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Wheels of Steel Import

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Audio CD, Import, November 17, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Reissue of this, one of the truly great albums from the NWOBHM scene of the late '70s and early '80s. Nine tracks including 'Stand Up And Be Counted', 'Machine Gun', 'Motorcycle Man' and more. EMI. 2006.

1. Motorcycle Man
2. Stand Up And Be Counted
3. 747 (Strangers In The Night)
4. Wheels Of Steel
5. Freeway Mad
6. See The Light Shining
7. Street Fighting Gang
8. Suzie Hold On
9. Machine Gun

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 17, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Parlophone
  • ASIN: B000005RTD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,813 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Michael Courtney on January 25, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Stand up and be counted! One of two discs that I definitely declare must haves by Saxon, the other being Strong Arm of the Law. Much music is meant to be played loud, roaring down the road in your car. Wheels of Steel is one of those albums. From "Motorcycle Man" to "Machine Gun" this discs races from begining to end. The intensity never lets up!
My favorites are "747" and "Freeway Mad", but there is nothing to scoff at here. Discover why Saxon still draws crowds to their live shows with this masterpiece of metal. This is a great start up disc for those who don't know Saxon, although I would suggest spending the extra couple bucks and get the Wheels of Steel/Strong Arm compilation. You will pat yourself on the back for such genius and some lady in leather might just love you for it!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Justin G. TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 24, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Iron Maiden may be the best known band from the legendary New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) scene, and rightly so, but for a time Saxon was a close second. Actually, once Maiden acquired Bruce Dickinson and took on the larger world stage, it was Saxon that best embodied the sound and spirit of the NWOBHM scene. The speed, the frantic energy, the "denim and leather" attitude - Saxon had all that and then some.

If Saxon is the quintessential NWOBHM band, their second album - 1980's Wheels of Steel - is their quintessential album. Others may argue that Strong Arm of the Law or Denim and Leather are better albums, but Wheels of Steel was my first exposure to the band and it's still my favorite Saxon album by far. It was a big jump forward in terms of songwriting and musical ability from the self-titled debut, has some of the band's best known songs, and just captures the spirit of the NWOBHM scene completely. Listening to songs like "Motorcycle Man" and "Wheels of Steel" always make me wish I could have seen Saxon live in those early club days (alas, I was only 6).

I could go on and on about this album, but I'll leave it at this: If you're a fan of British heavy metal, particularly the NWOBHM, Wheels of Steel is an absolute must-have album. I'd even go so far as to recommend it to just about every fan of heavy metal...period. Not only is it an important milestone in the genre, it's also a completely rockin' classic metal album that's still a blast to listen to.

Edition Notes - EMI reissued Wheels of Steel (along with most of the early Saxon albums) in 2009. EMI has been responsible for some of the absolute best-sounding classic hard rock reissues lately (see: Whitesnake, UFO, MSG and the Scorpions), so I had high hopes for these Saxon reissues.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul Lawrence on October 21, 2007
Format: Audio CD
One of the greatest documents of the NWOBHM, Saxons Wheels of Steel stands head and shoulders above so many of it's peers that it's almost cruel to name names. The simple fact is that apart from the NWOBHM heroes we all know such as Def Leppard only a few of them were actually any good, regardless of how important the movement was in the history of hard rock/heavy metal.

And the fact is that on the strength of this album Saxon were one of the few. This molten slab of pub infused metal is unkempt and raucous in it's delivery, oozing passionate zeal with a band experienced enough to know what they were doing while still being young enough to have that irreplaceable, one off youthful bravado at the opening possibilities. Wheels of Steel is a collection of heads down numbers. The production is simple and traditional as one would expect of the albums vintage. The cover art is minimalist (on my pressing anyway) and the entire package is understated. Except for the music.

Some of Saxons best songs are on this album, Motorcycle Man, 747 (Strangers in the Night) and the title track itself. All are great metal songs that race along with purity of mission. And the reason this album hangs together so well is that even though the other songs all meld together. Every song sounds like it belongs here despite the fact that not all are up to the same standard. An almost AC/DC like consistency is at play here as everything gels.

I truly feel that on this album Saxon hit a groove that they rarely achieved again. It is the place to start for my mind, as opposed to the compilation album entitled Collection of Metal which for me was too middling and spent too much time on their weaker late 80's material. In fact my gut instinct is that this single album is better than that supposed best of. Buy this instead to find out what the fuss was about in regards to Saxon. They were/are a second or even third tier band overall, but here they really do fire up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tom P. the Underground Navigator on November 27, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When Saxon entered Rampart Studios in February of 1980 to record their breakthrough LP (and second overall) "Wheels of Steel," the NWOBHM was just starting to really unfold, and would arguably peak later that year, with debut records being released by the scene's top contenders, most notably Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Diamond Head, Tygers of Pan Tang and Girlschool.

With the exception of Iron Maiden, none of those groups however, not even Def Leppard, would chart that year as high as these working class boys from Barnsley. With the strength of singles from the record such as "747 (Strangers in the Night)" and the title track, "Wheels of Steel" actually at one time reached #5 in the U.K. national charts. Astonishing, especially for an independent, underground recording from a previously little known heavy metal band. (Can you imagine that happening in the U.S.?)

Listening to this CD you can hear why. This was then and now the ideal music for speeding down the freeway with this particular album blaring loud (probably on an eight track at the time). The aforementioned title track is particularly earthshaking, taking the deceptively simple but highly catchy riff patterns of bands like AC/DC before them and merging them with the reverb of early Motorhead. Side 2 of the original vinyl opens with the track that best embodies this spirit, "Freeway Mad." The record's second half actually proves to be speed metal city for the most part, on standout scorchers like "See the Light Shining" and "Machine Gun." Sure, Motorhead and Judas Priest before them had at times been fast, but Saxon were FAST. You just did not find tempos this rapid in music in 1980 without crossing over into hardcore punk, making Saxon one of speed metal's true pioneers.
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