England's SAXON have managed to keep the ball rolling pretty consistently with great albums like "Crusader", "Dogs Of War", "Unleash The Beast" and "Metalhead". Their latest output, "Call To Arms", proves that even after 30 plus years on the scene, they are still capable of waving the victory flag. The band has chosen to take a giant step back to their roots so to speak. Listening to this album, you will immediately notice a very raw, organic sound to the songs. It feels like a nice-sized dose of "Denim And Leather" and "Rock The Nations" all over again. Some may think the production itself sounds a bit flat in some areas, but that was probably the intention from the start.
"Hammer Of The Gods" rips it up with some great guitar riffs and it's evident that Biff Byford's unmistakable voice is as powerful as ever. "Chasing The Bullet" is a rock-steady anthem while "Afterburner" sounds like a runaway train on steroids. "Call To Arms" (there is also an orchestral version) tells the story of a man going to war, and musically is one of the most emotionally-fueled songs the band has ever written. Another real shiner is "Mists Of Avalon". Its galloping rhythm and soaring melodies make it one of the best on the album.
Though not 100% perfect, "Call To Arms" continues the legacy that SAXON started back in 1979 (no pun intended regarding the song title "Back In '79"). Most fans out there that have followed SAXON throughout their career will appreciate the level of effort they put into making this album. It's obvious Biff and the boys still have the passion to create really good music. These songs are what SAXON is all about - hard, heavy, and no nonsense! Longevity has come relatively easy to them because they keep producing records that people can digest without feeling like they're being served the same meal over and over. Hopefully there are still a few more albums left in them.