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Album Reviews : Saxon – Into The Labyrinth

By on February 12, 2009

It’s hard to comprehend that a band such as Saxon is still going strong in this day an age.

Where many would fall from the face of the planet even trying to follow in their success, they have endlessly pushed new barriers in the rock world and have reinvented themselves many times over in moments of their great success.

This success has brushed upon their latest album, ‘Into the Laybrinth‘ which is the bands 18th studio album, and follows the world wide success of their last album ‘The Inner Sanctum‘.

The new album embraces that traditional solid rock sound which is so formidable on many of Saxon‘s releases, yet infuses a modern day twist with a breath of fresh air in the guitar department, as well as greatly orchestrated production values.

Making it one of the more well sounding and heavier Saxon releases I’ve heard in quite sometime.

I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest Saxon fan, nor do I owe many of their albums, but I could easily put this album on enjoy it for what its worth. Tracks like “Demon Sweeney Todd”, “Crime of Passion” and the opener, “Battalions of Steel” all offer some kick ass riffs and a fresh new look at the band in the 21st century.

The album has revitalized their style as we see them playing on many different levels; In a heavier fashion so to speak,  rather then just constantly playing the same boring materiel over and over again without trying something new…as many well known rock bands have done so in recent times.

There is a shortage of slow, or ballady numbers however as 90% of the album is hard and fast. The only track which seems to stick out like a sore thumb is “The Letter”, a nice quick acoustic number which could have easily gone without on the album, but regardless suites its position quite well.

The production of the album is astounding. It’s not surprising though as the album was recorded at The Twilight Hall (Blind Guardian’s studio) in Krefeld, Germany by none other then Charlie Bauerfeind who has worked along side many power metal acts including, Blind Guardian, Helloween, Angra and Gamma Ray. His unique blend of production and power metal influences have really set the tone for Saxon‘s new style, and sets the new album apart from the bands previous releases.

The album is very vibrant and showcases many influences from the hard rock world, including bands such as Black Label Society, AC/DC and most notably, The Scorpions, whom are all clearly heard as major influences and fit so well in the scheme of the album.

I was quite surprised however at the final track, “Coming Home“. A twist on the bands earlier electric version of the same song from the album ‘Killing Ground‘. The track, as a bonus, offers a bluesy rendition from the original version, and is quite a catchy number.

I did enjoy the album, but wasn’t overly impressed with the final result as a whole, as some parts of the album seemed a little dry and mediocre in its delivery. Still, with a few more spins I think I can learn to appreciate this album alittle more in the future.

It did satisfy my hard rock urges however, as it offers great production and some pretty solid tracks throughout. If you’re a die hard Saxon fan you’ll most likely pick this up no questions asked.

If you’re new to Saxon and are alittle skeptical, I’d most definitely say to pick this album up regardless, as it offers some decent tracks for any hard rock fan. It’s a good starting point for people who want to discover, or rediscover this long running and influential band . 7.5/10

For fans of: AC/DC, Black Label Society, Scorpions, Rose Tattoo, NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal)

Band: Saxon
Album: Into The Labyrinth
Year: 2009
Genre: NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal)
Label: SPV/Steamhammer
Origin: Barnsley, Yorkshire, England
www.saxon747.com

Tracklisting:

1. Battalions of Steel <- Reviewers Choice
2. Live to Rock
3. Demon Sweeney Todd
4. The Letter
5. Valley of the Kings
6. Slow Lane Blues
7. Crime of Passion
8. Premonition in D Minor
9. Voice
10. Protect Yourselves
11. Hellcat
12. Come Rock of Ages (The Circle is Complete)
13. Coming Home” (Bottleneck Version)

About

Anwar is the editor-in-chief of Metal Obsession.net. When Anwar isn't busy promoting tours, interviewing bands and reviewing awesome music, he loves to collect metal vinyl and play video games. Follow Metal Obsession on Twitter and Facebook