Friday, February 9, 2018

Saxon - Thunderbolt (2018)

Okay, I may not be suffering from OCD, but I have to start off this review with my uncomfortable feelings of that album cover. It is a cool piece of art, but the way the focal point of the cover is slightly skewed to the left just does not feel right. Sure, the bird might not have looked as intimidating if it was centered (unless it was magnified), and maybe this is a more dynamic take to the image, but it is still kind of annoying.

So with that stupid nitpick out of the way, how does the 22nd Saxon album sound? Well, if you have listened to any of the other 21 albums, you probably know how this one will turn out, it is just classic heavy metal that somehow never seems to get old. The guys keeps on reinventing the wheel, and still make the crowd roar cheerfully. There is just something with these types of bands that have created their own niche that is so admirable, and makes you appreciate them a little bit more, because you never know how long they will be around for.

Judging from "Thunderbolt" though, it seems like Saxon will be here for quite a while longer. They still have a drive that is as strong as it has ever been, and still find some neat tricks to make every song interesting (although I do think it was kind of weird that Biff tried some growling in "Predator", stick to what you do best man). The knack of creating a catchy and engaging song is certainly still there, and they add some sort of epic element to it all with this record. Songs like "Nosferatu (The Vampire's Waltz)", the title track, "The Secret of Flight", and "Sons of Odin" just adds a grand persona that raises the album a whole new level.

The lyrical content is also fun to discover, dealing with both Norse and Greek mythology, vampires, wizards, but there are two tribute songs that does catch my attention a little extra. First we have "They Played Rock And Roll", which is a clear homage to their fellow countrymen Motörhead, and one of the better ones to this date. Saxon carbon copies their style pretty well, while still keeping their own core sound, and the small nods here and there are fantastic for fans of both bands. Then we have the ending song "Roadies' Song", a tribute to the hard working man behind the stage that makes every show happen. This is not something new either (Motörhead and Tenacious D did it, just to name a couple), and the song is not my favourite in the record, but still a very nice tribute to the guys that never gets enough praise.

So yeah, "Thunderbolt" is nothing that will surprise you, and the second half might not be as exciting as the first, but the quality of the craft is still really good, and you will surely find a couple of new favourites in here. Biff Byford and crew has put together another really solid record with great heavy metal in their typical style, and keeps on trucking without slowing down even a little bit. It is surely a banger, and hopefully not the last one we will hear from the group.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Secret of Flight, Thunderbolt, They Played Rock And Roll

Rating: 7,5/10 Predators

More reviews of Saxon
Battering Ram

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