Saxon – Battering Ram (2015) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/48kHz]

Saxon – Battering Ram (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz  | Time – 02:07:00 minutes | 1,64 GB | Genre: Rock, Metal
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz  | Front Cover | © UDR GmbH
Recorded: January—March 2015

UK rockers Saxon release their 21st album entitled „Battering Ram“. The release sees the band return to their NWOBHM roots and builds on their previous heavier releases in recent years but with more of a classic sound.
With Biff Byford singing as well as he ever has, Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt making full use of the term ‘shredding’ with their guitars and the lock-steady rhythm of Nibbs Carter’s bass and Nigel Glockler’s drums, the future and the past crash together in an ear-scintillatingly engaging, raucous, melodic-yet-classically heavy ten songs collection which will instantly be hailed as a Saxon classic. The title track, with its delectable twin guitar assault heralding the album’s commencement, gives the listener an instant crack around the chops, whilst traditionalists will be delighted to hear such a perfect marriage of old, classic Saxon with the newer, fresher invective in such riff-fronted fare as “Destroyer” and “Stand Your Ground”, but there are still moments of space and exploration which fans will love. “This one’s a natural progression from Sacrifice,” says Byford, “There’s a bit less rock’n’roll and a bit more ‘heavy’ on it. We wanted to keep focused on a style rather than moving around too much.”
Produced by Andy Sneap (Megadeth, Testament, Exodus Accept) at his Backstage Recording Studios in rural Derbyshire, Saxon were able to hone in and whittle down any excess, finding the sonic space and balance to let Battering Ram’s riffs and melodies get the necessary space to scream front and center. Saxon have once again established their rightly-venerated credentials as Kings and vanguards of heavy metal music.
‘Some of it is quite brutal, but there’s quite a lot of melodic stuff on there as well. Every SAXON album is different to the one before because we like to entertain people and we don’t really like to write the same song all the time.’ -Biff Byford

Arguably the strongest of the original NWOBHM, barring the exception of Iron Maiden, Saxon has been a beast of many colors since they first emerged in the late 1970s. Part of this can be attributed to their incredible longevity and continual output despite changing trends, though admittedly they ended up embracing a number of them as time droned on. Like with many bands from said movement, a lot of praise is heaped upon their early 80s offerings, as there was a pretty discernible link with the aggressive, riff happy approach of their output at the time and the early speed/thrash metal scene that took off in 1983-84. This was followed by a period of greater hard rock tendencies that culminated in what can be best described as a full out embracing of the hair metal scene by the latter half of the 80s, followed by a period of relative obscurity with the ascendance of grunge, followed by a resurgence that coincided with the power metal revival of the late 1990s, which Saxon signed onto to an extent for much of their subsequent output, though still maintaining a more traditional air when compared to the popularized Helloween worship and symphonic pomp that was big at the time, though they did occasionally incorporate those elements.
This extensive history lesson is necessary to lend a full perspective on what kind of album their 21st LP Battering Ram actually is, which is that of an absolutely captivating and hard-hitting straddle between their early 80s thrash-happy roots and their more pomp-steeped power metal character beginning on Metalhead. Though there were some strong hints at this direction on the last couple of albums, this thing just throws out any notion of restraint and goes right for the throat with a massive, punchy guitar sound that is about heavy enough to pass for Megadeth, yet comprised of a brilliant mixture of a number of NWOBHM trappings that channel many fellow mainstays of the scene from Iron Maiden, Satan, Blitzkrieg and Diamond Head, while also grabbing onto the speeding, Judas Priest infused yet chunkier feel of contemporary German metal maniacs Accept. The rhythm section is thunderous, the lead guitar lines are flashy, Byford’s vocals are strong, sleazy and completely on point (literally showing no sign of age), but the real place where this album just brings home the glory is the meaty guitar riffs, packing enough punch to level an entire building like a sonic wrecking ball.
In direct contrast to the generally mixed bag of outright winners and otherwise passable rockers that rounded out
There is almost too much good stuff on this album to handle, and all of it delivered with such a militaristic consistency that it transcends almost everything that this band has done within their 38 year history, as presumptive as that may sound. They’ve essentially managed to bridge all of the best elements of their past together into one cohesive package while also injecting a modern production that just blows the top clean off the whole thing. It’s arguably the most aggressive thing they’ve ever put out, though also one of the more theatrical and deep efforts when accounting for some of the less overtly metallic elements, particularly the participation of David Bower as a guest narrator as mentioned before, though it should be noted that the band’s lone ballad featuring his voice in “Kingdom Of The Cross” redefines the entire nature of the concept into a nostalgic and somber storybook narrative with a recurring chorus refrain. An analogy could be made to something by Sabaton in that it recalls a horrific battle in a very visual way, but with a slightly more elaborate melodic content and more of an organic flow. Everything on here just falls into place with astounding results, proving both that a band’s golden years need not be limited to before the age of 40, and that it is very possible for old dogs to learn a few new tricks.

1 Battering Ram 4:51
2 The Devil’s Footprint 4:10
3 Queen Of Hearts 5:08
4 Destroyer 3:20
5 Hard And Fast 4:45
6 Eye Of The Storm 3:54
7 Stand Your Ground 4:15
8 Top Of The World 4:02
9 To The End 5:50
10 Kingdom Of The Cross 6:08
11 Three Sheets To The Wind (The Drinking Song) 3:53

Bonus Tracks: Saxon Over Sweden 2011
12 Hammer Of The Gods 5:02
13 Heavy Metal Thunder 3:19
14 Motorcycle Man 3:40
15 Back In ’79 3:05
16 Never Surrender 3:25
17 Fire In The Sky 1:44
18 Midnight Rider 2:16
19 And The Bands Played On 3:18
20 The Eagle Has Landed 7:43
21 Play It Loud 3:21
22 Rough And Ready 2:13
23 Out Of Control 2:33
24 Denim And Leather 5:07
25 Princess Of The Night 5:08
26 747 (Strangers In The Night) 5:30
27 Crusader 5:29
28 Strong Arm Of The Law 4:11
29 Wheels Of Steel 9:45

Biff Byford, lead vocals
Paul Quinn, guitar
Doug Scarratt, guitar
Nibbs Carter, bass
Nigel Glockler, drums
David Bower, vocals



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