Saxon is just about to release their 20th studio album (gasp!), Sacrifice on the world on Tuesday. How does their latest effort Sacrifice stand up? In my opinion, Sacrifice is better than the last couple of releases, Call to Arms and Into the Labyrinth. It is heavier, grittier and delivers a lot more punch than the previous two albums. Byford’s vocals are still in fine form. Even at the ripe young age of 62, Byford is still delivering some of the best vocals in heavy metal. I can’t say enough about the guitar work of Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt either. There are plenty of solos and heavy riffs to feast your ears on.
After the brief instrumental opener “Procession”, Sacrifice really doesn’t let up at all. If the title track “Sacrifice” doesn’t get your blood pumping, your stereo might be broken. The pounding rhythms don’t end with “Sacrifice”. In fact, there isn’t a slow moment on the album.
If NASCAR was smart, they would use “Warriors of the Road” as a theme song. Byford lets his fondness of auto racing flow into this song with the sound effects from the high speed whine of some open wheel race cars. Much like those race cars, the throttle is wide open on “Warriors of the Road”. This high octane rocker is going to be staple in Saxon’s live set without a doubt.
Another favorite song on Sacrifice is “Stand Up And Fight”. This is a great metal anthem, with a simple, yet powerful message.
If Sacrifice falls short anywhere, it is the overall length of the album, which is a little on the short side. I will take 40 minutes of quality heavy metal over sixty minutes of crap rock any day of the week though, so this isn’t a problem for me. Sacrifice might not stand up to the classic albums, Denim & Leather, or Wheels of Steel, but it is definitely one of the better Saxon albums in the last 10 years or so. It is solid all the way through, and worth your hard earned dollars.
Fans of classic metal and Saxon fans are going to love this! Recommended!
Rating: Out of 10
03. Made In Belfast
04. Warriors of the Road
05. Guardians of the Tomb
06. Stand Up and Fight
07. Walking The Steel
08. Night of the Wolf
09. Wheels of Terror
10. Standing In A Queue
Biff Byford – vocals
Paul Quinn – guitars
Doug Scarratt – guitars
Nibbs Carter – bass
Nigel Glockler – drums
With a storming new stomp in their boots and a renewed, lithe swagger to their legendary sound, Saxon will release “Sacrifice”, on Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 through UDR. Taking a sharper, re-invigorated approach to the production, on this, their 20th album, Saxon have produced 10 of their strongest, heaviest and most inspired songs for many-a-year, and a more than worthy successor to their last album “A Call To Arms”.
“Less tricks, more power!” roars frontman and founding father Biff Byford, “my brief to the band was to be raw, be real and not be afraid to look back at the old classic material for inspiration.”
The album was recorded at LS Studios in Yorkshire and was produced by Byford with Andy Sneap mixing and engineering by Jacky Lehmann. It fairly bristles with muscular metallic intent, Paul Quinn’s and Doug Scarratt’s guitar work the best it’s ever been, while Biff’s vocals sound fresher and livelier. The songwriting too harks back to a classic era in Saxon’s history, with the likes of ‘Warriors Of The Road’, ‘Wheels Of Terror’ and ‘Stand Up And Fight’ evoking the halcyon days of yore with a contemporary twist, the classic Saxon sound absorbing the snarl, ferocity and attitude of contemporary bands (and fans) such as Megadeth, as evidenced by the crunching title cut ‘Sacrifice’.
“It’s certainly been done from a more early ‘80s thrashier perspective,” explains Biff, “and it’s not just guitars bashing away willy-nilly, they’ve got a fresh drive, purpose and perspective.”
Besides the new material, Saxon will also be adding some unique recordings of revisited classic to certain formats of the release, also produced by Byford and mastered by Andy Sneap, including an orchestrated version of ‘Crusader’ and an acoustic version of ‘Frozen Rainbow’.
“From the songs to the production, I wanted to focus on the raw aspects which made us great in the first place,” concludes Biff, “And living in that rawness, combined with some great classic Saxon-songwriting, has in my opinion made Saxon fresher than ever.”
Confirmed track listing: