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A triumph! - 90%

High_On_Maiden, April 6th, 2005

What an excellent return to form by this long-lived band.

On this album the band have gone for a really head-on assault, and this is probably some of the heaviest stuff they have recorded. The riffs and drumming (courtesy of Stratovarius drummer Jorg Michael) are a real bludgeoning force, but delivered within the classic realms of melody and varoety that classifies Saxon's whole career.

While earlier classics focus more on sing-along vocal elements - and very successfully - on this album the band have really introduced the guitars as a primary element, more so than in their earlier career. There are some top class riffs here, and a nice variety in styles as well.

You have the blistering headbangers like To Live By The Sword and Man and Machine, and then also more musing anthem tracks like the excellent title track and then Beyond the Grave for something more ballad-esque.

The point is, there is a lot of variety on this album, but without sacrificing the amount of metallica pummelling the listener receives! The band come at you from various different angles, the catchy vocals still binding all the songs together, and there is not really a bad song on here. Perhaps towards the end the utmost quality begins to fade, but there are worthwile moments to be had on this album right to the end.

The lyrics deal quite heavily with patriotic issues and English history, which is a really nice touch for me, and something that Saxon have set themselves up to stand for.

How people can claim to be dissapointed with this album puzzles me - it is quite possibly the most intense and consistently solid release I've heard from them, and there are plenty of riffs, plenty of solos and plenty of cathy tunes to stick in the memory, whatever your specific tastes.

Definitely worth chasing, this is an extremely enjoyable album!