All images courtesy of New Ocean Media
Stalwart NWOBHM legends, Saxon, are back in action with a new album, Carpe Diem, which delivers a raw, unadulterated gut punch for the entirety of its nearly forty-five minutes.
Forty-five years, and twenty-four albums in, at this stage of the game, no one would blame Biff Byford, and company for simply settling back, and riding out their accomplishments via the occasional festival, and cruise appearance, like so many of their contemporaries.
Biff Byford has never been one to sit back, never been one to settle, and never been one to do anything but push Saxon forward, while still maintaining the bands rich, and triumphant legacy as one of the original purveyors of early Britsh Heavy Metal.
The aptly titled, Carpe Diem, finds Saxon in fine form, ballistically setting fire to fans’ ears from the second the opening chords of “Carpe Diem (Seize The Day)” grace their speakers. Make no mistake, Carpe Diem is an album meant to be played loud, and if you’re not doing so, you’re either too old or simply doing it wrong.
The album careens into its next rack, “Age Of Steam,” a song whose opening riff, and general guitarwork are nothing short of off-the-charts. One often forgets of special of a player longtime guitarist, Doug Scarratt is. Well, if nothing else, Carpe Diem serves as a gentle reminder that his songsmith, riffing, and soling is electric.
“The Pilgrimage,” takes things down a notch, which is interesting as it serves as the lead single for Carpe Diem. In short, the track is sprawling, heavy, and epic. Biff Byford and Saxons seemingly general indifference toward the sands of time, finds the band sounding as if, at minimum, they’re half their age. Byfords soaring vocals defy father time in ways that are simply unbelievable.
Next in line is what we estimate to be the proverbial star of the show in “Dambusters.” The song is heavy, bustling along at breakneck speed while being swiftly guided along by Byford’s vocal gymnastics, which conjure imagery of Biff standing up-top a row of speakers, beckoning ravenous crowds below him to charge the stage. Doug Scarratt, once again, intensifies matters with his smooth tone, buttery vibrato, and general guitar wizardry which is as hard-charging as it is technically proficient.
“Dambuster” is a showstopper, and simply put — it’s not to be missed.
One might fear that Saxon peaked early on Carpe Diem, and perhaps, it would be downhill from here — not the case. The vintage-esque “Remember The Fallen,” the raging “Super Nova,” ease into another heavy burner in “Lady In Gray.”
As Carpe Diem draws to its close, the final three tracks, “All For One,” “Black Is The Night,” and “Living On The Limit”, as does the rest of the album, serves a reminder that Nigel Glockler and Nibbs Carter form a formidable rhythm section, and long time second guitarist, Paul Quinn, flanks Scarrett wonderfully as well.
Overall, Carpe Diem is an incredible effort. While it’s early on in 2022, unbelievably, it doesn’t feel like a stretch to call Carpe Diem the Rock and Metal album of the year. It’s hard to imagine anyone bettering it, but more importantly, it’s refreshing to see, that after nearly half a century, Saxon is as invigorated as ever. With the current lineup of Saxon also servings as its longest-running, it’s plain to see that the boys from Barnsley are just getting started.
If you’re interested in grabbing a physical copy of Carpe Diem, you can head over to Napalm Records, and choose from several colors on vinyl, or if you’re into CDS, they’ve got you covered there too. And of course, the album is available via all streaming services.
Interested in learning more about Saxon’s new album, Carpe Diem? Check out the link below:
Dig this review? Check out the full archives of Open Your Ears here: https://vwmusicrocks.com/open-your-ears-archives/