Saxon - Call to Arms Album Review
Saxon release their 19th studio album on the 6th June. It’s entitled Call to Arms and front man Biff Byford says “it’s right on the money.” A bold statement, is he right? My eager hands put the CD into the machine and I pressed play, could this album live up to the promise?
Four of the tracks have already had some exposure via the recent tour and clips that have made their way onto YouTube. The opening track Hammer of the Gods has also been available via saxon747 site for fans to listen to. This is a great opener both to the album and the recent shows I attended. The second track that was aired in the live setting was Back in 79. Due to the fans sing along on this song comparisons to Denim and Leather are inevitable and this song lives up that comparison. I sense that this might be a live set regular for a while. There are two versions of the title track and to be honest I prefer the bonus orchestral version of Call to Arms which has a fuller sound. The lyrics paint a vivid picture and at the end of the song when Biff says “the telegram came today” I thought I’d received it myself. The final track that was aired on the tour was When Doomsday Come, which features Don Airy on the CD, this and No Rest for the Wicked feature in the forthcoming film Hybrid Theory. Both of these tracks along with Afterburner are at the heavier end of this CD.
On the opposite side of scale is the more melodic track Mists of Avalon which weaves a great tale of Arthurian myth and legend to the listener.
Surviving Against the Odds could so easily be a signature tune for the band as they now enjoy this renaissance of their fortunes. This song screams defiance to everyone around them. Chasing the Bullet is my favorite track on the CD a really great riff runs through the song and I really hope this makes it onto the live set; air guitars ready for the solo, just a great no nonsense rock song. The same could also be said for Ballad of the Working Man, this is no ballad, it’s simply another catchy heavy rock song.
Throughout the CD Biffs vocals are on top form and this is surrounded by great guitar work provided by Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt with every song driven on by the rhythm section of Nibbs Carter and Nigel Glocker.
So I agree with Mr. Byford this album is right on the money, and for me it is one the most consistent albums Saxon have released in recent years. It has a great mix of tunes so Answer the Call to Arms, get yourself a copy of this fine CD and get saving your money for a ticket to the live shows.