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Friday, December 23, 2011

Saxon – Call To Arms album review

Saxon – Call To Arms album review
Released on:  Udr label Release date: Available now.

OK folks, this is the first of a few reviews that will unfortunately have to be a little briefer than previous reviews, as there's so many to try and catch up on, that said, it's still longer than I'd planned on it being!

This absolutely stunned me from Saxon as their last few releases, well actually for me, most of their stuff for some time has not grabbed me, the last album of theirs I tried was 2008’s ‘Lionheart’ believing the press releases that it was a return to the traditional Saxon sound of old.  Far from it for me …
'Call To Arms' is huge step in the right direction and I love what they’ve got here.
The recent US tour was a good one, that took in Detroit this time and they put on a great show here and I can’t recommend enough, that you should check the band out, they are really on their game now, with an excellent album to back it up!
The opening track here ‘Hammer of the Gods’ is absolutely as good as anything the band has ever done before and it kind of reminds me of a stronger, yes stronger ‘Princess of the Night.’ Brilliant!
Then with ‘Back in ‘79’ it's a real ‘Denim and Leather’ style rocker, good memories here!
‘Against the Odds’ is a great solid and pacey rocker too!
I can’t believe what ‘Mists of Avalon’ conjures up, it’s great, keyboard flurries at the beginning, yes, keys!
The track then gets rocking in fine fashion, with perhaps a slightly commercial touch to it. Excellent!
Nice guitar work throughout the album and solid stuff on drums and bass, Biff Byford has certainly got possibly the best line up of Saxon ever here, brilliant stuff!
There’s two versions of title track ‘Call to Arms’ and next up is the standard version, which starts with dramatic style possibly a modern day ‘Dallas 1pm’ and it’s a very well written track indeed.
‘Chasing the Bullet’ is a good old steady rocker and already a live favourite!
OK, those speed metal fans of Saxon will be very pleased with ‘Afterburner’ as it powers along with Biff spitting out the lyrics with an angry passion indeed.
Slight Priest / Maiden elements about this one too …
Gotta love next track ‘When Doomsday Comes (Hybrid Theory)’ it’s like it conjures up thoughts of conceptual album about it and it has a riff here not unlike Deep Purple’s ‘Perfect Strangers.’ Maybe that’s why I love it! LOL!
‘No Rest For the Wicked’ sounds like Saxon’s twist on Metallica!
There’s a certain something about ‘Ballad of the Working Man’ that’s bring back memories of classic traditional Saxon, without doubt and it’s another great solid track here.
The album closes with the other version of ‘Call To Arms,’ played alongside a full blown orchestra.
It’s brilliant, it’s sounds so rich and the band together with the orchestra sound great, perfect song for it.
There’s also a bonus live album with this version, which is from Saxon’s performance at Donington’s Monster’s of Rock festival, the first year it ever happened in 1980, alongside Rainbow, Judas Priest, Scorpions, April Wine, Riot and Touch. It’s a fun if short live album, as there were early on the bill, nice bonus though.
Overall, 'Call To Arms' is simply a really strong album and based on this, I'm looking forward to the next one!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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