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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Reviews: Saxon, Clutch, Breed 77

Saxon: Sacrifice (UDR)

After toying with power metal, progressive metal and even big symphonic metal elements on previous efforts, on this their 20th album Saxon have decided to make a pure Saxon record full of stripped back, heavy rocking classic British metal. The guitars of Paul Quinn and Doug Scarrat rip and shred with tight proficiency, the drums of Neil Glocker smash like hammers especially on the Titanic (sorry) Made In Belfast and Nibbs Carters bass rumbles like thunder. Biff too is still on top form wailing and crooning like it was 1980. The return to the old NWOBHM style might be due to producer Andy Sneap who is a massive retro metal fan; he also loves a good solo of which there are loads on this album. The lyrical content harks back to historical with the Celtic-flavoured Made In Belfast, the Aztec worshipping title track, the Egyptian Guardians Of The Tomb which may have been pinched from Maiden's Powerslave album. There is also the obligatory song about motorbikes in the form of the speedy Warriors Of The Road as well as one about rock n roll with Stand Up And Fight and also signs that Biff is turning into a very grumpy old man by moaning about queuing on Standing In A Queue. This is an album that harks back to Saxon's glory days and is the perfect fodder for old fans and recent converts as it blends the modern production with classic songwriting. As their contemporaries Maiden and Priest move into more progressive places Saxon have looked backward and are back on their wheels of steel (sorry again) 8/10

Clutch: Earth Rocker (Weathermaker Music)

Neil Fallon and his Maryland rockers come back with their 10th album and their second on their own label. Sonically it's your normal superb Clutch fare with the title track kicking things off in fine style with a big country/blues riff and the strange vocal delivery of Fallon. Crucial Velocity has a powerhouse; unrelenting riff that bulldozes everything in its way and is a counterpoint to the organ drenched Mr Freedom that follows. Again this album blends blues, country, hard rock, stoner metal and punk sometimes in the same song but this is all part of Clutch's sound the mix of genres make you want to just grab something to inebriate you and just party. Every track full of great guitar riffs and funked up bass and powerhouse drumming, like with every Clutch album Fallon is the focal point, his voice is excellent and his lyrics are second to none with some very intelligent phrasing and some interesting mentions (like the large Hadron Collider in Unto The Breach) The first five songs are full on rockers but the album takes a break with the swamp blues of Gone Cold on which Fallon does his best Zappa-style croon, this is before The Face brings back the head banging with a low-down dirty riff and the trend continues from there. However none of my reviewing is relevant this is a Clutch album if you know the band then you know what it's going to sound like, if you don't know the band buy the album and experience one of the most exciting bands on the rock circuit (and then see them live!) 9/10

Breed 77: The Evil Inside (Frostbyte Media)

Breed 77 have been on the fringes of success for so long that some may think they will always be metals nearly men. Before they were more of a Latin based nu metal band now they blend flamenco guitars with some seriously heavy metal. This album brings the more serious and aggressive style from Insects and multiplies it. With tracks like Drown which has a metallic crunch that continues on the Fear and Broken Pieces. However Breed 77 haven't completely abandoned they're alternative metal roots with the very Creed like and possible radio hit Looking For Myself which is followed by the flamenco flavoured Bring On The Rain before the super heavy Low comes back to punch you in the guts again. The bass and drums bludgeon on every track providing an iron clad bottom end, topped by the great guitar work from Danny Felice and Pedro Caparros Lopez who meld the two genres brilliantly as usual and also pull off some fantastic solos, as usual Breed 77's real power comes from vocalist Paul Isola who is one of the most unique vocalists in metal. This is a very good album, that is hard heavy and weaves genres intricately together but with the right promotion (something that has eluded Breed 77) they could become a real power player 5 albums into their career. 8/10

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