Iconic British heavy metal band Saxon releases a collection of cover songs from the musicians who have inspired them over the years.
One of the first bands you think of when somebody utters the phrase New Wave of British Heavy Metal is surely Saxon. Their first album (self-titled) came out in 1979 and they have powered forward ever since. It is astonishing. Having release more than twenty-four long-players now, plus many live sets, compilations, etc., the history of this band would require a book-length telling.
The album includes eleven tracks: “Paint It Black,” The Rolling Stones; “Paperback Writer,” The Beatles; “Stone Free,” Jimi Hendrix; “Bomber,” Motörhead; “Problem Child,” AC/DC; “Evil Woman,” Crow (covered by Black Sabbath); “Speed King,” Deep Purple; “The Rocker,” Thin Lizzy; “Immigrant Song,” Led Zeppelin; “See My Friends,” The Kinks; and “Hold The Line,” Toto.
That is quite a list, and there is at least one of those on there that looks like it might not belong. But they all do. Many of these songs, being classics, have been covered before by other bands and even still these new versions are most welcome additions to the history of those tunes. I especially like the ones that haven’t seen the re-recording much, or at all, for the novelty and also for the respect Saxon is paying those works.
Thin Lizzy is one of my all-time favorite bands, and hearing the pumped up version of “The Rocker” brought a smile. A cover of a cover is an oddity, but this new version of “Evil Woman” is a stone cold killer. That meandering bass line is amazing. I could do this for every song because there is something special about them all, but I’ll spare you that indulgence. But still, what about that Toto song? “Hold The Line” was a solid radio standard back in the day and it rocks as hard as it can here. The closer is the tune from the Kinks, and it is the closest thing to a ballad on the album. It is melancholy and mellow; a good song for last call.
Inspirations is a great walk down memory lane. The songs are well chosen and the new versions are full of vigor and renewed energy. Available now from Silver Lining Music, this is an album every metal fan needs to hear. Highly recommended.