The silver eagle has finally landed for audiences worldwide!
After enjoying a limited “Fan Club Only” UK release, Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie, Saxon’s wonderfully unfiltered and intimate account of their ascent to the upper echalons of heavy metal, will finally enjoy an international release this December. The double-disc set features the soon-to-be-celebrated story of Saxon, while the second disc is packed with bonus features including a full-length performance (on St. George’s Day) from April 23rd, 2008. Rivetingly honest, and including the frank memories of every musician who has played in the band, Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie pieces together the earliest incarnations of Saxon, from frontman Biff Byford’s teenage years in the coalmines of Yorkshire and Son Of A Bitch (the first incarnation of Saxon) all the way through to top 10 hits and world tours. “Our music was more sort of machinery banging together, wheels turning, machines making noise,” says Biff of those early, industrial days, “It’s what Heavy Metal is all about. Heavy Metal is all about hard, big sounds bashing your skull in. I used to work in factories where big machinery made lot of noise and I used to sing along to the noises they made.”
It is a documentary which looks for all the world as though it’s a superbly crafted script, as much a tale of pure, honest, working class triumph as just another Rock n’ Roll story. Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie shows every facet of Saxon on their journey without once diluting the true characters who make up the band. “We basically played every dump and shithole that there is in England over a period, probably just short of eight years,” laughs Biff. “You know classic cliché of transit van, up and down and we used to play more or less every night. One gig might be a good paying gig and the other one might be no money or ten quid but it was an obsession, you had to play every day.” These wonderfully naïve young men sought nothing more than a great gig, a good time and maybe a nice girl, before suddenly finding themselves on tour in the US, exposed to the sorts of things which (quite frankly) Barnsley simply didn’t offer in 1980. And from that point, Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie, takes the viewer on a journey on a Rock n’ Roller of a journey encompassing it all from triumphs to tears to tea-bags and beyond.
Nothing is forsaken and nothing skipped. Despite the fact that to this day there remain problems between the Byford/Quinn and Oliver/Dawson parties, everyone tells the full unedited Saxon story with heartfelt honesty and integrity.
“We do have a great legacy,” says Byford, “whether you joined the band in 1994 or (as) an original member. There’s a legacy there and I’ve tried hard to not let people demean it and to spoil it and you have to look after that thing that is Saxon.”
Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie will entertain, engage and charm fans and non-fans alike. That’s a truth as honest as the film itself…
• DVD Digipack (2 Discs)
Restricted Release today confirms October 26 as the North American release date for Heavy Metal Thunder, a special reissue package from England’s VIKING SKULL. Remastered and featuring all new artwork, Heavy Metal Thunder combines the band’s popular debut album, Born In Hell, and the Chapter One EP, both previously unavailable through proper American and Canadian retail outlets. The album also includes five bonus songs and will precede a new, still untitled EP planned for release in early 2011.
VIKING SKULL, featuring vocalist/guitarist Roddy Stone, guitarists Dom Wallace and Frank Regan, bassist Kevin Waldie, with sole-American drummer Jess Margera (CKY, The Company Band), found initial American interest when the song “Skull Heaven” appeared on volume one of Bam Margera’s Viva La Bands compilation series in 2005. A second song, “Blackened Sunrise” would follow on volume two in 2007. Early fans would have to wait until the winter of 2008, however, to witness their first Skull show; the band finally landing on US shores to share the stage on a short east coast tour with Clutch.
Stone recalls,“our tour with Clutch was the first time for us playing the states. It quickly became quite clear to us that America loves big riffs through big amps and that’s what we’re about. No fancy hair cuts, eye liner, or spooky clothes, just balls out, meat and potatoes heavy rock. That tour was one of the best we’ve done in terms of crowd reaction, and on top of that we got to see Clutch every night.”
Heavy Metal Thunder comes nearly two years to the day after the release of Doom, Gloom, Heartache & Whiskey (Powerage); an album that was embraced by international media on its release in 2008. “Genuinely fantastic rock ‘n roll,” asserts Kerrang! “Whiskey-swigging, bar-room-brawling, southern-baked hard rock and metal,” said Blabbermouth. It was MetalSucks that most aptly described the band’s sound noting, “if you take a foundation built on Black Sabbath, add the support structure of Thin Lizzy, wall it up with a thick layer of Motorhead, and retrofit the whole package with the likes of Orange Goblin, this is the house VIKING SKULL has built.”
