HEAVY METAL THUNDER contains 13 Saxon classics Re-recorded.
Disc 2 is and Enhanced CD, which contains both regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.
Saxon: Biff Byford (vocals); Paul Quinn, Doug Scarrett (guitar); Nibbs Carter (bass); Fritz Randow (drums).
Personnel: Biff Byford (vocals); Doug Scarrett, Paul Quinn (guitar); Fritz Randow, Nigel Glocker (drums).
Audio Mixers: Herman Frank; Rainer Hansel.
Liner Note Author: Matthias Mineur.
Recording information: Bloodstock (08/10/2014).
In 2002, Saxon celebrated their 25th anniversary. Creatively, the British headbangers have had their ups and downs over the years -- Saxon's albums have ranged from superb to lackluster -- and they have certainly had more than their share of lineup changes. But the band has proved to be admirably durable; many of the other bands that came out of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the late '70s were long gone by the '90s (let alone the 21st century). Heavy Metal Thunder is a 25th anniversary celebration from Saxon's 2001/2002 lineup, which consists of two original members (singer Biff Byford and guitarist Paul Quinn) and more recent additions Doug Scarratt (guitar), Nibbs Carter (bass), and Fritz Randow (drums). Upon seeing the list of songs, some might assume that this two-CD set is a best-of or a traditional anthology. But it is neither of those things. The material on Heavy Metal Thunder actually falls into two main categories; disc one is devoted to studio re-recordings of early classics like "Motorcycle Man" and "Strong Arm of the Law," while disc two's primary focus is a 2002 show in San Antonio, TX. And surprisingly, the studio tracks paint a more attractive picture of Saxon; although the San Antonio performances are enjoyable, the sound quality isn't as sharp or as clean as it should have been. Disc two sounds like the sort of bootleg that you get from a second-rate soundboard -- in other words, a soundboard that gives the bootlegger a recording that is good but not great. Heavy Metal Thunder is not recommended to those who have only a casual interest in Saxon; novices would be better off starting out with a more traditional best-of collection. Nonetheless, Saxon's more devoted fans will enjoy this double CD despite its imperfections. ~ Alex Henderson
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