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Saxon
Dogs Of War
October 2014
Released: 1995, Virgin/EMI
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

Editors Note: Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of Master Of Puppets, Powerslave or Screaming For Vengeance? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.



Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any websites were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!



This month (October 2014) I wrote a fairly long review of Saxon's 1997 album UNLEASH THE BEAST where I elaborated on my theories about the evolution of Saxon's overall sound and career arc. Feel free to read that review for additional background. The short version is that UNLEASH THE BEAST for a number of reasons (production, recording, line-up) was the bands comeback that has sustained them for 20 more years. After rediscovering Saxon with UNLEASH THE BEAST, I had resolved to go and purchase the bands back catalogue and DOGS OF WAR was one of the first as I worked backwards through the bands catalogue.



DOGS OF WAR released two years prior in 1995 were the first tentative steps towards shedding the commercial and melodic sensibilities that mired the past four or five Saxon albums. Sporting a mean looking cover, cover art courtesy of Paul Gregory (Blind Guardian, Dio) it is immediately apparent that Saxon was moving in the right direction. Self-produced in England, Saxon deliver a streamlined, 10-track, 49 minute album, bring a slightly heavier sound to the table. The band show a bit more energy and enthusiasm out of the gate with a distinctly, heavier, less polished sound. The lyrics cover a wide range from Indians to Samurai to war and a couple of the inevitable motorcycle/driving tunes.



For my tastes, oddly enough one if the standout tracks is buried deep in the album, a mid-pace rocker with an infectious chorus called 'Hold On', complete with an uninspired bit/girl lyric, that somehow is still inspiring. It is a good lyrical take on the old story of good girl runs away with bad boy.



I still enjoy DOGS OF WAR to this day but admit that it doesn't have too much staying power with the general fans because very few, if any, songs from the album make it into the set lists these days. This album (in total hindsight) showed the first steps the band needed to make to spearhead their full resurgence that would come in two years time with UNLEASH THE BEAST.
Track Listing

1. Dogs of War
2. Burning Wheels
3. Don't Worry
4. Big Twin Rolling (Coming Home)
5. Hold On
6. The Great White Buffalo
7. Demolition Alley
8. Walking Through Tokyo
9. Give It All Away
10. Yesterday's Gone

Lineup

Biff Byford Vocals
Nigel Glockler Drums
Nibbs Carter Bass
Paul Quinn Guitars
Graham Oliver Guitars


Next review: » Saxon - Heavy Metal Thunder
Previous review: » Saxon - Chronicles (DVD)





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