UnRated Magazine

About Saxon


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Upon the release of "Sacrifice", rumor had it that Saxon was to release an acoustic/unplugged album within a year. Being granted a sneak preview on the album's deluxe edition I expected no less than magic. In all honesty; I had not expected their music being suited this perfect for heavily orchestrated make overs. "Unplugged and Strung Up" is an album which proves the diversity Saxon brings to the front. And above all; it proves metal to be suited for a wide audience!

"Lionheart" displayed the Saxon's material gaining more strength being orchestrated, as did the remarkable sneak preview of "Crusader" on the last album. Strong and fierce metal tracks benefit from the larger than life orchestration creating an intense atmosphere which is taunting and powerful. It's that panache and perfection which uplifts this album and catapults it into the stratosphere of metal. Orchestral versions of marching magnetic "Crusader" and the classic "The Eagle Has Landed" stand tall. "Red Star Falling" morphed into a powerful pompous rock ballad with Byford's soaring vocals shining like never before. Same goes for the immaculate "Broken Heroes," a gripping highlight which radiates passion. The original being a great song as is, this version beats it easily. Propelled by the driving riff from Quinn the song rises towards the chorus and explodes while strings take over in large layers. "Call to Arms" already displayed that wonderful spirit on the original version, but has only grown on this epic CD.

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Saxon are an English heavy metal band, formed in 1976 in Barnsley, Yorkshire. As front-runners of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, they had 8 UK Top 40 albums in the 1980s including 4 UK Top 10 albums. Saxon also had numerous singles in the Top 20 singles chart. Between 1980 and 1987 Saxon established themselves as one of Europe's biggest metal acts, they also had success in Japan and in the USA. In Japan, the single "Motorcycle Man" stayed in the charts for over 5 months. They still tour heavily and regularly. Their latest tour is their largest in the UK since the late 1980s. Saxon have sold more than 13 million albums worldwide and heavily influenced bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Sodom and Running Wild. They are renowned for their live act and are considered one of the finest live performers of the metal genre.

Source: Wikipedia.org 2011


The silver eagle has finally landed for audiences worldwide!

After enjoying a limited “Fan Club Only” UK release, Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie, Saxon’s wonderfully unfiltered and intimate account of their ascent to the upper echalons of heavy metal, will finally enjoy an international release this December. The double-disc set features the soon-to-be-celebrated story of Saxon, while the second disc is packed with bonus features including a full-length performance (on St. George’s Day) from April 23rd, 2008. Rivetingly honest, and including the frank memories of every musician who has played in the band, Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie pieces together the earliest incarnations of Saxon, from frontman Biff Byford’s teenage years in the coalmines of Yorkshire and Son Of A Bitch (the first incarnation of Saxon) all the way through to top 10 hits and world tours. “Our music was more sort of machinery banging together, wheels turning, machines making noise,” says Biff of those early, industrial days, “It’s what Heavy Metal is all about. Heavy Metal is all about hard, big sounds bashing your skull in. I used to work in factories where big machinery made lot of noise and I used to sing along to the noises they made.”

It is a documentary which looks for all the world as though it’s a superbly crafted script, as much a tale of pure, honest, working class triumph as just another Rock n’ Roll story. Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie shows every facet of Saxon on their journey without once diluting the true characters who make up the band. “We basically played every dump and shithole that there is in England over a period, probably just short of eight years,” laughs Biff. “You know classic cliché of transit van, up and down and we used to play more or less every night. One gig might be a good paying gig and the other one might be no money or ten quid but it was an obsession, you had to play every day.” These wonderfully naïve young men sought nothing more than a great gig, a good time and maybe a nice girl, before suddenly finding themselves on tour in the US, exposed to the sorts of things which (quite frankly) Barnsley simply didn’t offer in 1980. And from that point, Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie, takes the viewer on a journey on a Rock n’ Roller of a journey encompassing it all from triumphs to tears to tea-bags and beyond.

Nothing is forsaken and nothing skipped. Despite the fact that to this day there remain problems between the Byford/Quinn and Oliver/Dawson parties, everyone tells the full unedited Saxon story with heartfelt honesty and integrity.

“We do have a great legacy,” says Byford, “whether you joined the band in 1994 or (as) an original member. There’s a legacy there and I’ve tried hard to not let people demean it and to spoil it and you have to look after that thing that is Saxon.”

Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie will entertain, engage and charm fans and non-fans alike. That’s a truth as honest as the film itself…

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