Sound — 10
This was the first CD from Saxon I had ever heard and I wish I would have discovered this band long ago. Why they never received the same NWOBHM notoriety as Maiden, Priest, etc. Is beyond me. Byford's vocals fall between the mid-high range and are perfect for the music and not strained when hitting hight notes. The dual guitar work of Scarratt/Quinn, much like Murrary/Smith and Downing/Tipton, is amazing to listen to... Great tone together. Although Carter's basswork didn't jump out at me, ala Steve Harris, it was still spot on as was Glockler's tight drumming.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics range from simple and straight-forward ("Circle of Light," "Terminal Velocity") to complex ("Bloodletter," "Unleash the Beast"). Make no mistake... There's no track that you'd be embarrassed to play loud and the simple lyrics are far from cheesey. The majority of the songs are written by all members of the band and there is no one "stand alone" contributor. Although there may be a few throw-ins on the CD ("Circle of Light," "The Preacher"), the majority of "Unleash the Best" is down right a-s-kicking to say the least!
Overall Impression — 9
Although I love the NWOBHM it's hard to compare Saxon with any other band. When you listen to Iron Maiden, immediately the "galloping" theme hits you along with Bruce's operatic vocal range. When you listen to Priest, immediately Halford's high vocal range and the guitar work hits you. With Saxon it's a tight combination of the music and vocal work at a high level... To pair them with someone else would be an injustice. Like the other bands mentioned, they have their own unique sound and it fits... Which is why the majority of the member have been with the band since its inception (Byford, Quinn, Glockler). Highly recommended tracks: "Terminal Velocity," "The Thin Red Line," "Minstry of Fools," "Absent Friends." I've bought this CD twice already and would buy it a third time if it gets lost again!