Saxon… ‘Nearly 40 years old – but still they got it’. This probably describes the newest Saxon album best. ‘Battering Ram’ is set to be released 16th of October by UDR. Two years has passed since the release of ‘Sacrifice’, which was quite a good album, but no more than that. Many could have thought – enough is enough, there are too many music riffs and solos you can play or write, but you need to know when to end. Well, the new album Saxon has produced is somehow fresher, not so stereotyped and quite heavy-rocking though! It still contains some ‘rock-n-roll drive’ moments, but to lesser extent. The album has more riffs than solo parts – hence it’s heavy as music of ‘fathers of NWOBHM’ should be.
The album starts with the title song ‘Battering Ram’. It’s said to be dedicated to the insane metal fans who are raging at barriers at the gigs. It’s a decent song, strong in its melodies, catchy and driving – exactly that what can get people ramming towards the barriers. Surprisingly, the next song ‘The Devil’s Footprints’ starts with a mythical intro, spoken words about creatures and the devil’s footprint. The song is inspired by some folk tales, has a strong rhythm-part and goes like quite an epic tale.
Then comes ‘Queen of Hearts’, written by Biff Byford and dedicated to Lewis Carrol’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. To be honest it is just a good song in my opinion. After the first tracks of the album it loses melodically, maybe because it’s quite slow and more ambient, but still it’s a firm and stable track. The album goes on with ‘Destroyer’ and ‘Hard and Fast’ songs in the quite traditional old-school style. They fit into the album as a kind of reminder to the band’s roots. The first song is a tribute to Marvel’s hero Destroyer (wow, nice hobby, Mr. Byford). ‘Hard and Fast’ is just it: hard riffs, few quite fast solo parts, no additional payload attached.
Next is ‘Eye of The Storm’ – a song about the natural disaster known as thunderstorm and people who get struck by it. It is a nice song, a good rhythm, with timely added quotes from TV broadcasts dedicated to storms. Definitely a song that can get stuck in your head. ‘Stand Your Ground’ is next and it’s just a song, nothing special in my opinion, loud and heavy.
After this two melodic songs are added to the album, that can be called ballads – ‘Top of The World’ and ‘To The End’. They are both rich by good rhythms and riffs and do have catchy lyrics. The closing part is presented by ‘Kingdom of The Cross’ and ‘Three Sheets to the Wind’. The first song is surprisingly melancholic and is dedicated to the centenary of the First World War. It consists of beautiful poems, read by David Bower of Hell. A touching song, thematic it’s actual as never before, with all the conflicts happening around the world right now.
Well done, this is a different Saxon. In the end, to our surprise, comes a loud and heavy ‘Three Sheets to the Wind’. Kind of a ‘cheer-up’ song after the tragic segment. Nicely done, again old-school, and you hear it easily – it’s Saxon, yes, that one from 80s. All in all, a nice album, absolutely decent work after so many albums done and years spent. They still got it. (8.5/10) (UDR)