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Heavy metal band Saxon, one of the pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal recently released their twenty second studio album, Thunderbolt. Though Thunderbolt is a very good album, with good song writing and musicianship, the signature song writing formula hasn’t changed and the album comes off as somewhat predictable.
The band has been churning out album after album and gone on many tours in their four decade history. There have been numerous personnel changes over the years, and the band is currently made up of founding members Biff Byford (vocals) and Paul Quinn (guitars), as well as Nibbs Carter (bass), Doug Scarratt (guitars) and Nigel Glockler (drums).
The album starts off with an instrumental opener, “Olympus Rising” before jumping into the title track “Thunderbolt”, which is a very heavy and straight forward song. Perhaps the best track on the album, “The Secret Of Flight” takes the listener on a five minute story of Icarus to the Wright Brothers and modern man and the desire to take to the skies in flight.
The band then slow the temp down a bit for “Nosferatu (The Vampire’s Waltz)” and then they pick up the tempo for “They Played Rock and Roll” which is their tribute to heavy metal legends, Motorhead.
“Predator”, “Sniper”, “A Wizard’s Tale” and “Speed Merchants” are very good hard rocking songs with upbeat tempos that will surely have the listener head banging along. “Sons of Odin” and “Roadies Song” – which is an ode to the hard working road crew that sets up and maintains the band’s gear – are good songs as well, though played at a slower, heavier tempo.
In all, Thunderbolt is a solid release that will please many of their long term or lifelong fans as well as win them some new fans. Though the album isn’t spectacular nor particularly original, it is an album that Saxon fans would expect – very good and straight forward heavy metal.
Album rating 6.5/10
The Secret of Flight
Nosferatu (The Vampire’s Waltz)
The Played Rock and Roll
Sons of Odin
A Wizard’s Tale