SAXON – Heavy Metal Thunder – Live: Eagle Over Wacken (DVD+2CD)

UDR/EMI 2012

NWoBHM Stalwarts have proven an increasingly popular draw of late, and remain one of the most consistent and reliable British metal bands around.

On the back of some of their most successful albums in 30 years, we get a superb live package that covers 31 tracks taken from Wacken, 2004, 2007 and 2009.

Saxon, in recent years, have never been shy of playing tracks from recent albums, having both the strength of material and confidence in it, and this is what separates Saxon from their contemporaries, So from the mid 00s almost proggy metal to the later return to their roots, we get Attila The Hun, Red Star Falling, Battalions Of Steel, I’ve Got To Rock To Stay Alive and To Hell And Back Again. All well filmed and recorded, and singer Biff Byford a perfect frontman, talking and high in stature.

Across the tracks guitarists Doug Scarratt and Paul Quinn riff and solo with aplomb, and bassist Nibs Carter always a star. There are several distinct phases from the band’s history that are all welcome here – Saxon vary their set lists wonderfully, so we’ll start with the early classics, of course there’s 747, Wheels Of Steel, Denim And Leather, and 20,000 Feet and Crusader sound good too. One of my favourite all time Saxon tracks Solid Ball Of Rock (written by Motors guitarist Bram Tchaikovsky) is here, and Rock The Nations and Rock’n’Roll Gypsy are both underrated and enjoyable. From the oft overlooked 90s, Unleash The Beast and Dogs Of War stand out, and it’s good to some of the better tracks from the late 90s / early 00s, here in Metalhead and Killing Ground.

Throughout this well edited compilation there’s not one foot out of step, not one bum note, not one song that is anything less than some of the best solid trad British metal you’ll ever hear.

The DVD also features a bonus interview with the band.

The 2CD that’s part of the set is the complete show from Glasgow 2011, featuring 23 tracks. Having seen them in London twice on that tour I can testify how great the band were, and still are. Several numbers here that aren’t on the DVD include Play It Loud, Demon Sweeny Todd, Back In 79, Never Surrender, Call To Arms and Hammer Of The Gods,

A fantastic package befitting of the legacy.

There are also a 2CD (different show) and 2LP editions to look out for.


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