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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Saxon – 'Heavy Metal Thunder - The Movie' DVD review

Saxon – 'Heavy Metal Thunder - The Movie' 
DVD review
Released through: UDR. Release date: Available now.
Saxon is a band who for a bunch of years through the ‘80’s, I loved their sound but then they changed direction / sound a little and I kind of lost a little interest … That is until about two or three years back.
They had released ‘Lionheart’ in 2004 with statements like, “Back to the sound of classics like ‘Wheels of Steel’ and ‘Strong Arm of The Law,’" but I bought that album and even after a number of playbacks, it really didn’t grab me ..., although it actually does today. :)
A couple of other albums ‘The Inner Sanctum’ and ‘Into The Labyrinth’ followed and I was still not really getting it, they were to me just way too heavy ...Then ‘A Call to Arms’ dropped on my doorstep and this one, really clicked and felt like the magic in the band was well and truly back!
I gave that a nice review - - likewise the gig they played in Detroit and once again I got the Saxon bug!
Then came the ‘Heavy Metal Thunder – Live Eagles Over Wacken’ CD / DVD release, also very good indeed! - Review link here:
Now we have another ‘Heavy Metal Thunder’ release in this documentary on the band that truly tells everything, it really does!
Originally only available through the fan club it’s now available online through Amazon and the like.
 This is a mammoth two DVD set, clocking in at five hours in total! I kid you not!

Disc one is the main feature, ‘Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie,’ which is the story of Saxon, warts and all, from very humble beginnings, through the sordid details of what went on in the back of the old ‘tripe’ van which they toured up and down the UK in, from their early years as Son Of A Bitch, then as Saxon when they signed for Carrere Records.
It captures the early years revisited, their tea drinking days, then through their support slot with Motorhead, on their famous ‘Bomber’ tour in ‘79, which got the band a great many new fans, then their successful, breakthrough tour for ‘Wheels of Steel,’ in 1980 and their Donington performance that same year, at the first Monsters of Rock festival.

So much more too, through the very successful years ’80 – ’84 generally, releasing two albums in ’80 – ‘Wheels of Steel’ and ‘Strong Arm of the Law’‘Denim and Leather’ in ’81, the live ‘Eagle Has Landed’ in ’82, ‘Power and the Glory’ in ’83 and ‘84’s ‘Crusader’ release.
All the aforementioned releases were top twenty charting albums in the UK, three of which were also top ten.

 It was ‘81’s ‘Denim and Leather’ though, that started to make the band pretty successful in both Sweden and Germany, then around '85 picking up where the UK were ignoring them more or less and that has really continued ever since. Even if Sweden did back off for a few years during the 90’s, but where the UK’s love for the band started waning – Based on how well the albums did. – from ’85 – ’88, this was when Sweden backed the band more and Germany pretty much guaranteed the band top fifty albums, for the most part from there on.
Plenty of great footage from Europe on here too, reflected the bands great popularity still today – since this was made. – where the last studio release ‘A Call To Arms,’ was a top twenty album in both countries, but in England, didn’t do so good.
I actually wasn’t aware that Graham Oliver was let go from Saxon, because he tried to release the 1980 Donington Monsters of Rock tapes, on the side, without the bands knowledge and permission. Guess he had that coming!
Steve Dawson is clearly still very, very bitter about having been let go, when he was, but I guess his criticism of producer Kevin Beamish for his work on ‘Crusader’ and of the band and the direction / sound change the band was making, meant that ‘Innocence Is No Excuse’ was his last album as a Saxon member.
Many interviews here too with people outside the band too like Lars Ulrich (Metallica), as well as Lemmy and Fast Eddie Clarke (Motorhead), Doro Pesch (Warlock) and many more too.
There’s plenty of dirt here, but plenty of great stuff too, throughout the documentary, well worth getting.
The second disc is a complete bonus, featuring Saxon concerts from back in ’81, the band special St. Georges Day London gig from 2008 and a few mini-documentaries from the recording sessions for ‘Into The Labyrinth,’ ‘Crusader’ and ‘Innocence is no Excuse’ and footage from when the band did a reunion tour with Motorhead, named ‘The Eagle and the Bomber!’
Yes, there’s around three hours of footage on the second disc, so what are you waiting for?!
This really is an excellent package from UDR, who I must say do a fine job with the product they put out, always very classy presentation and with so much great material on here, Saxon fans and rock fans alike will lap this up!
I mean, even my missus and her friend sat through it all and thought the whole thing was great!
Go on, treat yourself folks, this is well worth getting, no complaints at all from me.
Rating: 5 out of 5 - Solid entertainment, great package, good stuff!