Saxon – Power & The Glory

Saxon - Power & The Glory (1983)
Saxon – Power & The Glory (1983)

In 1982 it was time for a rethink in the Saxon camp. They had been turning their attention to America and while they slogged in support slots and club gigs Iron Maiden and Judas Priest were enjoying impressive Stateside commercial breakthroughs. Saxon’s management and label set their sights squarely on American success and the Yorkshiremen were packed off to Atlanta to record their next album, 1983’s Power & The Glory, with hopes of finessing their sound and upping their game.

While the UK fans and critics might have suspected the band would soften their edges, Power & The Glory turned out to be Saxon’s most Metallic release yet: former Kansas producer Jeff Glixman helped them achieve their best sound to date with layers of massive guitars and a charged rhythm section put straight in your face. A combination of hot-rodded British steel and radio-friendly sheen in a similar vein to Judas Priest’s hit Screaming for Vengeance album. The steelier moments are the most impressive: as Power and the Glory’s tense album-opening riff breaks into the verse it’s like you’ve been launched into battle. Biff Byford gives a rousing vocal and the lyrics are an alluring combo of proud valour and anti-war sentiment. It’s another classic jewel in Saxon’s crown. Redline’s pneumatic shuffle breaks into a classy open-road chorus and Warrior is a scything speed-metaller. The Quinn/Oliver guitar duo are in peak form throughout the album but Warrior’s berserk, slurry guitar solo from Paul Quinn is one of the band’s best.

Can you feel the power? Can you read the lyrics?
Can you feel the power? Can you read the lyrics?

The album is less sure-footed when it aims for airplay. Watching the Sky is enjoyable but stock and Nightmare is not quite the star single it wants to be (despite its coruscating guitar solo and cool harmony vocals). But even at Power & The Glory’s weakest the band thunders with conviction, enlivened by the hurricane energy of new drummer Nigel Glockler. Nowhere is this more apparent than on Side 2 opener This Town Rocks which, although it works better live, is a veritable showcase for Glockler’s combustible drumming. The icing on the album’s cake though, is the return of the debut’s prog rock elements to the band’s style. Midas Touch overcomes its daft lyrics by combining a weighty Sabbath-grade riff with Frozen Rainbow-style mellow verses for satisfying light and shade and The Eagle Has Landed closes the album with another Saxon classic: an interstellar journey with lush, spacey guitars and a hefty riff so dramatic you can almost overlook its similarity to Priest’s Victim of Changes. But despite the familiar riff it’s still one of Saxon’s more creative tracks and a great album closer.

Power & The Glory was Saxon’s purest heavy metal release to date: there’s little of the older Saxon’s blues and boogie here. While fans might miss the knockabout, rowdy style of albums like Wheels of Steel the progression is understandable following the slight diminishing returns of previous album Denim and Leather. It’s a more fully-realised and consistent album with less Rough and Ready-style throwaway filler but it doesn’t quite rack up the same quota of classics as previous records. Sadly, as far as their invasion of the US went: Saxon came, Saxon saw, but Saxon failed to conquer. Even in the UK they found their commercial grip loosening. But metal fans whose taste runs to the epic and the martial (and don’t mind a bit of drivetime pomp) will find that this album is an absolute blast. The title-track alone makes it worth the price of entry and no metal collection can be complete without it. While often overlooked in favour of the preceding “classic trilogy” it truthfully forms the last in a quadrilogy. This is a lively and exciting record that fulfils the promise of its title. You can feel the power and, even though Saxon probably weren’t getting as much of it as they’d like, you can definitely feel the glory. What more do you want from a metal album?

HMO Rating: 5 out of 5

[Saxon – Power and the Glory]

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25 thoughts on “Saxon – Power & The Glory”

      1. I like every song on it. I love half of it (the faster heavier stuff like the title track, Redline and Warrior) and even on the songs that are too commercial that I kind of think I dislike em sometimes (Midas Touch, Watching The Sky, Nightmare) when I actually listen to em, the drums and solos are so good that I remember I love em, just dislike the idea of em. (Plus Nightmare’s intro really sounds like Rush 🙂 )

        Also yes, the Victim Of Changes thing is reeeeeally distracting, but the song itself is awesome (it killed live, so good 🙂 ) once you’re in the mood.

        When I first got into Saxon I felt this one wasn’t up to the standard of the previous four but now its equal for sure, and the highlights here are better than many tracks on the first four too.

        I think if it had one more speed metal song on it instead of one comercial one, the balance would’ve shifted and people wouldn’t be so split about it…. I think its more the idea of it people dislike rather than it itself.

