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Saxon: Lionheart

Saxon has carried high the New Wave of British Heavy Metal torch for most of the past quarter-century - and that flame still shines bright today. Witness Lionheart, the band's latest album, which comes at a time when Saxon is making some of the best music of its career, still touring and gaining new generations of fans. Loud, smart and old-school heavy, Lionheart is the perfect title for this record, which bravely delves into seventeenth century history ("Witchfinder General"), British royalty (the title track is about King Richard the Lionheart) and, yes, new sounds. Among Lionheart's best tracks is "Beyond the Grave," which combines e-bow and tremolo guitar effects to create a haunting song with death-defying hooks that may keep you up at night.

In addition to age-defying performances from originals Biff Byford on vocals and Paul Quinn on guitars, it's also worth noting the addition of former Stratovarius drummer Jörg Michael to Saxon's lineup (replacing Fritz Randow, who parted with the band amicably). Michael's double-bass-drum tactics fit in fine on traditional Saxon scorchers like "Man and Machine" and "English Man 'O' War," with his drums sounding even more lethal thanks to producer Charlie Bauerfeind (Halford, Blind Guardian) cutting them on an analogue 24-track machine. The vocals and guitars were recorded digitally and then given the analogue treatment, too. The result is a sonic stunner that should keep Saxon near the top of the NWOBHM still-active list.

Track Listing:
1) Witchfinder General
2) Man and Machine
3) The Return
4) Lionheart
5) Beyond the Grave
6) Justice
7) To Live By the Sword
8) Jack Tars
9) English Man 'O' War
10) Searching For Atlantis
11) Flying on the Edge

Added: December 8th 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Saxon Web Site
Hits: 4557
Language: english

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