“We tend to think, if it ain’t broke don’t try and fix it,” notes Stone about the band’s straight-forward heavy metal anthems. “We like to think back to the day when men were men, and amps where amps. The time when having a good riff/song was important and had nothing to do with posing, we’re a proper band with proper tunes..”
It was 2002 when assorted members of England’s Raging Speedhorn and crew faced the very sobering notion that their daily offering of free booze would dry up whilst not on tour. So for founding members Stone, Waldie, and Regan, the lure of a free pint was enough to encourage them to form a band. In quick time, VIKING SKULL was recording and enjoying non-stop touring (European runs with HIM, Dio, CKY and others) when one memorable evening things came to an abrupt halt. In what can only be recalled as a drop-down, all out battle (fueled by lots, and lots of absinthe unfortunately supplied by then simply friend Jess Margera) the ‘Skull’s outer edges fried and the Northamptonshire-based band broke up. Later finding out what had happened Margera offered up his services and within short time wounds healed and VIKING SKULL was back.
Heavy Metal Thunder Tracklisting:
1. Beers, Drugs And Bitches
2. Wizard’s Sleeve
4. Rape Pillage And Burn
5. Crazy Trucker
6. Skull Heaven
7. Born In Hell
8. Crank The Volume
9. Red Hot Woman
11. Heavy Metal Thunder
12. Saddle Up
13. Double Or Quits (Demo Version)
14. Rock And Roll Suicide
15. Conquer The World
16. Baby Let Me Know
17. Skulls & Whiskey
18. Dirty Dirty Hole,
19. Inject My Woman (With Love)
20. You Can’t Kill Rock & Roll
VIKING SKULL are set to announce new tour dates for the UK late autumn/early winter and are in discussions for their return to US shores.
A new five-minute trailer for the upcoming documentary on British rock legends SAXON, “Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie”, can be viewed below.
U.K.’s Coolhead Productions is putting the finishing touches on “Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie”. The film, which is expected to be released in December, celebrates the group’s 30th anniversary. Produced by the makers of the critically acclaimed “Ian Gillan: Highway Star” (Universal, 2007), it not only has contributions from members of SAXON, past and present, but also from the likes of Lars Ulrich (METALLICA); Lemmy, “Fast” Eddie Clarke, Phil Campbell, Mikkey Dee (MOTÖRHEAD); Harvey Goldsmith, Danko Jones, Doro Pesch and many, many others. It will also feature plenty of rare archive material and previously unseen concert footage, from the classic 1980s lineup to the brilliant St. George’s Day show in 2008 and Wacken Open Air in 2009. A special limited edition of “Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie” will contain a feature-length documentary, at least two never-before-seen concert films and plenty of revealing extra content.
“It looks good,” singer Biff Byford tells News & Star. “But it has been put back because they have just got a load of new stuff from an interview with an old manager which is quite good. I’m sure I will learn things about me that I did not know…
“I’m looking forward to seeing it,” he says. “I have a right to veto things, but I don’t think I will. I have seen the ANVIL [documentary]; it is funny. I like them, they’re not in my top five bands of all time, but they try hard.”
Once the tour and the DVD launch are out of the way, there’s more work for Biff.
“We’re working on a soundtrack for an American horror film based around snakes, then we start writing a new album in December.”
Meanwhile, he and the family have just moved back to his native Yorkshire after living in Normandy for the past eight years.
“We are renting at the moment, but if you know anyone looking to buy a small chateau in northern France, let me know…” he says.
If you pre-buy a plush special limited edition of “Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie” containing a feature-length documentary, at least TWO never-seen-before concert films and plenty of revealing extra content, you will get your name on the credits and become an associate producer, allowing you to influence the content of the film by sending your suggestions to the filmmakers. You will also have the chance of winning one of five pairs of VIP passes to next year’s Wacken Open Air festival AND the chance to meet SAXON singer Biff Byford and the rest of the band on their next tour.
“We’re relying on our fans here and I know you’ll do us proud,” said Byford. “SAXON have a great story to tell and some bloody fantastic songs to celebrate. I think you’ll agree it needs to be done properly, so get your orders in now. This will be one of the best rock docs you’ll ever see.”
The special limited edition of “Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie” will cost £25 (GBP). It will be shipped out as soon as it’s complete.
For more information, go to this location. http://www.coolheadproductions.com/SAXONDVD/