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Mature and strong album. - 83%

evermetal, October 14th, 2009

British metallers Saxon’s fourth album finds them in a great form. New Wave Of British Heavy Metal is at full bloom but unfortunately it will not last much longer. However these metal underdogs managed to preserve their myth. They have a strong line-up and their vocalist Biff Byford is one of the best in the metal scene. By the time they released Denim and leather they had made a good reputation. The nine songs of this album proved that they were not just a shooting star but they had come to stay.

Some of the songs of this album became all-time classics adored by most metal fans. Princess of the Night is one of them. The title may fool you. Don’t look for a girl because the lyrics speak of an old locomotive, its journeys and adventures. It is one of the fastest songs Saxon ever wrote. It has an addictive galloping pace and unmatchable solos. Probably my favorite song by Saxon, it creates dreams about endless walks on the rails of fantasy that awakens with every note of this hymn.

Saxon didn’t forget to dedicate a song to their loyal fans, those who kept the faith alive. This is the song that bears the title of the album, Denim and Leather. It is a steady mid-tempo piece but its true magic is revealed through the lyrics. The lyrics that, nowadays, remind us of some years ago when metal wasn’t found in every corner. “It was you that set the spirit free” sings Byford making us proud of our beliefs and ideals.

And the Bands Played On… as shivers run up and down your spine, your senses are stimulated and tears glow through the eyes of us all, especially those who didn’t meet heavy metal when Hammerfall appeared in the scene. Riff and chorus march together to create a genuine epic, with an intense war feeling to defend our heavy metal land. Saxon wrote a masterpiece that no pen can describe. Only your ears can help you realize the size of this song. By the way, Hammerfall was used only as an example. I have nothing against them. In fact I like them a lot.

Never Surrender and Out of Control are songs that seem too typical but they are not. They don’t lack in melodic harshness and their brilliant solos blind those who keep their eyes shut to the glorious light of metal. Rough n’ Ready and Play it Loud have sharp, razor-edge guitars and nice breaks. They are simple hard rock played with metal tensions. It is suggested that you listen to them at maximum volume!

Midnight Rider is another hard rock track with metal extensions, aiming to wound some sensitive ears. It is melodic and easy to listen to, yet it doesn’t ignore its metal roots. It will excite you if you let yourself so. Fire in the Sky is quite a fast one, an ideal mix of power and melody. It’s a successful balancing between heavy riff and beautiful chorus. Of course it features wonderful guitar parts and Byford’s characteristic vocals. Certainly one more classic by Saxon.

With Denim and Leather Saxon contributed a great deal in the building of heavy metal’s armor. It is not the perfect album; it may not even be their best. Still it’s very good and metalheads all over should possess it.