It’s only been two years since “Call To Arms”, but Saxon is back with another record! Much like many other prolific artists (Motorhead, Anvil, Tankard), Saxon knows what they do well at this point, and they deliver with every album! There is little originality or experimentation at this point, but that isn’t what matters. What is important is delivering 8-10 solid, hard-rocking metal songs, and with “Sacrifice”, Saxon does that once again!
With the opening riff of the title track, any worry of disappointment immediately disappears. The simplistic, crunchy guitar riffs pave the way for Biff Byford’s still flawless vocals. With every note he sings, Biff reminds the listener why he still deserves to be respected as one of the top singers in metal. His voice is slightly gravellier than it was 30 years ago, but it is every bit as enjoyable. Other than Biff’s stellar vocals, another highlight is the shredding lead guitars. The solos are predictable, but still enjoyable. While you might expect the drumming to be standard, Nigel Glockler does add some aggression to the mix. The chorus of the title track features some wicked double bass that compliments the vocal melodies perfectly. Surprisingly, Saxon does add a bit of flair to their standard sound. Parts of “Made In Belfast” feature some more Eastern sounding melodies behind the wall of guitars. In addition, the main riff to “Guardians of the Tomb” is very unique for Saxon. It’s so strange that I can’t even find a valid point of reference. It does however make you listen a little bit more closely before Biff unleashes one of the catchiest choruses of the record. Another standout track (whether good or bad) is the closer, “Standing In A Queue”. I have nothing against a song with this subject matter (Anvil did it well 11 years before Saxon!), but this track is pure AC/DC worship. It isn’t too far away from Saxon’s standard sound, but I found it to be an uneventful closer that loses the energy built up by the rest of the record. Ultimately, however, it is the only weak point on an otherwise solid ball of rock.
It’s hard to believe that such an underappreciated band can be on their 20th album. Once again, this is proof that quality trumps all. “Sacrifice” may not be as impressive as “Wheels of Steel” or “Strong Arm of the Law”, but it is a welcome legacy to Saxon’s commanding legacy.
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“Guardians of the Tomb”
“Night of the Wolf”
4.0/5 or 80%.