely songs grab me from the beginning til the end. In all honestly, this happens as well on many songs on older albums. By the way, I wonder what you all mean by cheesy. The song Hold On, is that cheesy too then?
     
  2. Forostar

    Forostar Ancient Mariner

    Man, Unleashed the Beast (1997) is awesome!
    The majority of the guitar work and choruses are really cool. And what a solos. Goosebumps during Cut Out the Disease and Circle of Light! :shred:

    Some song may have parts repeated as often as on previous albums, but the parts sound better! Some really cool hooks. The last two songs are not that great, especially the album closer.

    Do you know if Scarratt also plays solos. More than the half of the songs I like. Best album since 1983. Let's see which one can top this.
     
  3. mckindog

    mckindog Living for Sanctuary from the law Staff Member

    Really like the direction the sound took with Solid Ball; the title track would be a kickass concert opener,
    But other than that, its very typical for the band in that it continues the tradition of only a handful of memorable songs.

    Forever Free is utterly forgettable.

    I think you hit on what I like best about Dogs — the rhythm guitars sound superb.
    But it is also the deepest Saxon album so far. It has more hooks overall than any album that came before — both riffs and melodies.
    If cheese is defined as love song lyrics, then I am guilty of indulging with Give It All Away and Hold on — because I love the riffs and melodies.
    I'm with Nat on the quality of Dogs and Buffalo, and Burning Wheels is a smoking fist-pumper, again with good hooks.
    And most of the rest are decent compared to the filler on previous albums.

    Beast is my favourite because it has all the good qualities of Dogs, but is heavier and more frenetic.
    It is also the deepest album Saxon ever did.
    We've had our first major disagreement here though because the closer, All Hell's Breaking Loose, is a great track — just a full-on hurricane of a song.
     
  4. Forostar

    Forostar Ancient Mariner

    So I guess cheese is not per se connected to the 1980s then. :)

    Just heard Metalhead. An album with low tuned guitars and a lower amount of imagination or sense for good melodies. If there ever was one, it must have been drenched in the almost Pantera kind of style the band tried on this album.

    Sorry, can't stand All Hell's Breaking Loose. I don't like those playful kind of couplets (silly guitars and irritating vocals). And the overall song is too monotone for me.

    Killing Ground has some good tracks but not enough to convince as an album.
     
  5. Natalie

    Natalie Insect of Terror Staff Member

    I'm gonna play along here and listen to the early albums again. Its been a long while since those had a listen anyway.
     
    mckindog likes this.
  6. Forostar

    Forostar Ancient Mariner

    Alright! :)

    Lionheart has just like Killing Ground not that many great tracks but the title track must be the best song they've written in years! Spellbinding. I love it very, very much. Would be something to witness this live!
     
  7. Forostar

    Forostar Ancient Mariner

    Here it is. From their debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King (1969):
     
  8. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    A required listen imo. It can be argued that In The Court is the first progressive rock album ever. Classic stuff.
     
  9. Natalie

    Natalie Insect of Terror Staff Member

    Ok, so I went on a pretty epic Saxonathon as people in the Maiden Chat can attest to. I went straight through the first 6 albums plus Unleash the Beast cos Foro was so enthusiastic about it. Here's what I gotta say about each album:

    1) Saxon (1979) - Most notable songs are Judgement Day and Militia Guard. Everything else was more or less forgettable rock songs.

    2) Wheels of Steel (1980) -Most notable songs are 747 and Suzie Hold On. 747 was pretty good, but the rest was again...forgettable.

    3) Strong Arm of the Law (1980) -This was a pleasant surprise, better than I remembered it to be. The first two song and the last two songs were the best, and the rest wasn't too shabby either.

    4) Denim and Leather (1981) - Princess of the Night is epic, which I knew already. The other song I discovered was And the Bands Played On. The rest, forgettable.

    5) Power & the Glory (1983) - Nightmare, Midas Touch, and The Eagle Has Landed stood out a bit from the rest. But not in the same way as say, Princess of the Night.

    6) Crusader (1984) - Crusader, Do it all for you, Run for you lives. The rest are shite. Also the album as a whole suffers from really weird production, Byford's voice sounds really far away on all the tracks.

    7) Unleash the Beast (1997) - This was the best album by far, the most consistent, had a lot of energy, gotta give you credit for this one Foro, I'd totally forgotten about it. Unleash the Beast I had kept, but some of the others such as Absent Friends, are a pleasant re-discovery. It probably helped as it followed on from a rather monotonous few hours of earlier Saxon material.

    I'll be back with 1985 onwards.
     
  10. Forostar

    Forostar Ancient Mariner

    Until now, still my favourite (and indeed the most consistent) album. I doubt if later works can top this.

    Good to see you (re-)discovering some of the old material.
    *fears merciless texts on the next albums*. ;-)

    I would like to say a few nice words about two songs (both ballads) that were not mentioned yet:

    1979
    "Rainbow Theme / Frozen Rainbow" is for me one of the non-monotone songs. A ballad, locked in between two uptempo parts. It features very melodic singing and harmonic guitar lines. A heartfelt solo completes this early gem. Without it, I certainly would like the debut album less than now.

    1990
    From those I'd like to mention "Overture in B-Minor / Refugee". Starting with a very dynamic and short instrumental, we flow into an atmospheric ballad (some might call it cheesy? ;-), with an especially nice clean guitar lick under the chorus.

