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SAXON – Hell, Fire & Damnation

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SAXON – Hell, Fire & Damnation

SAXON
Hell, Fire & Damnation
(Heavy Metal)

Label: Warner Music (Silver Lining)
Format: (LP)


Release: 19.01.2024

This year, 45 and 73 are two numbers that will mean a little more to singer and founder Biff Byford. His band SAXON (it was actually founded in 1976, but was still called SON OF A BITCH until 1979) has been active for 45 years and on January 15th Biff turned 73 years old. The 24th will also play a role for him and the band in 2024, because four days after his birthday the 24th studio album “Hell, Fire And Damnation” was released. After the rather weak “Carpe Diem” and the cover album “More Inspiration”, which brought a lot but no real inspiration, I was excited to see what the men from Yorkshire had to offer this time.

I can say that after the intro “The Prophecy” – sung by English actor Brian Blessed – and the following opener and title track, I was more than pleasantly surprised. The hard guitars, the power and Biff’s voice captured me after a few bars and didn’t let go for the rest of the album. What hits the listener and his eavesdroppers has not been heard from this band since 2007 and their “The Inner Sanctum” album. The album is a cornucopia of hot, powerful riffs (veteran Paul Quinn passed the guitar on to Brian Tatler from DIAMOND HEAD), catchy choruses and sing-along passages for future live performances.

Lyrically, SAXON once again takes a foray through human history and so you get to know Marie-Antoinette and her separation device (“Madame Guillotine”), watch the Battle of Hastings in “1066” and “Witches Of Salem” (the weakest song of the… Albums, in my opinion) over the shoulder of the declared enemies of the Inquisition. “There’s Something In Roswell” also features a bit of conspiracy theory (or not – who knows?) in musical form as well as a short visit with Marco Polo to the court of Kubla Kahn. Especially in the former, Biff’s voice comes into its own with the scream at the end. You don’t even hear the man say 73 once. Powerful and dynamic, that’s all you can say about it. We can only hope that he stands his ground outside of the studio and leads the band victoriously in the live battle.

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“Hell, Fire And Damnation” is convincing across the board and proves that SAXON still have it and are rightly a legend of the NWOBHM.

Tracklist „Hell, Fire & Damnation“:
1. The Prophecy
2. Hell, Fire And Damnation
3. Madame Guillotine
4. Fire And Steel
5. There’s Something In Roswell
6. Kubla Khan And The Merchant Of Venice
7. Pirates Of The Airwaves
8. 1066
9. Witches Of Salem
10. Super Charger
Total playing time: 42:24

Band-Links:

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