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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Saxon

Power & The Glory

Review by Greg Olma

I have been a longtime fan of Saxon and followed their rise since 1980. My first record was Wheels Of Steel, and I have never hated one of their releases. Going back to the summer of 1983, I played this record constantly, and they were one of my favorites at the time. Looking back, Saxon seemed to have reached a level with Power & The Glory. Their earlier records were great, but this one seemed to have all the right pieces to make it an instant classic. I know many regard their two previous discs as the “classic” era, but for me Saxon somehow managed to create a record that was a couple of rungs up the heavy metal ladder with this one. Such is the strength of this record that three of the tunes remained in their set lists for years to come. I always recommend this album to anyone who is looking to get into Saxon, as it is a great place to start.


This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Power and the Glory

The record starts off with the title track that immediately goes for the jugular with an unforgettable riff. Two years earlier, the band went with something more pedestrian in “Denim And Leather.” But now they were opening something much more majestic. This metal classic starts off the album in fine form.

Redline
Keeping things mid-paced, this rocker has a lot of swagger. Always having an affinity for all things metal (“Motorcycle Man," “Princess of the Night," “Wheels of Steel," etcetera), this one follows the theme of motorcycles or fast cars. It has a catchy riff, and Biff Byford puts in a great vocal performance.
Warrior
This galloping rocker fits in nicely with the rest of the material with its power metal riffing and drums. I can see how many of the thrash outfits used this type of material as inspiration.
Nightmare
Things slow down a bit for this moody piece. It was the second single off the record (the title track was the first), and I can see why. It has a catchy chorus, great riffs and the lead work is quite good.
This Town Rocks
At first, this song is power metal but when the verses kick in, the band apply the brakes a little and let that Saxon swagger shine through. This is the type of song that works best live, but the studio performance is quite good.
Watching The Sky
When listening to this record, I feel that Saxon were trying really hard to write some hit singles. This track seems to be one that sounds like they were trying too hard instead of just being themselves. They had a much better hit in “Nightmare,” and I feel that this one was just a little too contrived. Toward the end the song slips into a great groove, and I wish they had built the rest of it around that part.
Midas Touch
This is an example of Saxon not trying to write a hit but coming much closer than the previous track. It has a great chorus, the verses have a cool vibe and the soloing is perfect.
The Eagle Has Landed
Hands down, this is my favorite Saxon song. It plods along slowly but has an awesome (and epic) vibe about it. Referencing space travel, the whole song has a very “spacey” tone to it. As the song builds, Byford’s vocals get more heartfelt. To cap things off, the lead guitar work at the end is awesome. In my opinion, this is the perfect Saxon song and ends the record in fine form. In 1983, Saxon was hard to beat, and this track proves it.
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