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Saxon - 2007 The Inner Sanctum

ALBUM: The Inner Sanctum
YEAR: 2007


LINEUP: Biff Byford - vocals * Paul Quinn - guitars * Doug Scarratt - guitars * Nibs Carter - bass * Nigel Glockler - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 State Of Grace * 02 Need For Speed * 03 Let Me Feel Your Power * 04 Red Star Falling * 05 I've Got To Rock (To Stay Alive) * 06 If I Was You * 07 Going Nowhere Fast * 08 Ashes To Ashes * 09 Empire Rising * 10 Atila The Hun



Sometimes it is the older and more mature aspects in life that are the most appealing. Not to say that 'new' is good, but in terms of the many rock music genres out there, the 'new' babies out there have absolutely no idea about the legacy of styles and sound from yesteryear. And why is it then that when many of the 'new' bands suck big time, we have to resort to the tried and true favourites to resurrect the scene. Much kudos to the likes of Motorhead and Judas Priest who know a trick or two about keeping it interesting. Throw Saxon into that triumvirate of glory days sustainability. For those with long memories, Saxon's last studio album was the rather stupendous 'Lionheart' from 2004. Many thought that was a good album, but I'll be telling you now - 'The Inner Sanctum' is damned good. Fire and brimstone, with a shipload of sugar thrown in to sweeten the pot. Full-on metal at either end of the CD, with a few hard rockers in between. Typical themes are prevalent (as always). Kings, queens, good guys and bad guys, empires and anarchy. All in a days work for Byford and co! What will please long time fans is the return of drummer Nigel Glockler - perhaps to his rightful place as the beatmaster for Saxon.

The Songs
The band pack in their 2007 version of heated excitement to good effect within the first three tracks. All are rampant metal anthems with a ton of melody, 'State Of Grace' more hard rock than metal, while 'Need For Speed' and 'Let Me Feel Your Power' live up to their song titles with ease, the latter bordering on speed metal. In the context of Saxon's lyrical history, 'Red Star Falling' can only mean thing. The fall of communism back in the late 80's. Talk of iron fists, hammers, and the beast being slayed.. an all too colourful description played over a mild but melodic theme. If the song title is a hint, then the AC/DC like riffing on 'I've Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)' is a dead giveaway. The churning metal of 'If I Was You' captures their melodic fury as if untapped from a bottle. Taking a leaf out of the book of Euro rockers Pink Cream 69 and their ilk is the track 'Going Nowhere Fast', this one rides the edge with a sharp sounding production. 'Ashes To Ashes' is the kind of anthem that Judas Priest made popular during their 'British Steel' era'. It's full of anthemic chants that even a Union rally organiser would be happy to own! The closing 8 minute 'Atila The Hun' follows the short intro 'Empire Rising'. I suppose it's easier to glorify a bad guy from our inglorious past, probably because they are easier to remember. I wonder what he would he think of his musical tribute if he were alive today? lol!

In Summary
A very enjoyable set I have to say, and one that will get a bit of air-play on all my musical systems (car, mp3 player etc). The standard CD comes with these ten tracks, plus an add-on DVD including a documentary called 'A Night Out With The Boys'. You could do worse than pick up this hard rockin' platter plus DVD. Saxon will be 'all hands on deck' this summer with a busy schedule of gigs and festivals in support of 'The Inner Sanctum'. Get out and see them if you are so fortunate. In the meantime, turn this one up loud wherever you are!

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