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The Closest Thing to Saxon Besides the Two Saxons - 77%

DeathRiderDoom, November 28th, 2009

Seventh Son - Best Of

Since it's an absolutely gorgeous day here in Wellington - sun beaming down and all that - I done the natural thing, and threw some NWOBHM on the stereo, turned the speakers outside, mixed myself up a couple screwdrivers, headed to the balcony and rocked out. If you haven't heard this from me already; NWOBHM + Sun, + alcohol = a fucking great combination, and since Seventh Son's compilation has been sitting on my "To Review" list for a while, I figured no better time than sitting in the 24 degree sunshine, cocktail at my side, to review the thing, finally - something vaguely productive to do on an otherwise entirely hedonistic day. Although a recent acquisition for me - this album is impressive, and warrants some attention.

What stands out on this one are brilliantly written, fun tracks, decent recording quality (read: good job with the remastering because it sounds better than half the NWOBHM records out there), and just generally nice, rockin' out vibes. Classic NWOBHM, I guess you could say. We have a real 'rockin' out' good timey feel throughout most of the album, with comparisons to bands like Tysondog, Iron Maiden (Di' Anno era), Savage, and Sledgehammer. The first three or four tracks are good fun rockers, yet displaying technical prowess in overall song structures, brilliant guitar solos and tough-as-Savage riffs crunching through the pieces. Actually, on ‘Highway N° 5’the band sounds remarkably like Saxon; the riffs, the Biff-esque vocal delivery, the vocal phrasing, and the general lyrical themes. It reminds me of 'Play it Loud' by Saxon. Great vibes right through the music, that go great with partying and rockin' a few drinks in the summer sun. If nodding your head along to some classic NWOBHM, drinking a cocktail in the sun next to a bikini clad teenage girl isn't your cup of tea - you're fucked in the head.

Like Saxon, the band has an anthemic feel throughput much of their music - the tough riff/simplistic anthem lyrics combo is certainly part of Saxon's award winning formula. Here they have just about the same prowess on building classic anthems, and on the guitar lead front too. Basically - if you enjoy classic Saxon (and let's face it - who doesn't?) Then this album has much of the same sound. 'Sound and Fury' sounds like something that could appear on 'Power and the Glory' or the Saxon debut. What else comes through is the skill in songwriting that comes out - song after song. I mean don't get me wrong - they don't deviate too far from their simplistic, rockin' out formula - but the subtle differences between tracks are enough, and there's some neat things being done with emotion of delivery and guitars in tracks like 'Worlds Collide'. The albums first ballad 'Beneath the Stars' isn't exactly the best NWOBHM ballad made, but it's utterly passable in a setting like this. Guitar effects, and the albums signature well mixed, prominent drums help it along. at times, there's an almost semi-early 80's first/second wave British punk thing going on (well - there would be if this band wasn't so proficient at instruments). The rough vocals, simplicity and subject matter of 'Man on the Street' are somewhat of a testament to this.

Given the band comparisons made earlier - this one should pretty much already be in your collection if you've read this far. If you're a NWOBHM die-hard like myself, you'll enjoy this record. Pretty much sounds like Saxon/Tysondog, and is of a decent caliber. The band is a better-than-average songwriting outfit, and this record has all their material in one convenient little package - and is readily available too. Looking for that next great NWOBHM album? - You found it. Grab a cold beer and whack this one on the stereo. Good vocals with a Biff Byfordish quality contribute a lot, (See the track 'Harder You Rock') and the album is generally pretty solid right through – with the latter half not really faltering, as can be common with other NWOBHM re-release/best-ofs. Certainly advisable stuff here, and with a high standard of recording vs. a good portion of NWOBHM outings. Get it.

-DeathRiderDoom