Saxon
Into the Labyrinth

In this, their 30th year since the self-titled debut, Saxon releases album number 27 Into The Labyrinth. Now, when a band lasts this long there are always hills and valleys in the discography; some inspired and some less so. After spinning this CD a few times now, I am happy to report that Into The Labyrinth is a fantastic Heavy Metal album.

Silvery coiffed wailer Biff Byford turns in a stellar performance throughout the album’s 13 tracks from softer moments like “The Letter” to all out Metal wailing in “Demon Sweeny Todd” and “Valley Of The Kings”. The band is in superior form here as well. Not bothering with trying to reinvent, reinterpret, rearrange or do anything else to any sort of round, wheel shaped contraption, Saxon circa 2009 turns in a seasoned, passionate Heavy Metal performance showing some of these newcomers how it’s done. Opening song “Battalions Of Steel” is a fleet-footed juggernaut of a track full of mid-tempo Power Metal melody and fury. The aforementioned “Demon Sweeny Todd” is an aggressive neck-snapping beast. Some of the tracks carry a timeless Metal swagger, like “Slow Lane Blues” and “Live To Rock”. “Hellcat” (driving head-banger), “Crime Of Passion” (mid-paced groove-banger), “Come Rock Of Ages” (horn flying melodic monster) and even left-turn “Coming Home (Bottleneck Version)” (front porch blues jam) are all peaking the meter here.

Nothing else to add, really. The songs are strong, the sonics are nice and fat and the overall flow of the album is damn near textbook. This is Heavy Metal. This is Saxon. This is damn good.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
January 1st, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: ceno

    Very solid album. Reminds me of classic early 80’s Saxon. Nice review, Shawn.


  2. Commented by: ceno

    Into The Labyrinth is so good that it made me revisit lots of Saxon, old and new, and I arrived at the conclusion that over the last decade these guys have been in their best form ever. Priest and Maiden should learn how to be gathering more and more strength with years.


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