Saxon – a stalwart of British Heavy Metal for almost four decades with anthems under their belt like “Denim and Leather” and “Wheels of Steel” and a catalogue of material spanning, with this album twenty studio albums. One word that could be used to describe Saxon is relentless, and this sentiment is certainly reflected in their latest offering. From the off this album grips you firmly and drags you through songs that ring of a classic Saxon sound while still sounding new and fresh. Biff’s vocals are excellent, sounding almost as fresh and powerful as they did when they first started out. Guitars, bass and drums march in bone crunching synchronicity together, delivering an equal measure of headbanging riffs and catchy chorus’s, many of them reminiscent of the early days of Saxon.
There seems to be an ingrained sense that this album, while maintaining a thoroughly modern sound, harkens back to the early days of their career. There are great, catchy choruses that you can imagine crowds singing along to as easily as, “Wheels of Steel”, songs like, “Made in Belfast” and, “Stand up and Fight”, evoking halcyon days of British Heavy Metal.
Then you have the title track, “Sacrifice” and, “Guardians of the Tomb”, both easily my favourite tracks on this album. These show the other side of Saxon; heavy, uncompromising and brimming with aggression. I have to add, while I think the band sound great all round on this album, a special mention has to be made for the sound achieved on the guitars. They are full of aggression and power and fill every song with a sense of menace and purpose.
I’ve been a fan of Saxon for a long time and I have to say the standard of their recent albums has been quite high, but with, “Sacrifice” in 2013, it seems like Saxon have really stepped up to another level entirely. I believe this is an album that deserves respect, not as a fine Saxon album, but as an album that could stand proud alongside any Metal album released this year.