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      2. These are brilliant observations. I think you’re spot on with all of this. I think it could have done with another classic song but there’s nothing on it I don’t like. One more speed-metaller would have sealed the deal definitely. And as far as The Eagle Has Landed I actually heard a live version of it before I knew the studio version so I think that helped. I think it’s an amazing song live. And it took me a good while before I spotted the Priest riff in it too!

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  1. This album is one of my favs of Saxons! Love, This Town Knows How To Rock,Warrior came Warrior stole,Warrior Conquer! Hahahaha…this is great stuff but yeah it’s crazy as I bought there stuff from Eagle To Crusader they never took off here in North America which was surprising as Power And Glory has a American Metal feel to it.
    Still though I dug this one and still do!
    Great review Buddy…..

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  2. I’ve never heard this album, although apart from the debut I own them all before this. Call me Mr Trivial, but the fingerless mittens on the cover have always put me off it.

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  3. I really like this one. As a newbie to Saxon, I found it easily accessible. Now that I’ve gotten to know a fair few Saxon albums I dare say it’s my third favourite (behind Wheels of Steel and Strong Arm of the Law).

    … plus, The Eagle Has Landed is marvellous.

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    1. Those are great picks. I used to rate P&G as my favourite but recently I’ve started edging towards Strong Arm of the Law too. But they’re all great. I think P&G is definitely on a par with the stuff that came before though, don’t you think?

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      1. It’s a fine line between those three, I think. I really like the sound of Power & the Glory and I hadn’t really thought about the similarities between that an Screaming for Vengeance (Priest being another band I’m starting to discover), but that’s probably why the album appeals to me so much (I dig … Vengeance a lot). But yeah, it certainly stands shoulder to shoulder with Wheels of Steel and Strong Arm of the Law.

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  4. I loved the material, but thought the sound was wrong (same for Denim and Leather, actually). Great live, and Redline was vicious. The only real disappointment was The Eagle Has Landed-awesome on the eponymous tour, somehow neutered on record (and why fade it?) The best version of that, for me, is the 1982 BBC session version which I still listen to now

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    1. Brilliant points Nick. I’m with you on D&L, I’m not a fan of the sound on that one. Always thought this was much better. I do like the sound on Wheels and Strong Arm too though.

      The version of Eagle on this has really grown on me but it is always much better live. I’ve been trying to find that 82 version actually. What album do you have it on? Is it just the BBC Sessions one with the white cover or is it available anywhere else?

      Thanks for your comment, Nick. Great stuff. And thanks for stopping by.

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  5. This was for sure their high water mark in America! Love that you post their other stuff too. Music I have never been very familiar with here!

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  6. I ve been a saxon fan since i first heard 747 strangers in the night in 1980 as a 10 year old and bought Power & the glory a few days after it came out and must have played it at full volume every day for a year untill Crusader was released, Brilliant sound to this album and what about the songwriting and performances by all band members Biff Byford has such a powerful voice and spits out the lyrics with a venoumous flair absolutely brilliant, guitarists Paul Quinn &Graham Oliver pull out all the stops with blistering rhythms leads and solos, Steve Dawson;s bass guitar work fits perfectly and sounds great, New Drummer Nigel Glockler plays with great skill and power bringing a mighty boost to the band, The powerful title track gets your blood up , then comes the Screaming guitars of Redline, Then Warrior with speed and power and a cutting solo, Nightmare calms down a bit but is still an exciting force, This town rocks blasts through with speedy playing and always great when played live, Watching the sky is a great mix of interesting playing and the solo is blistering, Midas touch has a killer opening riff then the song takes you places you probably couldnt dream of with its perfectly executed and mystical delivery its absolute magic. then the final track The eagle has landed starts slowly and builds to a massive heavy riff then travels adenturously saxon pull out such an atmosphere on this that its other worldly which is very fitting. Quite simply if you’r a rock or metal fan and you have never heard this album you need to now ,Feel The Power & The Glory of The Mighty SAXON.

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    1. This is awesome Brian. Full volume is the best way to play this album, that’s for sure. It begs to played loud!

      That’s cool that were into them at such an early stage. Hope you’ve stayed with them? I didn’t cotton on to them until much (much) later. But I’m glad I got to them eventually!

      Love your mini-review. There are songs that I don’t like quite as much as others but I do like them all. It’s an album I listen to front-to-back every time. And I totally agree every Rock and Metal fan should have a copy. Glad you pointed out how good the soloing is. I think Quinn and Oliver were at the top of their game on this album. The solos are stupendously good.

      Thanks for commenting and for stopping by Brian!

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