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Until Refugee, the only Samson albums I heard were Head On and Shock Tactics which featured Bruce Dickinson on vocals. The reason I got those two is that I'm a huge Iron Maiden fan and loved Dickinson's vocals, so I wanted to hear what he was like with his old band. Those two albums were decent but really didn't drive me to seek out Samson albums that were recorded after Dickinson left.
One day I found Refugee for dirt cheap and curiousity got the best of me so I bought it. After I started the disc, my jaw dropped to the floor because I was surprised how good it was. Samson really did record good material after Dickinson left! The album opener, Good To See You is a pounding track. I wasn't too hot on the vocals here, but strangely, a different vocalist sings on the rest of the album. A guy by the name of Gary Own sang on this track. A far better vocalist named Peter Scallan takes over on track two and sings all the songs for the rest of the album. Can't Live Without Your Love is a slower song with a monster guitar solo proving Paul Samson is one of the most underrated guitarists in the business! It's a shame he has passed away. Turn on the Lights, State of Emergency, Too Late, and Look to the Future are all more more upbeat tracks. Love This Time is a doomer track that's reminicent of some Black Sabbath. Don't Tell Me It's Over and Someone to Turn To are balladish but still great. Room 109 is an infections instruMETAL!! Samurai Sunset is also a instrumental but not near as good as Room 109. The album ends perfectly with The Silver Screen.
Unlike some of Samson's earlier recordings, the production is crisp, which is a plus. I tend to be less critical on CD's I pay little for, but would I have been more upset if I payed $15 for Refugee instead of $3? I think not. I would have been just as happy with the purchase.
Refugee is plain and simply great classic heavy metal with no frills. It's a little different sounding from Samson's original NWOBHM classics, but this CD will sure to please fans of classic/traditional metal, such as Judas Priest, Angel Witch, and Iron Maiden.
Having owned previous Samson albums, I didn't expect much out of Refugee. I've never really thought of Samson as metal, and still don't really til this day. I knew that Nicky Moore was horrible and that Bruce Bruce hadn't yet found his voice in Samson, but i didn't know what to think about their singer for this album, I believe his name is Peter Scallan, but I'm not 100% sure. Whatever his name is, he sure fits into this version of Samson. He makes them sound like no other band. This is by no means a heavy metal album and is far removed from NWOBHM, it is more of an AOR type album, but the song writing is excellent.
I wouldn't even think of skipping a song on this entire album, except for maybe Good to See You(That particular track has a different vocalist, who once again doesn't sound quite right).
Room 109, which has a similar version of the same song on the band's 1993 album, must be the most soulful work ever by Paul Samson. He is normally pretty proficient with making enjoyable riffs, but this is probably his finest soloing achievement. The soloing for some reason reminds me of Michael Schenker.
The Silver Screen is a perfect way to end this masterpiece. Its soulful guitar work once again shoots straight for the soul. The only downfall about this album is that it is the only one that features this particular singer. The only way that you might not like this album is if you are afraid to enjoy atmospheric non-metal music.