SAXON “The Carrere Years 1979-1984” /4CD Set/


    Band Info

    Band: SAXON
  • Product Code: 50999 6 38593 2 4
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  • €19.90

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Remastered re-release of the six studio and one live full-length albums by legendary British Heavy Metal/NWOBHM band.
This four-disc collection from the New Wave Of Heavy Metal legends rounds up Saxon's first seven albums for the Carrere Records. The box includes "Saxon" (1979), "Wheels Of Steel" (1980), "Strong Arm Of The Law" (1980), "Denim And Leather" (1981), "The Eagle Has Landed" (1982), "Power & The Glory" (1983), and "Crusader" (1984).
Saxon has been one of the NWOBHM front-runners for the past thirty years. The band was off to a great start, sank in a commercial swamp during the mid-eighties, but has been Rock solid for the past twenty years.
1979-1984. In this crucial five-year period for NWOBHM, signed to French Carrere Records - a singles-oriented disco label, stalwarts Saxon despite management and distribution issues, the band ultimately carved a niche with a series of classic albums.

“Saxon” 1979.
Just before recording their debut, Biff Byford & Co. decided to change the band name from Son Of A Bitch to Saxon. That proved to be a smart move because a term of abuse as band name closes many doors. Capturing the late 70s zeitgeist (melodic and not quite Metal), their debut album was strong, if not fantastic; "Saxon" weren’t yet firing on all cylinders. Of this album, you hear a band that's capable of writing some decent tunes, but whose style has not been finalized yet. From the second album, Saxon knows its strengths and what kind of songs suits them best. Nevertheless, Saxon's debut turned out to be an interesting with a few highlights like "Frozen Rainbow", "Judgement Day" and the swinging "Stallions Of The Highway". The debut didn't become a classic like its successors because of songs like "Big Teaser" and "Backs To The Wall" that are downright mediocre.

“Wheels Of Steel” 1980.
That all changed with their second album, 1980’s "Wheels Of Steel": every song is a classic, with sleek production that foregrounds the precise guitar riffs and Biff Byford’s powerful voice. The opener "Motorcycle Man" will bring back fond memories to many listeners. "Wheels Of Steel" was part of every Hard Rock album collection in the eighties. Together with Iron Maiden, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Diamond Head and Holocaust, Saxon belonged to the frontrunners of the NWOBHM movement. This album was released in 1980, the year in which "Heaven And Hell" by Black Sabbath, 'Ace of Spades' by Motörhead, the debut of Iron Maiden and "British Steel" by Judas Priest were also released. Thanks to Saxon and all these other classics, 1980 went into the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal annals as the genre's most memorable year. The many timeless classics are met with wild cheers at each Saxon concert till the day of today.

“Strong Arm Of The Law” 1980.
The same year’s "Strong Arm Of The Law" is much the same, only faster and heavier, and arguably remains Saxon’s most consistent release. By ask anyone who was a fan of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal music in the eighties for a list of classics and there is a good chance "Strong Arm Of The Law" is one of the first titles that comes to mind. This album is for Saxon what "Number Of The Beast" is for Iron Maiden, "Master Of Puppets" for Metallica and "Operation Mindcrime" for Queensrÿche; the third, definitive and faultless album. It has no weak moments and a track list that reads like a greatest hits compilation. Saxon still plays several songs of this album during their live concerts. Biff Byford and co. deliver a host of classics from the magnificent opener "Heavy Metal Thunder" to epic closing piece "Dallas 1 P.M.". This album is a prime example of a band at the top of their abilities that perfected their style in a very short time. After this album Saxon, released many more albums, but they peaked on "Strong Arm Of The Law" and never reached that level again.

“Denim And Leather” 1981.
In 1980, Saxon released the magnificent albums, "Wheels Of Steel and "Strong Arm Of the Law", and enjoyed a strong reputation in both the UK and mainland Europe. At the end of the year Biff Byford and his men were one of the most popular English Heavy Metal bands. It's no surprise that their follow-up "Denim And Leather" became a classic a well, but not as 'classic' as its predecessors because songs like "Play It Loud" and "Out Of Control" are a too straightforward and lack a little aggression. Despite including several first division songs, overall the album tries too hard to be iconic. The album however, contains many classics like "Princess Of The Night", "Never Surrender" and the title track that are all still part of the band's set list some 30 years later. Thanks to the hit single "And The Band Played On" this album became Saxon best sold album in many countries.


“The Eagle Has Landed” 1982.
Almost every classic Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band has released a classic live album. "The Eagle Has Landed" proved that Saxon was a great act on stage. The set-list is a concatenation of classics of which at least half regularly shows up in the band's current set list. In retrospect, the album didn't achieve the status of "Live And Dangerous" (Thin Lizzy), "Unleashed In The East" (Judas Priest) or "Strangers In The Night" (UFO) is probably due to fact that the stage versions didn't differ much from the studio versions and the presentation is rather cliché. Nevertheless, this album still sounds fresh and energetic. With this album, Saxon closed the glorious eagle age (the album covers of album number two, three, four and five).

“Power & The Glory” 1983.
After 1982’s live stopgap "The Eagle Has Landed", Saxon entered the studio refreshed for the following year’s "The Power And The Glory", adding a commercial edge which was to shape their career for the next few years. Although many bands went into another musical direction after a live record, like Kiss after "Alive II" (the disco influences on "Dynasty"), Iron Maiden after "Powerslave" (more melody and keyboards on "Somewhere In Time") and Rush that changed their style after each live album, Saxon chose to stick to the winning formula of heavy guitar riffs, a pumping rhythm section and heavy yet catchy tunes. "Power & The Glory" contained nothing new for Saxon fans. The riffs were however less impressive than on its illustrious predecessors. Therefore, everything on "Power & The Glory" is familiar after only a few spins, after which only the cracking title track and the epic album closer "The Eagle Has Landed" remain enjoyable.

