Top critical review
8 people found this helpful
A good beginning
on February 1, 2006
"Where were you in '79 when the dam began to burst?"
In America, you were probably clutching your Aerosmith, Van Halen, Ted Nugent, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple albums and playing them at full blast to ward of the aural nausea of the Village People, Bee Gees, et al.
In the UK, you were experiencing the first ripples of what would become, in my opinion, the most energetic revitalisation of rock music, never equalled before or since:
THE NEW WAVE OF BRITISH HEAVY METAL (NWOBHM)!
There were exciting new bands taking their place alongside classic metal warriors like Judas Priest, the revitalised Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Whitesnake (pre-hair metal days) and UFO.
Among them were Iron Maiden, Def Leppard (yes, they were once a metal band!) and...SAXON.
This is an example of a new, young band at the forefront of a new, exciting musical genre. They haven't quite found their feet here and in a lot of ways still sound like the band gigging around pubs in their native northern England. Some of the tracks, like "Big Teaser" and "Still Fit To Boogie" are forgettable. However, others, like "Backs To The Wall", "Stallions Of The Highway" and "Militia Guard" give hints of the band that would soon release seminal slabs of British metal like "Wheels Of Steel" and "Strong Arm Of The Law".
The album isn't perfect, but I find it worlds better than their lame attempts to "crack America" in the '80s and '90s with dreck like "Crusader" and "Destiny" (I still cringe at their cover of Christopher Cross' "Ride Like The Wind"), though they returned to form after that.
Of course, they never went beyond a cult following in America, but if you listen to this disc you'll see the beginnings of a band who went on to stardom nearly everywhere else in the world and were on the bill at the first Castle Donington festival.