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SAXON ‘Lionheart’ SPV 085-69692CD (2004)

Saxon

This band Iíll have to admit to having a real soft spot for. The Biff led Saxon have held a special place in my heart for the last 20 years. And on this evidence, they will continue to do so.

The history has been turbulent, and the O/D Saxon saga is best glazed over. But mainstays Biff Byford and Paul Quinn, with longtime guitarist Doug Scarratt and bassist Nibbs Carter and new drummer Jorg Michael (replacing Fritz Randow) have produced a fine set here.

On first listen the set isnít immediately catchy as some of the 90s releases (such as Unleash The Beast) but give it a few spins and it all seems to grow on you rather well.

Opener ĎWitchfinder Generalí is a real heavy opener, the guitar sound to the heavy extreme for Saxon, while the title track is classic Saxon. Modern, not retro, but Saxon at their best. Biff sounds as good as ever here.

The pace is kept up for the entire album, a kind of Raw Power with quality modern production thatís not over polished and a real gem throughout.

For the trad metal fan, one of the Autumnís essential buys.

****½

Review by Joe Geesin

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly


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JOE GEESIN

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