Review: "Eagles & Dragons" - Saxon (9 Vinyl LPs)

by Andy Snipper,

As part of the original New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) Saxon were up there with Iron Maiden and have been quoted as influences on the likes of Metallica, Sodom, Megadeth, Motley Crue and even Pantera.

They were at their early peak in the late 70’s and early 80’s but this boxset covers 9 albums released between 1991 and 2009 and some of this material is the best they ever released. It has never been collected before and releasing it on 180 Gram vinyl definitely brings out the power and sheer braggadocio of the band.

The set includes:
  • Solid Ball of Rock
  • Forever Free
  • Dogs Of War
  • Unleash The Beast
  • Metal Head
  • Killing Ground
  • Lionheart
  • The Inner Sanctum
  • Into The Labyrinth
The playing is everything you might hope for – searing guitars, anthemic vocals, driving drums – but their sound isn’t stuck in a timewarp – as much as they influenced others they took on board changes in the world of heavy metal and their music grew accordingly.

There is a world of difference here between Solid Ball Of Rock which represented the end of their ‘melodic rock period’ and albums such as Unleash The Beast or Lionheart where they had moved far more into the strident and more powerful form that they started with back in 1976 and Biff Byford’s vocals seem to be more suited to the power.

All nine albums have charms aplenty as well as some stunning rock and as a collection this is absolutely superb. The band are/were seminal metallers and even though they had a fallow period in the eighties this all finds them back to their peerless best.

Gwan, everybody likes a bit of Saxon

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