Sound: This album was released in 1980 and it's Saxon's second studio album. It's a NWOBHM album but some songs are pretty Rock'n'rollish (like "Freeway Mad"). Almost all the songs are pretty fast. The sound on the album is pretty raw but it doesn't matter so much. I like it better than today's overproduced-crap-wannabe-good-sounds. And it's got that great live feel because they haven't doubled the guitars. I mean that they have only one guitar track on the left and on the right and on some songs they have one on the middle too.
I really like the music itself on this album. The riffs aren't that complicated and neither are the guitar solos but I like them very much. The songs are pretty easy to play and so are the solos. The guitar solos just have something that I like, maybe just a great feeling. // 7
Lyrics: Saxon can write some great lyrics. I think the best lyrics are on "747" that tells about a plane accident. They can describe very well what happens in the accident and I think Saxon is on its best when writing about accidents. The other lyrics on the album are not as good as on 747 but I'm not so active lyric listener so it doesn't matter that much. Some of the lyrics are pretty hard to hear and there's no lyrics written on the album cover.
Biff Byford is an OK singer and I like his voice but on some songs he sings a bit out of tune. The worst singing is on "Suzie Hold On" where Biff tries to sing cleanly but is out of tune and it doesn't sound so good. But back in the 80's there was no autotune and that's a good thing because what would the music have been like if they had used autotune! // 6
Overall Impression: I'm really impressed in this album because I had no expectations about Saxon. I thought that they could have just been some b-class NWOBHM band. But now I like them very much. I also have another Saxon's album, Strong Arm of the Law, and I think this album is better. Here's the impression of all songs:
01: Motorcycle Man This song is about motorcycles. It's a good fast song and a great intro for the album. The chorus is great and before the second solo it's got a cool chromatic lick.
02: Stand Up and Be Counted This song has a shuffle feeling. It's a good song but not one of the best songs on the album.
03: 747 (Strangers in the Night) Lyrically the best song on the album. It has a simple but great guitar solo intro and I think this is the "hit song" of the album.
04: Wheels of Steel This song is about cars but I think it's the most boring song on the album.
05: Freeway Mad Another song about cars. This song has nothing to do with heavy metal. It's pure rock'n'roll but I like its fast pentatonic riff.
06: See the Light Shining My favorite song on the album. The intro is fast rock and then a great guitar solo. In the middle of the song it changes to a half tempo Van Halen like riffing with bass playing quarters (and that gives it the Van Halen feel). Great outro guitar solo and great guitar riffs.
07: Street Fighting Gang The intro riff reminds me of Mtley Cre's "Wild Side" but when the drums kick in it isn't "Wild Side" any more. The song is about street gangs.
08: Suzie Hold On The "pop song" of the album. The song is pretty good and yes it's very "pop song" like. I think the lyrics are about some girl that has some deadly disease but I don't know. I like the lyrics of the song and I think they are the second best lyrics on the album. If the singer sang better the song would be much better but no! This is Biff Byford's weakest performance on the album.
09: Machine Gun This song is about war. It has pretty weird whammy bar effects in the middle and in the end of the song.
All in all a great album and much better than I expected. // 9