Title: Call To Arms
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date: 3rd June 2011
Label: UDR / Soulfood Music
Some bands have their own history, a history of survivors and SAXON is certainly among them. They managed to go through the ruins of NWBHM in the mid 80s, the Grunge hype of early 90s and the overrated Nu Metal of the late 90s and early 00s. Although many bands succumbed to the demands of the market, whilst they were wrapping their commercial choices with terms of “artistic freedom” some stood where the others fell. All scars and blazin’ SAXON are here with their new album, ‘Call To Arms’. And I’ll start with the negative aspect of the album which pretty much is that the production fluffs up the sound; it restrains its depth and its power way too much.
When one listens to let’s say ‘Back in ‘79’ - a song which I bet that will make huge arenas to jump up and down from endless head banging - the feeling that he gets is that it is a flattened Heavy Metal song. At times, this very production works superbly, more noticeably in the orchestral version of ‘Call To Arms’ where the balance between the instruments is established. The positive aspects are that this album is Heavy fuckin’ Metal! Here and there, SAXON have these musical references to their past yet they have developed a more mature tone in their slower songs and they seem to have an overall control of the CD. This is an album that begs to be listened to not in your room, but in a big stadium. And I can assure you that you are going to have a damn great time!
‘Surviving Against the Odds’, ‘Chasing the Bullet’, ‘Afterburner’ among many others are songs of pure power, full of heavy riffs, empowering solos and fast tempo. With the ‘When Doomsday Comes’ and ‘No Rest for the Wicked’, SAXON are going to be included in the soundtrack of the upcoming film, ‘Hybrid Theory’. For me these songs are the only reasons to watch a British blockbuster movie, considering that the previous blockbuster, ‘Doomsday’, was a bunch of copy-paste crap. That holds especially for ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ which has this very nostalgic and heavy tone from the 80s.
Overall the album is a pure joy to listen to. The guest appearance of Don Airey (DEEP PURPLE, RAINBOW) for the keyboards is more than welcomed, he adds to that nostalgic feeling of the album I was referring to. Byford and his friends have some of the big-name modern bands for breakfast; be it in terms of artistic honesty, of energy during their live shows and everything really. Some believe that the best die young. This motto does not apply to SAXON - here we’re talking about some of the toughest legionaries of Heavy Metal!
01. Hammer Of The Gods – 4.23
02. Back In ‘79 – 3.28
03. Surviving Against The Odds – 3.01
04. Mists Of Avalon – 5.01
05. Call To Arms – 4.28
06. Chasing The Bullet – 4.14
07. Afterburning – 3.05
08. When Doomsday Comes (Hybrid Theory) – 4.28
09. No Rest For The Wicked – 3.08
10. Ballad Of The Working Man – 3.47
11. Call To Arms (orchestral version) – 4.27
Biff Byford – Vocals
Paul Quinn – Guitar
Nigel Glockler – Drums
Nibbs Carter – Bass
Doug Scarratt – Guitar
Don Airey – Keyboards
Total: 9.5 / 10