As they now surpass their 40th anniversary together as a band (though with a myriad of line-up changes over the years), Saxon have proven to be a very dependable & consistent band in recent years, churning out some of the best vintage sounding NWOBHM material of any of their old contemporaries since the start of the 2000's. Here they are yet again with another slab of classic metal, titled Thunderbolt, featuring 11 memorable, heavy, and often times epic flavored tunes that show there's still plenty of life left in the tank for this longstanding British institution.
Led as always by the 'fountain of youth' himself Biff Byford on still incredible vocals, and his longtime partner in crime Paul Quinn on guitar, the rest of the band is rounded out by mainstays Nigel Glocker on drums, bassist Nibbs Carter, and guitarist Doug Scarratt. Plenty of fiery anthems to be found here, such as the barnstorming title track, the galloping "The Secret of Flight", the fist pumping prog-metal classic "Nosferatu (The Vampires Waltz)", and the kick ass tribute to Motorhead "They Played Rock and Roll", the latter easily one of the most enjoyable tracks here, complete with raging double bass drums and a non-stop assault of effective riffing. Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth guests on the mid-paced "Predator", lending his trademark growl alongside Byford's soaring pipes, and the tumultuous "A Wizard's Tale" has some of the albums more intricate riffs from Quinn & Scarratt, a read headbanger with mean intent and more fantastic vocals from Biff. The band also prove they can mash 'n' thrash with the best of them, as evident on the grinding "Speed Merchants", a real 'speedster' with plenty of firepower from the band, who once again show the fire and grit of a band still perfectly able to deliver sizzling, classic sounding heavy metal.
Though it's arguable whether Thunderbolt tops 2015's sensational Battering Ram (I personally think that record is just a shade stronger), this is still a remarkable achievement from a band that really have nothing left to prove, but continue to pump out impressive new material that stacks up quite well against their '80s classics. Highly recommended.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. Olympus Rising
3. The Secret of Flight
4. Nosferatu (The Vampires Waltz)
5. They Played Rock and Roll
7. Sons of Odin
9. A Wizard's Tale
10. Speed Merchants
11. Roadie's Song