Album review: SAXON – The Eagle Has Landed

SAXON - The Eagle Has Landed

BMG [Release date 19.10.18]

To coincide nicely with their latest opus Thunderbolt, we get this reissue of Saxon’s classic 1982 live album. This rounds off the BMG reissues of the Carrere and Phonogram catalogue.

Originally a single LP, this comes expanded with tracks from London’s Hammersmith Odeon on that 1981/2 tour.

Saxon were formed in the late 70′s and were one of the first bands of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Back in on that 1981/82 tour, Saxon were still riding high on the NWoBHM, and there’s a youthful energy, a touch of a punkish spark to the music.

Opener ‘Motorcyle Man’ is a rifftastic classic, and a great guitar solo. ’747 (Strangers In The Night)’ and ‘Wheels Of Still’, now classics, still sound fresh here. Those two tracks were essential back then, as this recording proves, but they’ve been over played so much since there’s so much more they rely on now. ‘Princess Of The Night’ sounds great, and ‘Strong Arm Of The Law’ gets the crowd moving. And so it should. That classic bass intro pounds out a solid rhythm.

With so much in a very strong catalogue, some tracks have become lost in the midst of time, you’ll never be able to play everything. So what’s great here is the inclusion of ’20,000 FT’ and ‘Fire In The Sky’; two excellent tracks that you won’t hear live so often. Guitar solos aplenty, the latter a twin guitar harmony, and Biff Byford’s vocals as stand out as ever.

The bonus tracks were previously issued on the last remaster, so while the album’s not been available for a while, this album doesn’t offer anything new. The music, however, really is essential listening.

Classic after classic, with ‘And The Bands Played On’ (written about their 1980 Donnington appearance) and ‘Midnight Rider’ (another track I wish the band would play now) rocking totally, additional live energy setting things alight. And a rare opportunity to hear tracks like ‘See The Light Shining’, ‘Frozen Rainbow’ and ‘Hungry Years.’

A lovely package that fits into the collection (not just Saxon, but any self-respecting metal collection) perfectly. Nothing new and no extra sleevenotes, but the music does the talking.

Never Surrender. Saxon never will. ****

Review by Joe Geesin

Album review (Thunderbolt tour edition)

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