(Angel Air Records)

Summary : Not as good as Oliver & Dawson’s stint in the original Saxon

Anyone expecting Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson’s version of Saxon to come out with an album harking back to the days of the early 80s, Denim And Leather and all that will perhaps be disappointed here. For a band that have largely traded on past glories, despite initially starting off with the original release “Victim You” when they set out under the “Son Of A Bitch” moniker back in ’96, this disc is heavier and certainly less melodic and anthemic than those classic Saxon releases.

Instead it’s a more modern sounding metal album which maybe will offer some alternatives in their live set and (sure to come) future live releases to songs that don’t quite sound right without the familiar voice of Biff Byford delivering them but overall is destined for the shelf pretty quickly. Title track “Motorbiker” certainly fits the bill for a band who are a perfect fit at a biker fest whilst “Screaming Eagles” is a title you’d expect to see on a Saxon album. More impressive though is “Chemical Romance” and the mid set pairing of “Just Another Suicide” and “Sinternet”. The former two owe more to where nwobhm evolved whilst the classier “Just Another Suicide” provides the albums highlight.

Lyrically though they’re a long way from the standards set with the like of “747″. Case in point being the expletive laden “Whippin’ Boy” and the cringeworthy “Nursery Crimes” whilst you feel “Nevada Beach” could have been a whole lot more interesting than where it ended up.  It has to be said that singer John Ward’s voice is a bit of an acquired taste too although you can’t accuse them of finding a Byford soundalike.

It’s a solid enough effort overall but sadly proves short of really memorable tracks which isn’t an accusation you can apply to Oliver and Dawson stint in the original Saxon. There’s probably enough to offer the band the chance to move a step away from being the value version of one of British metal’s best loved and forge their own identity but you sense they’ll probably continue to rely on the tried and tested crowd pullers for the bulk of their sets.


Bill Leslie

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