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Review: Saxon - The Saxon Chronicles
The Saxon Chronicles

Label: SPV
Year released: 2003
Duration: 215 min.

Rating: 4.95/5

Review online: July 20, 2003
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
The Saxon Chronicles

Rated 4.67/5 (93.33%) (12 Votes)

"The Saxon Chronicles" is an excellent example of the sort of DVD a long-running band like Saxon should release: A full concert, an interview, videos, discography, some behind the scenes and tour footage, TV appearances, and more (see the end of the review for the full contents.) And no, that doesn't fit all on one DVD, so they used two. Not many bands have actually done this right, the only one that comes to mind right now is Overkill with their excellent "Wrecking Everything Live" DVD. I wish more bands would take note...

The first DVD contains a 15-songs concert filmed at the 2001 edition of the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany. I heard the number 30,000 mentioned as the attendance, and judging by the crowd shots, that's probably not too far off. When I first saw that the concert had been filmed at W:O:A:, I was afraid I'd end up watching a concert in daylight, but it's not the case (*wipes forehead*). Not only was this filmed at night, but the filming is top notch most of the time, and the band was playing on huge stage with a great set of stage lights - very impressive, and something we definitely don't see that often. As a bonus, they even had their eagle on stage - if you don't know what I'm referring to, don't worry, it'll jump in your face soon enough. :) Biff Byford knows how to entertain his crowd and is very charismatic on stage, and I think they reproduced this very well when they filmed this concert. The musicians are not left behind and know how to make the crowd react - add to this drum and guitar solos, you know, just to make sure the singer doesn't get all the attention. :) The set-list is quite good and doesn't have any "stinker" (in my opinion anyway.) This DVD is worth the price for the concert alone, but that's not all...

Disc 1 also contains a 13 minutes interview with Biff Byford - it seems like a short time but he still manages to cover a lot of the band's history and his personal feelings. I still would have hoped for a longer interview, as I'm sure there's so much more to be said about Saxon's history, but that'll do for now. :) Also included on disc 1 is the complete discography of the band, up to 2001's "Killing Ground".

Disc 2 is quite loaded, first with a "Saxon on Tour" home video (shot by the band), which shows the band travelling across various countries on tour - not bad. This ends with 3 songs filmed at the Esbjerg Festival in Sweden in 1995. That performance is not as professionally filmed as the Wacken concert, but it's pretty good nonetheless. After that you have 8 videoclips of the band, and the video for "Unleash the Beast" includes a making-of. Next is something you risk not seeing anywhere else: Saxon TV appearances from 1980 to 1998. It's pretty interesting to see the band interviewed in its early days, as well as playing at Top of the Pops. Finally, you get some band photos and press clippings that span the band's career, as well as some Internet links.

I cannot recommend this DVD highly enough - it's up there in terms of quality and contents with the Overkill DVD, and there's enough material packed on here that you sure as hell won't feel that you've been robbed. Great DVD for one of metal's legends. Buy or die!

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