Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

October 1, 2012

Saxon ~ Into The Labryinth

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Style: heavy metal
Label: SPV
Year: 2009
Home: England

Members: Biff Byford ~ vocals
Nibbs Carter ~ bass
Nigel Glockler ~ drums
Paul Quinn ~ lead guitar
Doug Scarratt ~ rhythm guitar
Matthias Ulmer ~ keyboards

Additional: Hacky Hackmann, Toby Jepson ~ b. vocals

Saxon have been touring so much for the past few years one might think they are one of the biggest metal bands in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene. They're really not, they just have good PR, or maybe they are ... if you live in Europe as they never quite made it successfully in America, so for Americans they get lost in the shuffle. They were there in the beginning with Iron Maiden & Def Leppard but success was short-lived due to some weak albums, bumpy with some of their strongest albums coming in the days of grunge when nobody was listening, & lack of American success didn't help. But, they never split or stopped making albums like most of their metal peers, even after a split caused some members to form a second Saxon, now known as the Oliver/Dawson Saxon. For all that they deserve a second listen. After a dirth of bad albums trying to be a hair metal band, they've basically rediscoverd themselves finding what works musically perfectly for them. This is one of their rediscovery albums, which spawned massive touring which has boosted their career to long overdue highs. All these new post-rediscovering albums are solid heavy metal releases, not inventive but they don't disappoint. A little bit of straight heavy metal, a little bit of blues-rock, some classic 70's metal, not too fast, not too ballady, good music for a middle aged man to sing & a twenty year old to rock out to with equal abandon. A little gutsier than Bon Jovi, more akin to Doro. Though, what's fascinating is how many of the songs, maybe its just for this release or maybe all of them, sound like a dressed up & more power metal version AC/DC (i.e. "Live To Rock", "Slow Lane Blues", "Crime Of Passion", "Protect Yourself", "Come Rock Of Ages"). Vocalist Bilford does an uncanny Brian Johnson imitation at times, which, ironic or not are some of the highlights & strongest songs. But, what makes this is a good release is that there's also some epic power metal (for example, "Valley Of The Kings", "Battalions Of Steel") & even the Coverdale-esque "Coming Home". There's a live track ("Play It Loud") at the end & a bluesy acoustic guitar & tambourine version of "Coming Home" to end it all. Interesting but not necessary, though certainly I wonder what an all acoustic EP would sound like?!

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