Artist:  Saxon 
   Title:  Sacrifice
   Label: SPV / Steamhammer Records  

A wise man once wrote “Warrior Came, Warrior Saw, Warrior Conquered”, the warrior in mind is Biff Byford and once again the Heavy Metal warriors that are Saxon return with another slice of Metal glory.

This time the brief was to take up where 'Call To Arms' left off, this meant “less tricks, more power!” and “be real and not be afraid to look back at the old classic material for inspiration.”   And that’s exactly what Byford, Nibbs Carter, Doug Scarrett, Paul Quinn and Nigel Glockler have done in spade, with this the bands 20th album 'Sacrifice'. 

The album opens up with obligatory intro ‘Procession’, before opening up proper with the title track ‘Sacrifice’ and from this point on, it's pedal to the METAL Saxon, with the twin guitars of Quinn and Scarrett duelling delivering some of the hardest Saxon riffs on the album, there is almost and air of Bay Area Thrash about it, but with a more controlled mastery that you’d expect from these six string maestros.

The full on attack of the senses is put to one side as the band mix things up a bit with ‘Made In Belfast’, where the band pay tribute to the ship builders of Belfast.  You can hear just a touch of mandolin giving this one that Gaelic touch.

As the brief laid down in the beginning stated that the band go back to their earlier albums and what better example of this is ‘Warrior Of The Road’, which has an air of 'Wheels Of Steel' to it.  This time instead of the hailing the two wheeled riders, this one hails the four wheeled kind.  This is all guns blazing at it's very best, with Glockler really showing what a masterful sticksman he is, still delivering a tub thumping wall of sound, backed as always by those meaty bass lines of Carter.

The tempo and ferocity are brought down just a touch as the band deliver one of the tracks of the album for me ‘Guardians Of The Tomb’.  This is story telling metal at its finest and what has been the hallmark of Saxon since their inception.  Who else could write a Metal song about the Terracotta Army, that’s harder than soldiers themselves.

The old school Saxon is brought back in spades with the anthemic ‘Stand In Fight’, as the band raise their fists once more and shake them at their disbeliveers, before the excellent ‘Walking The Steel’, another slice of story telling Metal as Biff hails the steel workers of New York.

The raw ferocity of the guitars of Quinn and Scarrett are once again on display with the lick laden ‘Night Of The Wolf’, which they then take to the next level with the storming ‘Wheels Of Terror’

The album closes with another anthemic slice of old school Saxon ‘Stand In A Queue’, (we’ve all been there), which wraps up another storming album from the boys and with a impending UK tour just around the corner, the rock n' roll machine that is Saxon shows no sign of slowing down and long may it continue.

Review by: Barry McMinn 


1. Procession
2. Sacrifice
3. Made In Belfast
4. Warriors Of The Road
5. Guardians Of The Tomb
6. Stand Up And Fight
7. Walking The Steel
8. Night Of The Wolf
9. Wheels Of Terror
10. Standing In A Queue   



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