Saxon, Hell, Fire And Damnation Review
Saxon, as pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), has a storied history that has significantly influenced the genre. Their 24th studio album, Hell, Fire And Damnation, released on January 19th, 2024, furthers their enduring impact. Saxon co-created the NWOBHM sound, and this album is a vibrant blend of that heritage with a contemporary edge.
The album opens with “The Prophecy,” a track that sets a high bar with its dark, foreboding orchestration and electric guitar riffs, masterfully narrated by Brian Blessed OBE. This opening track encapsulates the album’s thematic focus on historical and mystical narratives, evidenced further in songs like the title track, “Hell, Fire And Damnation,” where they explore events and figures ranging from Marie Antoinette to the Salem witch trials.
Musically, the album delivers a robust and confident sound. The dual guitar work of Doug Scarratt and Brian Tatler creates a rich, multi-layered experience, particularly in tracks like “Madame Guillotine” and “1066,” where their harmonized parts add depth and complexity. The rhythm section, featuring Nigel Glockler on drums and Nibbs Carter on bass, underpins the album with a thunderous and energetic foundation, notably in “Fire and Steel” and “Witches of Salem.”
Tracks like “There’s Something in Roswell” showcase Saxon’s ability to blend traditional heavy metal with a modern sensibility, creating an arena-worthy sound. “Pirates of the Airwaves” pays homage to the band’s roots, while “Super Charger” closes the album with a forceful assertion of Saxon’s relevance in today’s metal scene.
The production, handled by Biff Byford and Andy Sneap, is top-notch, ensuring that each element of the album, from the intricate guitar solos to the powerful vocals, is presented with clarity and impact. This attention to detail in production elevates the album, making it a standout in Saxon’s extensive discography.
Hell, Fire And Damnation shows Saxon’s ability to evolve while staying true to their roots. It’s a balanced mix of traditional heavy metal and progressive elements, leading a band that is fearless in exploring and expanding their sound. The album grows on the listener, revealing its complexity and depth with each play. This is British Heavy Metal at its finest, a showcase of seasoned musicianship and songwriting prowess.
In conclusion, Hell, Fire And Damnation is a top-shelf addition to Saxon’s discography; it is a vibrant, powerful statement from a band that has both shaped and transcended the genre. It is a compelling mix of historical and modern evidence of the band’s enduring legacy and ongoing evolution in British heavy metal.
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Hell, Fire And Damnation
January 19, 2024
Silver Lining Music