In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Saxon were on the short list of bands (along with Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Def Leppard and Diamond) that helped usher in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Their star burned bright for a few years, but internal squabbling and poor luck found Saxon’s momentum come to a halt by the end of the decade.
They’ve soldiered on throughout the years and there’s a fantastic reissue that hopefully will bringing Saxon’s blistering music to a new generation. Greatest hits collection “Heavy Metal Thunder,” originally released in 2002, gets a deluxe “Bllodstock Edition” that makes it well worth the upgrade.
Disc 1 features 13 classic cuts, with eight of them re-recorded in 2001 to offer a fresh perspective. Songs like “Heavy Metal Thunder,” “Crusader,” “Princess of the Night,” “Wheels of Steel,” “Never Surrender” and “Backs to the Wall” still sizzle and serve as a reminder as to how good Saxon were in their prime.
The real find, however, is Disc 2, entitled “Live at Bloodstock 2014.” It’s a 12-track live performance of Saxon’s hits and the guys show no signs of slowing down. Highlights include renditions of “Sacrifice,” “Power and the Glory,” “Motorcycle Man,” “To Hell and Back Again” and “Denim and Leather.” Keep on rockin’ lads. (Jeffrey Sisk)