Album Remarks & Appraisals:
2009 digitally remastered and expanded edition of the British Metal band's self-titled 1979 debut, widely regarded as the first LP to be released by a New Wave Of British Heavy Metal band. The original album is now supplemented by pre-album demos, recorded when they were still called Son Of A Bitch, their first BBC session, recorded in 1980 for Tommy Vance's Radio 1 Friday Rock Show, plus live tracks from the inaugural Donington Monsters Of Rock show, 1980. It also features rare and previously unseen photos courtesy of the band's personal archives as well as extensive liner notes by Classic Rock and Metal Hammer journalist Jerry Ewing, written in co-operation with lead singer Biff Byford. 22 tracks. EMI.
Liner Note Author: Jerry Ewing.
Photographer: Mike Ford.
Saxon's humble debut album was the quiet before the storm: a dress rehearsal, if you will, for the unqualified triumphs that lay just over the horizon for both the band and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in general. Saxon were simultaneously inexperienced (when it came to the recording studio) and long in the tooth (older than most NWOBHM peers, they'd been performing in clubs for nearly a decade), and here they came to grips, not only with their material, but also with the fact that their independent record company, Carrere, didn't really know how to capture a heavy metal sound on tape. As a result, this eponymous LP only hints at Saxon's true personality, power, and songwriting potential, with early live favorites like "Judgement Day," "Militia Guard," and "Stallions of the Highway" (the first of many biker anthems) subdued by a punchless production. Other tracks suggested some lingering doubts as to musical direction, either on the band's or producers' part, because the opening "Rainbow Theme"/"Frozen Rainbow" tandem showed distinctive progressive rock traits, while "Big Teaser" and "Still Fit to Boogie" appeared to owe their lighter glam rock nuances to T. Rex. Nevertheless, the LP helped to put Saxon on the map, and their workaholic ways would quickly pay big dividends, once they learned to harness their powerful on-stage sound during their next visit to the studio while recording 1980's seminal sophomore album, Wheels of Steel. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia