Saxon: Lionheart
Saxon - Lionheart - [SPV]


There's something about Saxon that commands extreme loyalty from their fans, and being one, I can safely say that Lionheart really managed to move me and strengthen my loyalty to the band.
The pioneers of the NWHBHM, they have always made good music, apart from some weaker release in the early 90's, the band has maintained its dignity and strength, yet, somehow, never reaching the amount of success reached by such fellow vetran rockers such as Iron Maiden.
That has to change, while Maiden's output for the last ten years or so has been mediocre at best, Saxon actually put out four of their best albums during this time, starting with the Unleash The Best, then Metalhead, later Killing Ground, and now Lionheart.

A few changes this time, the drums are handled by the ever dependable Jorg Michael, Ex- Stradovarious/Running Wild/Headhunter (Etc. Etc.), following Fritz Randow's leaving, and the sound was done by the great Charlie Bauerfeind, a master of the craft of sound, the album benefits from both changes, truly amazing drum work, with much more complex rhythms then before, and fantastic, crunch-filled sound, which makes the music sound even heavier then before.

The album roars into action with Witchfinder General, a true powerhouse, great riff, fast double-bass drumming, and Biff's vocals never sounded this good, Man And Machine has a more hard rock riff, with a modern spin on it, and it's another great track.
The title track is 80's heavy metal at its best, epic, melodic, and containing patriotic British lyrics and imagery, telling of King Richard the Lioneheart, as he was known, England's hero of the crusades, and that leads me to another thing that makes me love the band so heartedly, being of British ancestry, their lyrics are the most blatantly patriotic in metal, and tracks such as English Man'o'war , telling the story of a British war ship, very much similar to last year's film, Master And Commander, managed to move me and stir the British patriot within me…

Beyond The Grave is an epic, dark feel track, dealing again in the life-after-death subject that the band deals in from time to time, as in Unleash The Beast's Circle Of Light, and Metalhead's Sea Of Life.

Justice is a great track, one of the band's heaviest to date, great riff, cool high pitched vocals in the chorus, next track, To Live By The Sword is another fast track, also benefiting from a great riff,

Searching For Atlantis is another epic, diverse track, showing off the band's panache for writing larger than life metal songs,
And the last track, Flying On The Edge is a simpler rock track, more reminiscent of the band's 90's efforts, yet done with such conviction that it works great in the over whole context of things.

Saxon keep on making great music, and as log as they are making albums, I'll continue buying 'em!

Alon Miasnikov

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