Escape Music [Release date 29.09.14]
Saracen are back after their last album, the concept piece ‘Marilyn’ based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. This album sees the band back to basics, in that there is no concept although they do revisit two songs from their debut album ‘Heroes, Saints & Fools’.
Saracen with their mini-epics, often reliant on a big guitar riff and keyboards backing, remind me of fellow UK hard rockers Demon (now there’s a tour bill made in heaven!). Take a song like opener ‘Rocamadour’ coming in on a rollicking keyboards riff before the guitars take over, sterling stuff. They are bang up to date with ‘Reacher’, based on the main man Jack Reacher from the bestselling author Lee Child.
Bit of prog creeping in on ‘Swords Of Damascus’, again the keys lead in nicely before that guitar riff grabs you and Steve Bettney’s vocals, powerful and melodic a perfect match for the music.
Of the two remakes, ‘Crusader’ has plenty going on in its seven minutes. Only one real ballad, ‘You & I’ where Karenska Kerr adds a nice female vocal and it manages to hold its own with all the hard rocking going on elsewhere on the album.
Original members’ guitarist/lyricist Rob Bendelow and vocalist Steve Bettney are still at the heart of the band and the keys of Paul Bradder (a member since the early 00’s) are an integral part of the band’s overall sound.
This album is definitely one of their heaviest to date, never metal per se more the heavier end of melodic hard rock. Good, strong collection of songs and good to see the band are still making great music, now all we need are some live dates please. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.
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Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)
Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
JAMES STEVENSON Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over (2013)
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