At the dawn of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, the British band Saxon was pioneering their own brand of heavy metal thunder with classic albums like “Wheels of Steel” and “Denim and Leather.” For almost forty years, the band has been able to achieve longevity through magnificent melodies and epic story telling in their songs. Saxon has recently released their 22nd album, “Thunderbolt,” a collection of eleven brand new songs produced by Andy Sneap that show exactly the reason why the band has become legendary in the world of heavy metal.
The introductory “Olympic Rising” begins with a choir like tone before leading into the raw and powerful title track, a real metal anthem. Lead vocalist Biff Byford is amazing with the eerie opening of “Nosferatu” and the epic saga “Sons of Odin,” a true powerhouse metal vocal performance. The band tries a more modern metal approach on “Predator” with the grumbling growls of Amon Amarth frontman Johan Hegg lending a hand. “They Played Rock and Roll” is an incredible Motorhead tribute song with a fast paced driving rhythm that Lemmy himself would be proud of and pays homage to the 1979 Motorhead tour during which the members of Saxon and Motorhead became good friends. The blistering guitars of Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt are front and center with the full throttle rock of “Speed Merchants” and “Sniper.” Closing out the record is the no holds barred rock and roll of “Roadie’s Song,” a nod to the hardworking individuals that make the shows happen behind the scenes.
After all these years, Saxon is showing no signs of wear, giving us another classic metal album. Put this one on, crank it up loud, and prepare to be struck by the “Thunderbolt!”