Saxon - Heavy Metal Thunder

Year of Release: 2002
Label: SPV/Steamhammer
Catalog Number: 7448
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

In between all the tributes and best-of's comes this big package from Saxon - Heavy Metal Thunder - a double album from the NWOBHM kings that mixes re-recordings of classic Saxon hits and a second disc that features a live bootleg and a bonus video track.

For the Limited Edition of their last studio album (Killing Ground), Saxon had a bonus CD on there that contained 8 "new" re-recordings of classic songs. What they've done with Heavy Metal Thunder is to put those 8 songs together with 5 more re-recordings and made this the main focus of the album. The songs, classics in their own right, don't sound as fresh with the re-recordings. Sure, some of the songs are "very" old, but there's no real fresh approach to the songs. And Biff has lost a lot of vocal prowess, which means the tracks lack a certain authority that the classics did have.

The opener and title track, "Heavy Metal Thunder," stands up better than most and is a killer song. Musically, the songs show their age more so than the originals, but songs like "Power & The Glory," "Princess Of The Night," "Wheels Of Steel," "And The Band Played On" and "747" are the more welcomed of the songs. Gamma Ray did the re-recordings very well with Blast From The Past but Saxon don't do it as well. The reason? I can't tell you. I've listened to this with open ears for a long time and it still eludes me. The re-recordings are crisp enough, but for some reason there is something missing. I wish I could be more helpful but I can't.

The second disc features a bootleg recorded in the USA during 2002 and is the most interesting part of the package. We get to hear Saxon in all their glory - including the faults in putting a show together. Whilst the sound is bad - it is a bootleg mind you - the band put on a terrific performance and they still sound great live, although Biff can't have too many years left in him. The video clip, recorded live at Wacken 2001, is a waste of time. The song is "Killing Ground" but SPV have put a studio recording over live footage which makes it all but useless.

For those who have the limited edition of Killing Ground then you're probably already a big enough fan to have bought this already, but I didn't consider it worthy addition to my CD collection. If you're wondering what all the Saxon fuss is about, I would consider purchasing an original best-of (there are plenty around) album instead of this one, but with the added bootleg there is a lot to gain for the new Saxon fan.

[This review originally appeared March 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Disc One: Heavy Metal Thunder (4:13) / Strong Arm Of The Law (4:24) / Power And The Glory (5:57) / And The Bands Played On (2:52) / Crusader (6:38) / Dallas 1PM (6:18) / Princess Of The Night (4:10) / Wheels Of Steel (5:53) / 747 (Strangers In The Night) (5:07) / Motorcycle Man (3:46) / Never Surrender (3:35) / Denim and Leather (5:19) / Backs To The Wall (3:07)

Disc Two: Broken Heroes [Live] / Dragon's Lair [Live] / The Eagle Has Landed [Live] / 20.000 Ft. [Live] / Crusader [Live] / Killing Ground (Video Track Live at Wacken 2001)*

All Live Tracks recorded live in San Antonio, Texas USA 2002-Offical Bootleg

Fritz Randow - drums
Biff Byford - bocals, producer
Nibbs Carter - vass
Doug Scarrett - lead guitar

Saxon (1979)
Strong Arm Of The Law (1980)
Wheels Of Steel (1980)
Denim & Leather (1981)
Eagle Has Landed (1982)
Power & The Glory (1983)
Crusader (1984/2002)
Greatest Hits (1984)
Innocence Is No Excuse (1985)
Rock The Nations (1986)
Destiny (1988)
Rock 'N' Roll Gypsies (1990/2002)
Solid Ball Of Rock (1991)
Forever Free (1992)
Anthology (1992)
Best Of Saxon (1994)
Dogs Of War (1995)
Unleash The Beast (1997)
Live At Donnington (1997)
A Collection Of Metal (1997)
The Eagle Has Landed, Vol 2. (1998)
BBC Sessions (1998)
Metealhead (1999)
Live At Donnington, 1980 (2000)
Burrn! Presents Best Of Saxon (2000)
Killing Ground (2001)
Coming To The Rescue (2002)
Live In The Raw (2002)
Heavy Metal Thunder (2002)

Genre: Traditional Metal

Origin UK

Added: February 20th 2005
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website:
Hits: 837
Language: english


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