Nima : Saxon is doing quite well. The British legend has been very in the last years and keeps delivering quality. Only one and a half year after the release of 'Call To Arms' the successor is already in my player. And not to forget that in the meantime they also released the 'Heavy Metal Thunder - Live - Eagles Over Wacken' live DVD/CD and the 'Heavy Metal Thunder - The Movie' DVD.
According to chief Biff Byford, the motto of the band's twentieth studio album is "less tricks, more power”, and that is exactly what has become of 'Sacrifice': pure, honest heavy metal rock n' roll, in the way only Saxon can. Was the focus on 'Call To Arms' more on the hard rockers, on 'Sacrifice' the accent lies more on the metal side of Saxon and the gentlemen have again chosen for a sturdier and faster approach. After the intro, 'Procession', the album immediately blasts with the speedy title track. From the very first second the bans is immediately recognizable and the party start. With 'Made In Belfast' we get a delicious mid-tempo rocker with Irish folk influences, to then again accelerate with 'Warriors Of The Road'. On 'Guardians Of The Tomb' the epic side of the band comes forward again, supported by a solid, catchy riff. This track wouldn't have been misplaced on a record like 'Lionheart'. The pace is again kicked up on 'Stand Up And Fight', and from there we go back to the eighties' atmosphere with 'Walking The Steel'. The latter also applies to the final track 'Standing In A Queue'. In 'Night Of The Wolf' (one of my favourite songs of the album) beautiful versatile song with a nice acoustic middle part, melodic dreamy verses and a solid up-tempo chorus, followed by the rocker 'Wheels Of Terror'. Both songs would have fitted well on an album like 'Killing Ground'.
All in all, 'Sacrifice' is another true Saxon album, containing everything you can and should expect from this band. Also, the album has turned out deliciously varied and each number contains enough variety to not get bored for a seconds, and rocks from start to finish. The band has again opted for a different producer (besides Biff himself of course), and the choice has fallen on Andy Sneap. And so the album sounds a slightly different and fresh, but still as "typical” Saxon. Altogether a very strong album with which Biff and his men not only defend their status but also establish it further. I must say that with its playing time of 39 minutes the album is a bit on the short side, and passes by quickly But we certainly don't find any weak songs here, and this is also proof that time flies when you're having fun, right?
The limited edition, which will be released in digibook format, includes a bonus disc containing an orchestral version of 'Crusader', acoustic versions of 'Requiem (We Will Remember)' and 'Frozen Rainbow', and re-recorded versions of 'Forever Free' and 'Just Let Me Rock'. That wasn't really necessary if you ask me, because the original versions remain unmatched, but they are certainly nice for the collection. Saxon fans at least know what they have to do: run to the store on 22 February, and buy this thing!