    Just finished Inner Sanctum. It starts pretty ok with State of Grace and Red Star Falling is also nice (though kind of exaggerrated in its bombast) but I was less impressed by the album closer. Compared to Alexander the Great, it is a moloch of a track, lacking any form of subtlety. I only liked the Eastern guitar riff but the instrumental part was a chaotic mess, way too much stuff added on one pile, leaving no breathing space. Rest of the songs? Simple under par stuff. All in all, again an album that can't stand in the shadow of Unleash the Beast. By the way, Biff is sounding worse and worse and that doesn't help much either.
     
  11. Night Prowler

    Night Prowler ɹǝlʍoɹԀ ʇɥƃᴉN Staff Member

    :blink: That's by far my favorite Saxon song. I don't see what's so chaotic about it, but I respect your opinion:cheers:
    Did you like the song Witchfinder General from Lionheart? That's my second fav Saxon song.
     
  12. Forostar

    Forostar Ancient Mariner

    I am not that impressed by lots of songs on this album, probably because I heard lots of comparable or better songs from earlier albums. Honestly, Unleash the Beast has set the bar high. For me, a Saxon song needs to have a cool melody or catchy (guitar) riff. Big chance this wasn't present either it didn't appeal to me. Can't remember well how this song went but I'll surely play it again when the times comes!
     
  13. Forostar

    Forostar Ancient Mariner

    Finished listening to Saxon 19 studio albums. The last two again largely consisted out of meh-material.
    This band has repeated itself very often in the last 15 years. Lots of thirteen in a dozen songs, many containing bad riffs, and as I said earlier. Biff's voice becomes worse and worse, sometimes plain dirty. There were a few nice songs (Batallions of Steel was OK but not much more. I do not think it is that great and it sounded cheesy with those done to death battle lyrics and keyboards in the chorus) but 80-90% sounded like recycled products, lacked supreme melodies or were just plain shit. Best song of the post-Unleash the Beast songs certainly is Lionheart and the best one after that is probably Mists of Avalon. But it's sad that these jewels have become so rare. Every one to their own but I do not rate the late Saxon as high as the old Saxon. Some songs can match the late seventies and early eighties stuff but most absolutely can't.
     
  14. mckindog

    mckindog Living for Sanctuary from the law Staff Member

    Bringing it home:

    I want to start out of order with a plug for A Call To Arms, which I rank among the band's better works for two reasons:
    The first is the feel — it's what they would have done in 1984 if they knew what they know now.
    It's the spirit of the NWOBHN expressed through the songwriting tricks and comfort with who they are that only came through 30 years of hard knocks.
    The second is the songs. The filler is better than most of their filler; more importantly it has not one, but two great songs.
    One is Avalon, the other is the orchestral version of the title track. It's anthemic while being both heartfelt and dignified.
    Reminds me of Como Estais Amigos, one of my picks for Maiden's most underrated.

    As for the rest, Metalhead is definitely a step down from the two that came before it.
    I quite like the title track and a couple others. The rest? Forgettable (there's that word again)
    Killing Ground is very much like Metalhead in style and substance.
    The next three are albums I'm not as familiar with, but the general sound — kind of a power metal with balls — is a good one.
    But the pattern seems to repeat — a very good/to great track, a couple solid ones and a bunch of inoffensive-but-blah songs.
    Five albums worth of songs that could have made two excellent albums.

    And that last bit probably sums up Saxon in a nutshell.
     
  15. Forostar

    Forostar Ancient Mariner

    I am not over the moon when a band goes back to their old sound in such an eager manner. Sounds like easy scoring to me. This happens with A Call to Arms. They even "re-made" Denim's title track with Back in '79.
    Maiden trying to make an album sounding like Number of the Beast part 2? Not a good idea I think.

    Still it's good they tried to change something at least. Also I heard two songs with Maidenish harmonies which was kind of new, at least for Saxon.

    EDIT:
    Currently they are in the studio for album number 20.
    They should take more time in between their albums.
     
  16. Natalie

    Natalie Insect of Terror Staff Member

    I wasn't even aware they'd come out with a new album now in February, called Sacrifice. Giving it a listen on Spotify.
     
  17. Forostar

    Forostar Ancient Mariner

    Bad news from the Saxon camp:
    [​IMG]
    "Nigel our friend and brother is in the hospital in the UK having tests to find a bleed on his brain. He is up and talking but he says he has a ball crushing headache. I will pass all your messages on to Gina, Nigel's wife and we all pray that Nige can pull through this! At the moment all shows have been re scheduled to 3/4/5/6/7 of February 2015" - Biff
     
  18. bearfan

    bearfan Ancient Mariner

    I saw Saxon live in the mid 1980s (paid all of $1 to get into the show). They have always had some good songs, but most every album (and really a lot of songs) seem to just lack something that would move them from "solid" and "good" to being great. They are a poor mans Iron Maiden ... not a total insult, but not high praise either
     
  19. Night Prowler

    Night Prowler ɹǝlʍoɹԀ ʇɥƃᴉN Staff Member

  20. MrKnickerbocker

    MrKnickerbocker clap hands

    That song's not terrible, but I just can't stand that guy's voice. I'm seeing Armored Saint open for them in Sept, doubt I'll stay for their show.
     

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