(8/10) Art demands freedom and freedom screams for independence. That's when art, and also music, gets best. Everything that's forced, for whatever reason, ends up in compromisses that limits the creativity and the result.
Why do I start with such a philosophical thesis? I think, that some bands enjoys this freedom in their beginning phase when passion rules the game. This enthusiams leads to outstanding results. Then the pressure raises and also party the fear of failure becomes bigger before a 'now more than ever' attitude brings back freedom.
I can't really say if Saxon went though those phases too. However, if I look on the excellent records from the early days and the more experimental longplayers in the eighties, the guys from England are back since a few years with full force.
"Battering Ram" is the newest release that proves again that power and metal isn't a matter of age.
In my opinion the album title couldn't have been chosen better. The new studio record is a 'battering ram' that tears down everything that stands in it's way. The same goes for tracks like "Destroyer", "Hard and Fast" and "Stand Your Ground" - the titles say it all. Saxon are doing what they can do best. Fast and hard metal tunes that carries you away by the power spread; that's what you get with "Battering Ram".
Tracks you should have listened to on this new record are the heavy pounder "Battering Ram", the more epical "The Devil's Footprint" with some spoken words in the beginning and the straight-forward "Hard and Fast".
Talking about epical; a song you shouldn't miss either is "Kingdom of the Cross" that is with six minutes the longest one on the longplayer. Again Saxon uses spoken words in the start of the tune. It is a silent number from beginning till end and it feels like musical storytelling. It's an excellent piece of music that shows the width of Saxon's sound.
Good that a four minutes smasher is next. "Three Sheets to the Wind" is also the last song on the album and we are talking about a tune without frills. It's a pure rock'n'roller that gets the pleasure of rounding off another very well done Saxon longplayer.
"Sacrifice" was already a great Saxon album, but the denisity of highlights and the excellent sound on "Battering Ram", done by Andy Sneap, lifts "Battering Ram" to a next level. It's great headbanging stuff and a 'Must' for each serious metal collection. I'm looking already forward to see those songs performed live later this year. Thumbs up.
- Battering Ram
- The Devil's Footprint
- Queen of Hearts
- Hard and Fast
- Eye of the Storm
- Stand Your Ground
- Top of the World
- To the End
- Kingsom of the Cross
- Three Sheets to the Wind (The Drinking Song)
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date EU: October 16th, 2015