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Vinyl Record Review, Heavy Metal, Saxon, Into the LabyrinthPublished 2015-03-20
Vinyl Record Review: Heavy Metal, Saxon “Into the Labyrinth” double Gatefold Album Set, Heavy Vinyl Pressing 2009 Steamhammer Reocrds, LC09002 German Import. Warner/Chappell Music.
Engineered and produced by Charlie Bauerfeind, Exec. Producer (as usual) Biff Byford, Recorded at Twilight Hall in Krefeld, Germany. Studio Assistance Daniel Klecker.
All Lyriks by Biff Byford. Music by Biff Byford (Vocals) , Doug Scarratt (Guitar), Paul Quinn (Guitar), Nigel Glokler (Drums), and Timothy Carter
Saxon is a British band formed in the late 70’s, and who achieved World Wide Success charting no less than eight (8) top 40 albums in Great Brittan in the 80’s. After this period, due in part to changes in lineup, some feuding among band members, and a short stint in court over who actually owns the name “Saxon” the many fans who were not of the fanatical variety loss interest. Which would prove to be “their loss” as this band has only got better with time. “Into the Labyrinth” is Saxon’s eighteenth (*18th) studio album. There have been two more studio albums released since then (2009), Call to Arms (2011) and Sacrifice (2013). I have all but five of the first 18 and every single one (every single song on each) is excellent. This is one of those bands like (Neil Young or Willie Nelson) that seems to never run out of interesting material. Every time I “take a chance” on one I haven’t heard I’m blown away by how good it is – every single track. These guys are amazing, and the musicianship has only matured over time.
For this review I'm using Music Hall's extremely detailed custom cartridge (the "Mojo") in their venerable 5.1SE turntable $1089.00. A beautifully detailed table that gives a series view in the window of true high-end audio performance
Track One, Battalions of Steel starts with a chorus that sounds like it could be the sound track to “Game of Thrones – the movie” if there will ever be one. Track Three, The Demon Sweeney Todd could be the sound track for an episode out of “Sleepy Hollow” – I have to admit, the first side of this awesome four side set made me wonder – were they inspired by these shows, then I remember – oh – no, they would have had to write the material prior to recording it in 2009….hmmmm.
Regardless, this is a fantastic release for any heavy metal fan that likes it more melodic, yet with the steady grinding rhythms that drive any hardcore Metallica fan. The woofs on my speakers were getting a great workout thanks to Nibb’s awesome bass guitar accompaniment to Glocker’s relentless riveting drumming (this guy’s like John Bohham on acid). …er..not that I would know anything about acid.
So if Saxon is one of those bands you never got into, or only heard during their 80’s years – its time for a return, or you could be missing some of the best British metal writing today.
On a side note - most "German" recordings are excellent quality so as such you'll definitely notice a 3D soundstage under the phones. As usual, the CD or digital download is basically more two dimensional. "cheers"