Unplugged and Strung Up

Label: UDR/Triada
Three similar bands: Judas Priest/Iron Maiden/ AC/DC
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
01. Stallions Of The Highway (remix)
02. Crusader (orchestral version)
03. Battle Cry
04. The Eagle Has Landed (orchestral version)
05. Red Star Falling (orchestral version)
06. Broken Heroes (orchestral version)
07. Call To Arms (orchestral version)
08. Militia Guard
09. Forever Free (re-recorded version)
10. Just Let Me Rock (re-recorded version)
11. Frozen Rainbow (acoustic version)
12. Iron Wheels (live acoustic version)
13. Requiem (acoustic version)
14. Coming Home (acoustic version)
"Heavy Metal Thunder" track listing (bonus):
01. Heavy Metal Thunder
02. Strong Arm Of The Law
03. Power & The Glory
04. And The Bands Played On
05. Crusader
06. Dallas 1pm
07. Princess Of The Night
08. Wheels Of Steel
09. 747 (Strangers In The Night)
10. Motorcycle Man
11. Never Surrender
12. Denim & Leather
13. Backs To The Wall

Biff Byford - lead vocals
Paul Quinn - guitar
Doug Scarratt - guitar
Nibbs Carter - bass
Nigel Glockler - drums

Saxon (1979)
Wheels of Steel (1980)
Strong Arm of the Law (1980)
Denim and Leather (1981)
Power & the Glory (1983)
Crusader (1984)
Innocence Is No Excuse (1985)
Rock the Nations (1986)
Destiny (1988)
Solid Ball of Rock (1991)
Forever Free (1992)
Dogs of War (1995)
Unleash the Beast (1997)
Metalhead (1999)
Killing Ground (2001)
Lionheart (2004)
The Inner Sanctum (2007)
Into the Labyrinth (2009)
Call to Arms (2011)
Sacrifice (2013)


The songs on this bonus disc were re-recorded in 2002

Released 2013-10-18
Reviewed 2013-10-26


Biff Byford and his Saxons are back with a second release this year, and now they are looking backwards at their 20 album career and have selected the best parts and breathed new life into them. They have done it before with Heavy Metal Thunder which comes as a bonus disc if you buy the digipak version of this album. This time though they go with orchestration, acoustic stuff and so on to make something completely different from what they have done before. Of course it can be seen as a bit unimaginative to redo old songs in a new way, but it is really something anyone that isn’t a complete Saxon dyslectic will find very interesting. It also has a pretty neat cover art just to make it even more interesting, but is it?

Heavy metal is what it is, Saxon is an archetype of heavy metal but now they take it a step further by adding orchestration to some of the track, making some of the tracks acoustic and just breathing new life into some of the tracks. It is a vital album, very varied in style over the fourteen tracks and still very coherent as the tracks feels like they all belong together on this album. It is an impressive production, I think that the sound is excellent. The fact is that Saxon sounds better than ever on this album, I have never heard a more vital production from these guys.

I guess breathing new life to their classic songs as on this album also shows them doing something different from their frankly lacklustre albums that has been the case for at least the latest three albums. This is more vital, more interesting and a lot better. I would say that this is most likely the best stuff ever from these guys. It is an impressive album, one that I recommend that you take a closer look at as it will be worth it. Clearly a revitalised Saxon and that is something that cannot be bad.

Best on this album is Militia Guard which is brilliant, but also Crusader that has gooten a a symphonic touch and the penultimate track Requiem which is a strong acoustic track. I would answer my previous question with a yes it is. Without a doubt this is a good album and most likely it is the best ever by Saxon as well, strong songs and great energy. This band clearly feels very fresh and vital, exciting even. Who said remakes can’t be good? they generally aren’t but it seems that a rule always have to be confirmed with an exception. So would this more vital than ever Saxon be seen as an indication that growing all isn’t so bad after all?



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