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Review: Saxon - Call to Arms
Call to Arms

Label: UDR
Year released: 2011
Duration: 43:37
Tracks: 11
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: October 23, 2011
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Call to Arms

Rated 4.19/5 (83.85%) (26 Votes)

Saxon, one of the longest lived and most influential bands to come out of the NWOBHM, is back with their latest album Call to Arms. The production is thoroughly modern; sharp and clean with plenty of room for all the instruments to be heard. Lest that scare off long time fans, rest assured the echoes of past glories can be heard throughout Call to Arms. The speedy, staccato riffing of "Hammer of the Gods" will have you thinking of classics like "Wheels of Steel" and "Motorcycle Man." "Back in 79," with its slow, burning feel and chorus of fans shouting "show me your hands!" could easily have come from Power and the Glory. Biff's voice sounds great, all the more impressive when you consider he's been at this for 35 years. The rest of the band, including many original and/or long time members, sounds equally up to the task. The subject matter is divided between typical NWOBHM topics ("Afterburner," "No Rest for the Wicked") and more introspective numbers ("Call to Arms," "When Doomsday Comes.")

Other than the string of crummy, commercial albums Saxon recorded for Capitol Records back in the late 80s, the band has been remarkably consistent over the years. Call to Arms continues that trend. It doesn't contain anything the band hasn't explored a dozen times before but it is obvious everyone involved put 100% into their performances and, as a result, everything sounds fresh.

Amidst all the new bands out there playing in the style of the NWOBHM, it is great to hear Saxon, the genuine article, showing the newbies how it is done.

Note: the digipak version of Call to Arms contains a bonus disc featuring seven tracks recorded live in 1980 during Saxon's performance at Donington. For long time fans, this disc is icing on the cake. For newer fans, however, it is essential to check this out so you can hear how good Saxon already was 30+ years before Call to Arms.

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