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Still Ballsy - 76%

DeathRiderDoom, January 17th, 2010

#33 In My NWOBHM Rarities Review Series

The ‘Power and the Glory’/ ‘Crusader’ period isn’t a popular one from Saxon. After the rough and ready speed metal anthemism of their ‘Wheels of Steel’ – ‘Strong Arm of the Law’ period, Saxon did take somewhat of a change of course; no longer attempting rough and raw bangers, they tried to capitalize on their new found popularity, by injecting a more melodic, commercially tinged sound, crafting some rather saccharin melodic numbers that disappointed a few metalheads at the time. Fact is though, these albums and tracks are still great – they’re just often not as hard as their harder efforts; of course they’re not – how could every song be like ‘Heavy Metal Thunder’? Anyway, though melodic, ‘Power and the Glory’ isn’t their most poppy effort, it does have some softer moments. ‘Nightmare’ is a catchy, hook laden single that I’ve always enjoyed. They produced a video for it, which is available on one of their video hits compilations (recommended), though the clip for this one is a wee bit lame, the song is actually pretty cool, and showcases the knack the guys have for making good commercial pop songs as well as their angry, rebellious anthems. Actually kicks a lot of ass, particularly the b-side; Saxon still have it!

‘Nightmare’ centres very proudly around it’s massive, larger than life chorus hook, that is layers with harmonies by Biff, and gives off an almost Def Leppardesque vibe. The pace is slow in riffage is very simple, but Quinn and Oliver were always known for effective, well worked out but often simple riffs, which were admittedly coupled with often awesome leads and solos. Saxon hasn’t abandoned their quest for anthemism in this one, and though it has a commercial, soft sound (particularly the production) it’s still catchy, and energetic. I’ve always liked this track. ‘Midas Touch’ is also a cool track, perhaps a little tougher this time round. From the crack of the first cycle of the dirty opening riff, you know you’re in for classic Saxon. This chorus riff kicks ass and has an awesome guitar tone, while the slower pace of the verses is centred around soft, yet dominating Biff vocals, overtop very minimalist, soft and melancholic guitars. Lyrics are quite cool and very epic. Medieval sorta stuff with references to kings and Armageddon and such. The solo section in this one is beautiful and screams classic Saxon. The switch over is cool too. One of the better solos present on the full-length this was included. The drumming performance here is cool too, lots of heavy pounding and talented fills – particularly toward the end.

-DeathRiderDoom