“Crusader” 1984.
Saxon scored many successes in the UK and the European mainland with their first five albums. After that, Biff & Co. wanted to conquer the American market as well and changed their musical course on the "Crusader" album. The NWOBHM style was abandoned and traded for melodic songs with harmonic vocals. Just like Judas Priest with "Turbo", Loudness with "Thunder In The East", Tygers Of Pan Tang with "The Cage" and Raven with "Stay Hard", Saxon aimed for the American radio audience that loved bands like Foreigner, Loverboy, Journey and Survivor. Just like all the other bands mentioned above, European fans didn't like the new musical direction, the band lost a lot of goodwill and experienced a huge drop in popularity. Unfortunately, for the band, their claim to American fame failed due to the simple fact that some bands are more capable or writing AOR songs than a band with British Metal roots. "Crusader" was a disappointment in 1984 and still is some 28 years later. Besides the epic title track, the songs are way too mellow and radio friendly. Songs like "Bad Boys", "Rock City" and "A Little Bit Of What You Fancy" pale in comparison with any song off "Strong Arm Of The Law". "Crusader" sounds MTV-friendly but, ironically, signing to major label EMI marked the end of Saxon’s most commercially successful period.

This 4CD Box contains many great songs that everyone who doesn't own any music by Saxon should definitely buy this. And this set more than testifies to band’s oft-neglected status as one of the UK’s great Metal bands!!
Trigon Services Ltd./Parlophone Records Ltd. A Warner Music Group Company, 2012 (50999 6 38593 2 4). Made in Germany. First press.


Tracklist 

CD 1

(Track 1-9: "Saxon" (1979) – Remaster 2009 (except bonus track))
1. Rainbow Theme 3:07
2. Frozen Rainbow 2:28
3. Big Teaser 3:56
4. Judgement Day 5:29
5. Stallions Of The Highway 2:5
6. Backs To The Wall 3:10
7. Still Fit The Boogie 2:54
8. Militia Guard 4:54
9. Judgement Day (Live) 5:39 (B-Side bonus track)

(Track 10-19: "Wheels Of Steel" (1980) – Remaster 2009 (except bonus track))
10. Motorcycle Man 3:59
11. Stand Up And Be Counted 3:09
12. 747 (Strangers In The Night) 4:58
13. Wheels Of Steel 5:59
14. Freeway Mad 2:41
15. See The Light Shining 4:56
16. Street Fighting Man 3:13
17. Suzie Hold On 4:34
18. Machine Gun 5:24
19. Stallions Of The Highway (Live) 3:34 (B-Side bonus track)


CD 2

(Track 1-8: "Strong Arm Of the Law" (1980) – Remaster 2009)
1. Heavy Metal Thunder 4:19
2. To Hell And Back Again 4:45
3. Strong Arm Of The Law 4:37
4. Taking Your Chances 4:20
5. 20,000 Feet 3:17
6. Hungry Years 5:18
7. Sixth Form Girls 4:19
8. Dallas 1 PM 6:30

(Track 9-18: "Denim And Leather" (1981) – Remaster 2009)
9. Princess Of The Night 4:02
10. Never Surrender 3:16
11. Out Of Control 4:08
12. Rough And Ready 4:51
13. Play It Loud 4:11
14. And The Bands Played On 2:48
15. Midnight Rider 5:46
16. Fire In The Sky 3:37
17. Denim And Leather 5:28
18. 20,000 Ft (Remix) 4:07 (bonus track)


CD 3

(Track 1: "Denim And Leather" (1981) (bonus track) – Remaster 2009)
1. Bap Shoo Ap (Live At Castle Donington 1980) 6:43 (bonus track)

(Track 2-11: "The Eagle Has Landed" (1982) – Remaster 1999)
2. Motorcycle Man (Live) 4:19
3. 747 (Strangers In The Night) (Live) 4:39
4. Princess Of The Night (Live) 4:19
5. Strong Arm Of The Law (Live) 4:41
6. Heavy Metal Thunder (Live) 4:10
7. 20,000 Ft (Live) 3:28
8. Wheels Of Steel (Live) 8:51
9. Never Surrender (Live) 3:54
10. Fire In The Sky (Live) 2:42
11. Machine Gun (Live) 3:52

(Track 12-15: "Power & The Glory" (1983) (side one) – Remaster 2009)
12. Power And The Glory 5:55
13. Redline 3:37
14. Warrior 3:46
15. Nightmare 4:22


CD 4

(Track 1-6: "Power & The Glory" (1983) (side two) – Remaster 2009 (except bonus tracks))
1. This Town Rocks 3:59
2. Watching The Sky 3:42
3. Midas Touch 4:12
4. The Eagel Has Landed 6:58
5. Suzie Hold On (Us LP Version) 3:21 (bonus track – first time on CD)
6. Denim And Leather (Live) 5:12 (B-Side bonus track)

(Track 7-16: "Crusader" (1984) – Remaster 2009) 
7. The Crusader Prelude 1:05
8. Crusader 6:35
9. A Little Bit Of What You Fancy 3:51
10. Sailing To America 5:04
11. Set Me Free 3:15
12. Just Let Me Rock 4:12
13. Bad Boys (Live To Rock N' Roll) 3:25
14. Do It All For You 4:44
15. Rock City 3:17
16. Run For Your Lives 3:54

Total playing time: 292:39 min.

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