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Saxon – Lionheart

Label: SPV Records
Format: CD
Released: 2004
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

NWOBHM legends Saxon continue to carry the flag for true Heavy Metal the way we all remember it was during its heyday in the 80’s.  The denim and leather boys have always maintained a consistency releasing record after record of blue collar British metal. 

 

“Lionheart” sees no change at this point in their lengthy career and why should there be as long as they can still write good songs without sounding redundant or stale. 

Their sound has evolved a bit, not as old school as when they began in the early 80’s and a bit heavier, something that started around the time of the album “Unleash the Beast”.   Take for instance the title track which combines both their old and new sound to make for a solid arrangement finding a place for great melodies in the chorus and hard riffing.  Or even the updated guitars in “Justice”.

The one change that I must take notice of is their new drummer Jorg Michael, and how rare is it that a reviewer will focus on the drummer?   I have decided to call him the lucky “rabbits foot” at this point because if you look at his lengthy career, every album he appears on kicks ass and rocks really hard.  He deserves to recognized and has for some time.  Just to give you an idea he has been playing with Stratovarius since they cemented their sound on the album “Episode”, he gave Grave Digger a crushing rumble to the “The Reaper”, and anchored Running Wild’s pirate ship for their three strongest releases “Black Hand Inn”, Masquerade”, and “The Rivalry”.  Now he brings his talent to Saxon adding some more life to this aging metal machine. 

Check out one of my favorite tracks “Beyond the Grave”, which as expected Saxon balances between its melodies and crunch.  “English Man o War” is such a classic Saxon arrangement and riff, probably the most traditional song on the album, very “Wheels of Steel”.

“Lionheart” is Saxon still going strong with the heart of a lion.

 "Lionheart", originally released in September 2004, was reissued in a limited-edition box that includes a digipack (CD and bonus audio DVD) and exclusive lanyard/keyholder. The brand-new audio DVD features previously unreleased material, videos, rough mixes and a new 5.1 / 96 K mix of the whole album.

 
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