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Saxon
Killing Ground
November 2001
Released: 2001, SPV
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Rick

Saxon, one of the leading bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal along with the likes of Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Diamond Head, Samson and others exploded out of the UK in the late 70s, to become one of the most enduring franchises in the metal world. 22 years after their debut release they are still putting out quality material that is as relevant today as their first release was 22 years ago. For those of you that don’t know. Saxon was originally called Son of a Bitch but changed their name upon the release of their first CD in 1979 titled SAXON. Following that disc they had a string of successful CDs including STRONG ARM OF THE LAW, WHEELS OF STEEL and one of their most popular DENIM AND LEATHER. Saxon gained a strong reputation from its constant touring and great live show which featured a huge eagle as a mascot. Saxon has continued to release albums constantly and KILLING GROUND marks their 20th release.



KILLING GROUND contains 11 songs of straight ahead metal. The band manages to keep in touch with their NWOBHM roots but they never sound dated. One thing they do that almost every band seems to be doing now is include an intro. You know the kind. Some church bells, some guitar and a little wind blowing in the back ground. Saxon wastes no time though and kicks right off with the title track. Biff Byford makes no bones about it, his voice is in top shape and "Killing Ground" proves it. Biff and company threw me for a bit of a loop with the next track. Before I even heard it I read that it was a cover of King Crimson song "Court of the Crimson King". I didn’t know if Saxon would be able to pull it off but they did and in fine style I might add. "Dragon’s Lair" ups the tempo with a riff heavy fantasy track right out of the dark lands of Mordor. Other standout tracks are the mid tempo traditional Saxon track "Running for the Border" and the story of the rough life on the road that is "Coming Home".



The first time that I listened to this CD it seemed too short for me for some reason. I checked the CD case, 11 songs listed and then the CD itself. Nothing wrong there. All the tracks were in place. As I popped the disc in again for another listen I realized what the problem was, the tunes were so good that I was so involved with listening to them that I didn’t even realize that 50 minutes had passed. Saxon have successfully reinvented themselves over their last 3 releases by finding a modern way to keep doing what they have done for most of their 22 years. That is make great METAL!!!!!!

Next review: » Saxon - Killing Ground
Previous review: » Saxon - Into The Labyrinth

Saxon
Killing Ground
November 2001
Released: 2001, SPV
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Thiago Martins

This is maybe the weakest Saxon album since DOGS OF WAR. But, indeed, it's a good album and it will appeal more to the older Saxon fans. It doesn't have the same power of UNLEASH THE BEAST or METALHEAD, but it has a closest style to nostalgic classics. Somehow this album seems to be an old OK Saxon album that didn't deserved to become a classic one.



It starts powerful with "Killing Ground", the best song of the album. The King Crimson cover "Court of the Crimson King" is interesting, gives some different atmosphere to the band, another highlight, yet a lot worse than the original version. Another song is the same vein is "Shadows on the Wall", with a slow rythmn, getting a bit aggressive in the bridge(altough I hate the effects on the vocals) and epic in the chorus. The solo is great.



The rest of the album is made of good songs, like the heavies "Dragon's Lair", and "Deeds of Glory"; the traditionals alike "'Till Hell Freezes Over", and "Rock is Our Life" never being great ones, nut nice enough to listen. It's the good-old classic metal. Well, the only negative point is the song "You Don't Know What You've Got", and the intense repitition of the chorus - the song would be OK without it. C'mon, Cinderella had done something near this lyric some years ago and I spent a whole decade trying to get that fucking chorus out of my head, and now the this metal legend makes it come back to my mind!



Biff Byfford keeps his great voice, the guitars try to do some heavier riffs, but in general they are OK with some highlights, also is the rythmn section. There's no big problems in this album. If you are into Saxon, there's no chance to be let down. But if you don't like them very much, or don't know the band very well, this isn't an album for you. As a final note, the limited edition of the CD has some re-recordings of their classic material.

Next review: » Saxon - Killing Ground
Previous review: » Saxon - Into The Labyrinth

Saxon
Killing Ground
November 2001
Released: 2001, SPV
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

Saxon run their race as usual but the records have been up and down over the last years especially during the 90s. The band is like Motörhead - very productive with almost one record a year. As an old Saxon-fan from the 80s, I find this record brilliant. The band do what they do best.



The lead singer, Biff Byford, is in great shape compared to other old hard rock singers out there. Even Paul/Doug on guitars impress me, Fritz is playing real good behind the drums. Last time I saw the band was at Sweden Rock Festival 2000.What a concert that was. The best show on the festival! The current lie-up is: Biff Byford (vox), Paul Quinn (guitar), Nibbs Carter (bass), Doug Scarratt (guitar) and Fritz Randow( drums). The two first ones are original members. Lots of members have come and gone through the years.



KILLING GROUND starts with an intro that sounds like war before the title track begins and it sounds like typical 80s hard rock "Coming Home", "Hell Freezes Over," "Dragons Lair," etc… It may be typical, but certain songs run a little bit faster. ”Court of the Crimson King” and ”Shadows on the Wall” are very good ballads where Biff shows that his vocal resources are very, very good. ”Running for the Border” sounds a little bit like blues here and there. But the cover isn't the most beautiful one I have seen. The feeling is that Saxon is back again with a really strong record. All songs are written by the band. There are ten songs on the record and they were recorded in KARO studio, Brackel / Hamburg (Germany). The producer is Rainer Hänsel.



To quote the song ”Rock is our Life”

Raise up your hands to the light.

We stand together ’cause rock is our life.

Lift up your voices into the night.

We stand together ’cause rock is our life.



This says everything! Saxon will continue to play a long time to come. This is a must for all Saxon fans out there! For more info about Saxon, goto http://www.saxon747.com

Next review: » Saxon - Lionheart
Previous review: » Saxon - Into The Labyrinth





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