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Lionheart - Saxon

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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal - Hard Rock / Artist: Saxon / Audio CD released 2010-08-23 at Steamhammer

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      19.10.2010 23:50
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      great album

      Lionheart, Saxon, 2004

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      Background
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      Saxon if you didn't know are survivors of a dying breed - one of the NWOBHM (The New Wave of British Heavy Metal Music. Along with groups like Def Leppard and Iron Maiden, they drew upon groups like Hendrix and Zeppelin that came before and influenced many that came after such as Metallica and Megadeth.

      Formed in 1976, Saxon have had major success both in this country and abroad. Their heyday was certainly the 1980's where the enjoyed 8 top 40 albums including 4 top ten albums. They also had numerous top 20 singles during this period. Probably their most famous song is the metal classic 'Denim and Leather'

      Since then their popularity has waned somewhat, however, Saxon still pump out albums every other year. Saxon's 2004 album was Lionheart - and bloody good fun it is too.

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      Opinion
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      There are so many themes that the album covers, almost as though Saxon set themselves a task to write a song about as many esoteric topics as they possibly could - and none of them are about getting loose women into bed (a staple topic of most hard rock bands). Saxon cover Atlantis, Richard the Lionheart, Pirates, Technology and Witchfinders in each song and whilst some will smirk at lyrics like 'Trial is by water; no one can win / Drowned and you're innocent, guilty you swim' but in terms of approaching new subjects I really liked it! If you've seen the film starring Vincent Price as Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins then you really get a sense of that evil character - here in the form of heavy metal!

      My favourite track on the album is 'Beyond the Grave' which is kind of like an ode to Derek Acorah. It's got a great riff and some fantastic howls from Biff Byford. Another notable track is the title track 'Lionheart' which in true Saxon style tells the story of Richard I, former King of England. There is also a decent slow number which plays out almost like a sea-shanty - 'Jack Tars'.

      The sound is actually incredibly decent. The playing is superb especially from ace guitarists Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt who both update the sludgy Saxon sound of yore into a much more speed metal sound that is very reminiscent of Megadeth (who were great Saxon fans themselves). Its sounds relevant and modern - something that you might not quite imagine a Saxon album would be like. The last album I reviewed by Saxon was the Americanised and middle of the road effort 'Innocence Is No Excuse' which while good , sounds light years away from this album. For lovers of metal, Lionheart is a welcome addition to any collection.
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      Tracklist
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      1. "Witchfinder General"
      2. "Man and Machine"
      3. "The Return"
      4. "Lionheart"
      5. "Beyond the Grave"
      6. "Justice"
      7. "To Live by the Sword"
      8. "Jack Tars"
      9. "English Man O War"
      10. "Searching for Atlantis"
      11. "Flying on the Edge"

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Witchfinder General
      2 Man And Machine
      3 Return
      4 Lionheart
      5 Beyond The Grave
      6 Justice
      7 To Live By The Sword
      8 Jack Tars
      9 English Man O' War
      10 Searching For Atlantis
      11 Flying On The Edge