Back in the 2011 Biff Byford was right behind the campaign to get heavy metal recognised as a religion in the Census. Although the campaign may not have succeeded on paper, there are millions of people around the world who gladly follow the faith of the riff lords and dark princes of rock.
Now for their coming of age album, they have put that faith into practice and we kneel at their alter. Saxon have tooled up, put on their war paint and have pummelled, raged and plundered their creativity to create an album that is something to get excited about.
When Biff told us that he though the album was a masterpiece he wasn’t wrong. 2015 has certainly been a good year for the originators
of NWOBHM with Motorhead and Iron Maiden all releasing top class albums. No matter whether you are new to Saxons music or have long been a fellow warrior, this album will envelop you with a heavy metal sonic war on all fronts and will make you surrender mind, body and soul to the Battering Ram There’s some of the best riffs and percussion here to have ever come from Saxon. Unlike some of their earlier work that alternated between different rock styles, this time they have focussed their sound to pure heavy metal. Their concentrated effort has paid off; it’s melodic but fast and furious and brilliant! Biff’s vocals are absolutely top notch, shifting from roaring battle cries to banshee screams and pushing his voice to the most emotive and powerful it has ever been.
The title track wastes no time and starts the album with some rousing riffs and a fierce call to arms “come worship at the metal church…decibels will rise above to fill this concert hall.” This track is going to raise hell when it’s performed live, it’s a perfect prayer for the metal head and an ode to all that is good and true about the music we love, ”together we are reborn.”The Devil’s Footprint has a voiceover that is reminiscent of Number Of The Beast and grows into a song that is just as dynamic and the guitar work is nothing short of explosive. Biff’s final screams are like a singer possessed, as if the band were exorcising the satanic spirit and sending it straight back to hell! Although Saxon have moved away from the orchestral sound, there is an echo of synthesized chorus here which adds to the religious mysticism, this is also used on the excellent Queen Of Hearts to create a spellbinding atmosphere. This is a terrific song, built on different layers and musical textures and a thunderous pulsating bass line that will hypnotise you and make you feel like Alice falling through the rabbit hole.Destroyer and Hard and Fast have a typical Saxon NWOBHM sound, that won’t disappoint die hards. Eye Of The Storm ups the heaviness and creates a musical tempest, thrashing and smashing the senses with crashing drums and thunderous guitar to create a natural disaster.The defiant Stand Your Ground, is another inspiring metal anthem from Biff and the boys Top Of the World is an riffolicious track, demonstrating melodic metal at it’s best. Another stand out track is the moving Kingdom Of The Cross. Based on a poem Biff wrote to mark the centenary of World War One, the track is bleak, tragic and all too poignant. Stunningly brilliant work
!21 albums into their career and the mighty Saxon are still as sharp as ever. Battering ram is proof that the battle is far from over for Saxon, it’s only just beginning!