Saxon – Metalhead (Review)

Saxon – Metalhead (1999)

Saxon concluded their 90s catalogue in robust fashion with the aptly-titled Metalhead. It continued the dark, heavy vein of 1997’s Unleash The Beast but with a vigour and confidence bolstered by a traditional metal renaissance in Europe.

The crushing metal chugs and ominous tones of tracks like Metalhead and Are We Travellers In Time have a contemporary edge but also a technicality to the riffage that bulldozers away the boozier, spritlier charm of the band’s early days. But Saxon’s spirit and songcraft remains. Even at its heaviest, the album sports durable melodies and there’s a welcome lighter touch and variety on songs like the bouncy Prisoner, grooving What Goes Around and the proggy Sea Of Life. It’s not all gleaming and modern: the Saxon traditions of headbanging and tales of olde are upheld in the thrilling All Guns Blazing and the rousing Conquistador.

Some inevitable clunkers (Piss Off and the forgettable Watching You) and a sense of solid proficiency prevent it ranking alongside inspired classics like Power & The Glory. But with Metalhead Saxon made their stongest, timeliest statement of the decade and this is where the modern lineup* really clicks, finding a new reason to be. I’ll bang my head to that.

HMO Rating: 4 Out Of 5

*Worth pointing out that Nigel Glockler had left (again) due to injury, replaced by Fritz Randow. But you won’t notice the difference.

[Saxon – Conquistador]

 

27 thoughts on “Saxon – Metalhead (Review)”

  1. Never even knew this was out until I read your review! I’m like John. Know the 80’s stuff for the most part but the 90’s and beyond is a different story.
    Your’re a true fan Sir!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m slowly chipping away at there 80’s stuff on vinyl Scott.
        Wheels of Steel/ Denim and Leather/Power and the Glory/Eagle Has Landed now.
        I grab em as I come across them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh man, after waiting all these years, there’s the light at the end of the tunnel! The next one was my first Saxon. I saw them twice on the tour for it. Metalhead and Conquistador from this one were fantastic live, with the latter sporting a drum solo and extended dip into Heavy Metal Thunder in the middle.

    As for the album cover competition though, I’d venture that the next one gives this one good competition for bad.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes you might be right. I was giving Killing Ground a pass cause its kinda simple but… it looks more like an unofficial Saxon album than an actual Saxon album.

      Also, there’s one dip into the past before we get to that one so you’ll have to wait a bit longer.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Aye, I checked my Saxon stuff last night and I don’t have this one. Never seen it. Ever. That’s the kinda great shitty cover you just don’t forget.

        Liked by 1 person

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