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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saxon – ‘Heavy Metal Thunder – Live – Eagles Over Wacken review

Saxon – ‘Heavy Metal Thunder – Live – Eagles Over Wacken review
Released on: UDR / EMI. Release date: Available now
OK, I’ve had this little gem for some time now, among the many other albums, DVD’s and other packages of one of each, that keep showing up at the ‘Williams Towers!’ It’s certainly, busy, busy here!
There is so much in this package that put simply, if you’re a Saxon fan of any kind, I urge you to get hold of a copy of this – if you haven’t done so already! - Double CD and DVD set or should that read triple set!
'Heavy Metal Thunder - Live - Eagles Over Wacken' is indeed a special release, read on ...
There are two live CD discs here; recorded live in Glasgow on last year’s UK ‘A Call To Arms’ leg of the band’s world tour.
Then there’s the DVD …, which is mammoth! A running time of 177 minutes, yes, just shy of three hours of the band’s performances at Germany’s Wacken festival, featuring their shows from 2004, 2007 and 2009.
For the DVD, I can really only summarize, as to do a complete breakdown on it, I’d be here for bloody ever!
I think it’s great though and for an old Saxon fan like me, it was great to see the old Eagle on stage behind the band with all the floodlights on it. Killer!
I remember seeing Biff (Byford) strapping himself to the Eagle, back on the ‘Eagle has Landed’ tour in the 80’s and on the ‘Power and the Glory’ tour too.
Plenty of great material on the live DVD, even if at times Biff does seem to be labouring just a little … Why he wears that bloody huge coat / jacket for so long on stage is beyond me? He must be bloody dying in it!
So many classic Saxon tracks on here too, with a total of 31 songs performed and some great behind the scenes features too, it’s an absolute winner!
My only confusion therein though is on drummers involved on the live DVD, as Nigel Glockler is the only drummer credited in the sleeve notes, yet there is another drummer playing and I believe it is Jorg Michael who had replaced Fritz RandowGlockler’s replacement. - in 2004.
There is no credit though here, for Jorg Michael on the sleeve notes.
The rest of the band here is original guitar player Paul Quinn, long time member Doug Scarett (Guitars) and Nibbs Carter (Bass/ Keyboards).
Saxon was and clearly still is a great live act, as I saw last October, here in Detroit – – at admittedly a much lower level, since unfortunately they never really broke the US in a big way, unlike the bands that back in the 80’s, they were more or less on an equal level with in the UK, such as Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, then those two went global!

It’s certainly not through lack of playing live, as Saxon were always committed to that. Shame …
The double live CD set was captured live in Glasgow, back in April of last year and as we saw here in Detroit, they played a lengthy set in Glasgow too, with a twenty four song setlist!

The intro track ‘Hybrid’ does drag out for some time - Especially since it's just that, an intro! - as the band gather themselves to launch into the excellent back to form new song ‘Hammer of the Gods’ which almost comes across – to diehard fans  - like ‘Princess of the Night.’
Then to a classic in ‘Heavy Metal Thunder,’ to the new ‘Back in ‘79’ which does evoke memories of old.

‘Never Surrender’ is a winner with the Glasgow crowd, before they play ‘I’ve Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)’ from their 2007 ‘Inner Sanctum’ album, which they originally recorded with special guests Angry Anderson (Rose Tattoo), Andi Deris (Helloween) and Lemmy (Motorhead), so they figure, let’s plug it some more here!
Always a Saxon classic is ‘Dallas 1pm’ up next and it’s no different here, love this track!
‘A Call To Arms’ title track is next and it really is a well-crafted track, as is the rest of that excellent album and the crowd clearly appreciates it too.
‘Solid Ball of Rock’ up next was the period of Saxon, where I tended to lose a listen interest, but you know, in this live setting, it works well, absolutely heavy and rockin’!
Then it’s a track from 2009’s ‘Into the Labyrinth’ album, with ‘Demon Sweeney Todd,’ reflecting that they don’t simply just put out a ‘Greatest Hit’s’ live package.
Power to you guys!

That said, I’ve got absolutely no complaints about hearing ‘And The Bands Played On’ next, Saxon’s tribute to the old Donington Park, the location of the original UK ‘Monsters of Rock’ festival.
‘Man and Machine’ is from the ‘Lionheart’ album, that I recall the band saying when they released it, that it was a return to form ala ‘Wheels of Steel / Strong Arm of the Law,’ which I for one totally disagree with.
This is very much more standard metal to me and it lacks something, but it fits the bill here.
The harmony guitar part being the only real highlight for me personally …
They delve into ‘Denim and Leather’ next and Biff tells the crowd, ‘Let’s go f**king crazy!’ with ‘Play it Loud,’ which hits the spot to me, bringing back great memories!

It’s back to the latest album next for ‘When Doomsday Comes (Hybrid  Theory)’ and it’s a bit of a more thought out track for the band, which echoes the class of the latest release.

Back to classic Saxon with ‘To Hell and Back Again’ next and I really love that period from the band!
This acts as the closing number for CD disc number one …
They kick right back in on CD disc two, with ‘Motorcycle Man,’ and Biff announces that the show is being recorded tonight for a later release, before saying ‘Let’s take a ride on a f**king motorcycle!’
So now you know it’s all favourites from here out!
Denim and Leather’ follows before the killer ‘Princess of the Night,’ a track that has become my ultimate favourite Saxon track and hearing the crowd singing the opening verse, it kind of makes clear it’s a huge crowd winner!
‘Crusader’ followed by ‘747 (Strangers in the Night),’ then ‘The Eagle Has Landed,’ remind me of how much I enjoy this band live!
Loved seeing them last year for the first time in 20 years or more!
The pace does not let up, as ’20,000 Feet’ rocks out next, quick rock without question!

The band returns for another encore in ‘Strong Arm of the Law’ which again bring back so many great memories from yesteryear! Thanks guys!
Closing track here, well there’s really only one left they could play at this stage right, ‘Wheels of Steel!’
I can’t say enough much this CD/DVD is special to me. Catching the band last year, gave me a renewed love of the band and in the latest album ‘A Call To Arms,’ they’ve found new glory years in this fans eyes and ears.
If you’re a fan of old, you will adore this set, it’s jammed packed with great memories, classic Saxon and then some!
If you’re a new fan or an intrigued rock fan of hard and heavy rock, from the classic generation, then do yourself a favour and track this down, a magic release!
Sorry it took so long to write about it, oh and what a great cover!
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 – Great package!
Official band website:

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