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Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed 40 (Live)

CD:
Saxon.
Price:
£15.79

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On August 6, 2019
Last modified:August 9, 2019

Summary:

This really is what live albums are all about. Crank it up, close your eyes and it feels like you are at every show!

When I was asked to review The Eagle Has Landed 40 (Live) by NWOBHM legends Saxon, I thought it was a re-issue of their 1982 live album but this is not the case as it’s a triple CD release of forty live songs chosen by their lead singer Biff Byford. It covers a breathtaking career that started in 1976 when they were known as Son Of A Bitch that saw a name change to Saxon in 1979 and the release of their self titled debut album the same year, still my favourite of theirs which unfortunately does not feature here.

Chronologically it begins in Berlin 2007 on the Inner Sanctum album tour and ends in London 2018 on the Thunderbolt album tour. Choice cuts from 2007 include a pummeling ‘State Of Grace’, a furious start especially from the kick drums of Nigel Glockler. A hushed lead vocal from Biff muscles up for the heavy ballad ‘Red Star Falling’, introduced as “About the fall of communism”. One from the Lionheart album sees a go for the throat delivery of ‘Witchfinder General’, chock full of blistering lead guitar work. From Berlin again but from the Into The Labyrinth album tour of 2009 features a devilish lead vocal throughout ‘Demon Sweeney Todd’. Also from Berlin is ‘Live To Rock’, a bona fide anthem as Biff belts out his calling to the life he leads.

An apocalyptic thrash of ‘Machine Gun’ from London 2009 is an early highlight, my favourite track off Wheels Of Steel and here it’s an unrelenting delivery. Berlin once again features heavily during 2011 on the Call To Arms album tour with a whopping seven tracks taken from there. Standouts are a slow burning ‘Back In 79’, the main riff that runs throughout ‘Rock And Roll Gypsy’, a lovely blast from the past that sees Biff chuckle at the end of a lyric, “Another town another place, another woman to sit on my face” and the heavy chug of ‘I’ve Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)’. The title sums it up perfectly as Biff belts out a chest beating vocal.

Best two of the four from the Bang Your Head Festival at Balingen 2013 are ‘Sacrifice’, hammered out to a rabid sounding crowd and the full on dynamics of ‘Stand Up And Fight’, another paean to surviving in the music industry. Some of Saxons most thrilling anthems are taken from their Wacken Festival 2014 show. ‘Crusader’ is utterly breathtaking! Eight minutes of metal perfection! ‘Power And The Glory’ is a NWOBHM genre defining classic opus as the crowd loudly respond to Biffs question “Can you feel the power? Can you feel the glory?”.’Dallas 1pm’ is another fine example of Biffs knowledge of history and not just shortchanging the fans with throwaway lyrics. The vintage commentary of the events on that day and the guitar solo that follows, still sends chills down my spine. ‘Princess Of The Night’ sees a mental crowd bellowing out the opening lines as the guitar solos tore through my headphones but pick of the lot is a pounding ‘Denim And Leather’ that certainly brings the band and the crowd all together!

Some guest appearances crop up next as Phil Campbell steps up for a stomping ‘747 (Strangers In The Night)’ from Helsinki 2015, a full on ‘Ace Of Spades’, which brought a tear to my eye as Biff announces the arrival of Eddie Clarke onstage in Manchester 2016 (R.I.P Eddie) and the neck breaking headbanger ‘20,000 Feet’ from San Antonio 2018 featuring Andy Sneap on guitar. Also from the Thunderbolt album 2018 tour is ‘This Town Rocks’ and if Los Angeles didn’t know how to rock, then this track from the Power And The Glory album would have made them. Other standouts are ‘Predator’ from Manchester as its mauling main riff hurtles along, as does ‘They Played Rock And Roll’, a full throttle tribute to Motorhead and a fine one to say the least. This monstrous live album ends with two tracks from London as the crowd roar during ‘The Secret Of Flight’ for the lyric of “Let our voice fill the hall, like we’ve never done before. Let me hear your battle call” and an adrenaline rush delivery of ‘Battering Ram’.

Tracklist:

State Of Grace.

Red Star Falling.

Attila The Hun.

If I Was You.

Witchfinder General.

Demon Sweeney Todd.

The Letter + Valley Of The Kings.

Machine Gun.

Live To Rock.

Hammer Of The Gods.

Back In 79.

I’ve Got To Rock (To Stay Alive).

Call To Arms.

Rock N Roll Gypsy.

Chasing The Bullet.

Play It Loud.

Sacrifice.

Night Of The Wolf.

Conquistador + Drum Solo.

Stand Up And Fight.

Crusader.

Battalions Of Steel.

The Eagle Has Landed.

Power And The Glory.

Dallas 1pm.

Princess Of The Night.

Denim And Leather.

Eye Of The Storm.

747 (Strangers In The Night), featuring Phil Campbell.

Killing Ground.

Ace Of Spades, featuring Eddie Clarke.

20,000 Feet, featuring Andy Sneap.

Thunderbolt.

Sons Of Odin.

This Town Rocks.

Nosferatu (The Vampire Waltz).

Predator.

They Played Rock And Roll.

The Secret Of Flight.

Battering Ram.

 

This really is what live albums are all about. Crank it up, close your eyes and it feels like you are at every show!

About Dennis Jarman

Full time downtrodden album/gig reviewer and part time rock God!