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  STEVE GOLDBY'S HEAVY METAL CHRONICLES
SAXON: CALL TO ARMS

14th June 2011

steve goldby


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saxon call to arms

Saxon's latest album is a mighty slab of British Metal that is right up there with the best Saxon albums of all time.

Every track is a winner here and forged in the power of the steel-coated riff, in all its Metallic, shake-your-body, fist-pumping, air-guitar glory.

This is the platinum-plated quality of honest, honed, aggressively-crafted pure Heavy Metal music.

This is Saxon's 19th studio album and their best of the Millennium so far and they pack an armoury of steel-coated riffs and songwriting swagger. It was recorded at Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire and Brighton Electric Studios in Brighton and was co-produced by singer/songwriter Biff Byford and Toby Jepson (Fastway/Dio Disciples).

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Featuring Biff on lead vocals, Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt on guitars, Nibs Carter on bass and Nigel Glockler on drums, Call To Arms is bang on-the-money brilliant Saxon music, a confident embrace of the aura and writing values from their early years married perfectly to a modern Saxon crunch.

"This is probably the best album we've written and recorded in the last 20 years," states Biff Byford unapologetically, "I know a lot of bands say that, but 'Call To Arms' really does feel like that to me. It's the perfect embrace of our past with a great modern edge."

"We've done our darker albums, our full-on Metal albums, we've been to those spaces and experimented with them and people came on the journey with us," says Biff, "and with Call To Arms you have the culmination of those ten years and the twenty years before it. I love this album. I love the songs. I love the sounds. It's right on the money."

SAXON

Track by track account

Hammer Of The Gods

A blistering start to the album. A familiar Metal theme with the Vikings again used as subject matter and it worls so very well here. 'Hammer...' is chunky, meaty and almost anthemic and with a great, great guitar solo in there as well.

Back In '79

Big shades of 'Denim And Leather' here and that is no bad thing at all.

"Show me your hands. The music will never die!" Not with Saxon producing tracks like this it won't...

Surviving Against The Odds

The album's anthem and one that will remain up there with the classic Saxon songs. Echoes of 'Power And The Glory' here, continuing the theme of fusing Saxon's history with the modern day. Great chorus, great song.

Mists Of Avalon

A dreamy beginning lulls you into a false sense of security and then thrusts you into a land of swords of power, forged in steel. This is the 'Excalibur' track of the album and you can't help but be carried away by the imagery it conjurs up.

Call To Arms

The epic title track completely captures the mood of a soldier called up to war. A moving tribute to the armed forces. Emotive.

Chasing The Bullet

As Biff explains in the video below, 'Chasing The Bullet' was an expression the band came up with for trying to beat a deadline. This one is a stomper, doesn't let up to the end and will have you reaching for those air guitars as soon as it kicks in.

Afterburner

This is the most powerful track on the album and moves the frenetic pace of the previous track up another notch. Fast as hell and totally in your face. Yes.

When Doomsday Comes (Hybrid Theory)

What will we do when doomsday comes? We may all become perfect strangers actually and this sci-fi Metal epic transports you into a netherworld of post Apocalyptic waste. Scary stuff.

No Rest For The Wicked

The hybrid theme is used again, as is the sci-fi imagery. The aliens are the wicked and they are given a hard time when they try to invade our planet. Rock on!

Ballad Of The Working Man

A doff of the cap to Saxon's working class roots and the respect they have for the working man. Very, very English, very, very great. A dedication to the real people.

Call To Arms orchestral version

The orchestral version of the title track brings the emotion in the album version into even starker contrast and it works brilliantly well.

CALL TO ARMS

A telegram came today
It's taking me far away
Away from the ones I love
I put my faith in God above

We march toward the sound of distant guns
White fire lighting up the sky
We came to fight and die in fields of blood
We'll follow the call to arms

I will write you every day
Hope our love won't fade away
You give me strength to carry on
Until the final day is done

This hell, this hell is where we live and die
We fall, comrades by our side
We pray to make it through another day
To follow the call to arms

If I die, please don't forget me
If I live, I want to live free
We pray to God, these days will end
And bring us back safe to your arms

I've saved all your letters
I keep them pressed close to my heart
And they won't stop a bullet
They just keep me closer to you than apart

We live; we gotta live free
We die; remember me
We pray to make it through another day
To follow the call to arms

Telegram came today
It's taking me far away
Away from the ones I love
I put my faith in God above



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