Silver Lining Music
The God’s Have Sent a Sign
For England, Saxon should be considered a national treasure, against the tides of time they have held the vanguard regardless of trends and heavy metal fads. Debatably, this thankless task has often led to Saxon becoming overlooked in the community, but gratefully a battalion of fans would argue otherwise as Saxon have continued to strong album after album since the turn of the millennium.
This brings us to ‘Thunderbolt’ with the band opting to reference Greek mythology for their 22nd album with ‘Olympus Rising’ and the title track bursting into life embedded in Saxon’s full heavy metal glory. This stellar performance continues throughout and if you know Saxon, you know what you’re going to get, ‘The Secret of Flight’, ‘Sons of Odin’ and the albums crowning song ‘Nosferatu (The Vampire’s Waltz) are testament to this. Moreover, Saxon change up their formula with the perfect tribute to Motörhead with ‘They Played Rock N’ Roll’, a song detailing Saxon’s first tour with the band as Saxon crank up the double bass drums, distorted bass, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke string bends on the guitar as well as featuring sound samples of the man himself, Lemmy. Furthermore, ‘Thunderbolt’ gives more by featuring Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth fame during the fantastic duet of ‘Predator’ in which producer Andy Sneap once more creates a sheen which perfectly smelts the words of Amon Amarth and Saxon together.
The only downside ‘Thunderbolt’ is that in true recent Saxon form, the album closes with two songs dedicated to motor racing and life on the road either as a band, roadie or punter and that is it not saying these songs are bad, in fact, far from it, more that it feels more as if these songs are Saxon by numbers, the band on autopilot to fill up some time to push it over the 40-minute mark.
Once more, Saxon have released another strong and enjoyable album, with the band showing no signs of slowing down or lacking material, Saxon’s halcyon twilight years are due to continue.
Rating : 83/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann