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Saxon > Wheels of Steel > Reviews > DeathRiderDoom
Saxon - Wheels of Steel

Automobile-themed NWOBHM - 74%

DeathRiderDoom, May 22nd, 2009

Saxon – Wheels of Steel

‘Wheels of Steel’ is a long-time classic single from Saxon that’s the title track of their most (along with Denim & Leather) successful album. This little single contains two strong numbers; both Saxon classics are thoroughly enjoyable in that fun Saxon kinda way. The title track is a slower, anthemic number that rumbles along, while ‘Motorcycle Man’ is suitably more of a ‘high-octane’ (ha!) number, with a bit more pace.

It was around the time of the release of this single that Saxon really started to take off, becoming one of the bands at the forefront of the NWOBHM movement, with a driving sounded still-rooted in 70’s hard rock and fun party anthems. ’Wheels of Steel’ is typical of this sound, with a slower, chantier feel to it throughout, and a focus on the very much ‘rock’ theme of highway cruisin’ fast lifestyles and automobiles. The lyrics in this one are rebellious and free-spirited, with the chorus vocal being incredibly simplistic, yet catchy-as-all “she’s got whe-els, wheels of steel” – which you’re sure to be chanting along to even the first time you hear it. This cut is particularly simplistic in terms of guitars and drums, with no real skill being evident, except for in the guitar solo – Saxon’s guitar leads are something I’ve always enjoyed. The slow thundering-ness of the riffs has a majestic, crashy effect though which is enjoyable as hell.

‘Motorcycle Man’ carries on the automobile-themed aesthetics of the release – yet in a pacier, more aggressive vein. This one’s also a fan favourite with a frequent slot in their live set. Your motorcycle roaring past samples at the start are a nice touch, particularly through headphones. This one has the rebellious attitude present on the A-side with some effective touches – “I don’t need no bull-shit!” – The chorus is again simplistic however. There’s a shit-load of reverb on the vocals here too – throughout the whole piece. The riffs in this one are simple, but are really brought to life by Biffs loud, energetic vocals, and some thunderous drums.

All-round this is a strong single in my opinion – Saxon crafting out their ‘classic’ sound by the point of this release, and churning out some great numbers. Pretty interesting that the whole thing is ‘automobile-focused’ and I’m sure Saxon had a considerable ‘petrolhead’ fan-base. This one is a classic release with the sound being rooted in hard rock, with very little real ‘metal’ so to speak, being present. This one would also serve as a pretty good introduction to the band - classic Saxon!