Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed Part II (Review)

Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed Part 2 (1996)

With original member Graham Oliver ousted from the band, Saxon had to quickly recruit a new guitarist in time for their tour to support the excellent Dogs Of War album. In stepped Doug Scarratt, ex-David Hasselhoff guitarist(!) and a friend of Saxon drummer Nigel Glockler. Coincidentally, Glockler had made his Saxon album debut on the 1982 live release The Eagle Has Landed and now his pal Doug made his on the sequel The Eagle Has Landed – Part 2. The use of the title evoked the band’s NWOBHM glory days, presumably in an attempt to signify to lapsed fans that the band had returned to metal. But it also bravely invited comparison between the 1996 lineup and the classic Saxon of yore.

But The Eagle Has Landed – Part 2 ducks the comparison by weighing heavily towards the band’s more recent material. In fact, with the exception of five songs, all of the material here is drawn from the band’s early-90s output. It sounds great and the band performs well. Doug Scarratt fits in seamlessly (showing off his chops on a tastefully shredded solo spot) and Biff Byford puts in a powerful, committed vocal performance despite sounding like he’s got a frog in his throat. In fact, he makes it work for him. The sound of him straining and pushing to hit the notes adds a real edge of excitement to tracks like Forever Free.

Although the new lineup acquits itself well, the focus on new tracks drags the album down, especially in the middle section. Ain’t Gonna Take It, Crash Dive and Can’t Stop Rockin’ are decent enough on their respective studio albums but they don’t cut it in a Saxon live set. But the second disc recovers well with Solid Ball Of Rock and Great White Buffalo proving effective live before some oldies-but-goodies see the album out on a high. The only blip in the older tracks is a version of Denim & Leather that’s marred by an overbearing guest spot from Yngwie J. Malmsteen who solos over everything that can possibly be soloed over.

Diehard fans/collectors will find the rare performances and historical value of The Eagle Has Landed – Part 2 make for a worthwhile release. But collectability aside, most listeners will find it a bit uninspiring and, while it certainly has its moments, it’s the least exciting of the Saxon live albums to this point: a solid but unspectacular start to the band’s post-Oliver career. The new lineup would have to impress mightily when they unleashed their next album.

[Saxon – Solid Ball Of Rock]

45 thoughts on “Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed Part II (Review)”

  1. There was way to much Yngwie J on Denim. He took shredding to a whole other level. Like could someone unplug him for God’s sake? I heard this track at a buddy house as he bought it and told me to give it a spin.
    Saxon set the bar way too high with the original Eagle!
    Nice to see a review around these parts!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a good point. A lot of metal bands were struggling throughout the 90s. Maybe like I said in my post, it is possible that the more liberal presidency of Clinton had a negative effect on heavy metal.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It may surprise you to learn that I haven’t much been into this one. Just sounds a bit cumbersome. Even the highlights aren’t really exciting. However, Yngwie J. Malmsteen can solo all the way to the guitar bank if he wants to, as long as he’s slaying dragons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it’s a bit meh. Forever Free is brill, Crusader… Iron Wheels… a lot of the best songs are on other live albums so not a lot of reasons to go back to this. Unless you really must hear Yngwie spraying hot guitar piss over everything!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well that’s the thing, innit… the other live albums seriously lack the Yngwie factor. He increases the awesomeness of albums by 7.3%

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Last time I was in Taranna, the spot by the Saxon card in the bins was empty, which I took as a sign that people are buying up their stuff in droves. I could go have a look at our Sunrise this weekend… anyway, I’m on it (and will use your comment as a shopping list). 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I would be curious to know what you think of your local Sunrise. Especially in comparison to the old HMV in terms of music played, staff, selection, price, ordering stock in etc.
        I know Mike likes our local Sunrise, but I hated it. Maybe I will give it another shot, but who knows. I have good luck with our local record stores.
        Hopefully you do not scare the timid woodland creatures.

        Liked by 1 person

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