They notched dozens of hits in the UK in the 1980s and have sold over 15 millions albums worldwide. Metallica, Megadeth, and countless other metal acts cite them as influences.
Now Saxon are returning to Cleveland.
The South Yorkshire quintet headlines a powerhouse bill at Peabody’s Downunder this Wednesday, September 18th, in support of its twentieth studio album, Sacrifice.
Released on UDL / EMI, the new disc features more of the same heavy-hitting, twin guitar musical terror that made the band famous. The album commences with the brief instrumental “Progression” before unleashing the scorching title track. From there, it’s nothing but rebellious anthems (“Made in Belfast,” “Stand Up and Fight”), high-speed horror vignettes (“Wheels of Terror,” “Guardians of the Tomb,” “Night of the Wolf”), and a homage to the band’s globe-trotting, denim-and-leather lifestyle (“Warriors of the Road”). Byford—who authored all the new lyrics—even offers a mundane but amusing glimpse of Saxon’s travel travails with “Standing in a Queue,” which chronicles the downtime wasted in airports and truck stops.
Saxon still features vocalist Peter “Biff” Byford and guitarist Paul Quinn, who cofounded the band some 35 years ago (originally under the mantle SOB). Drummer Nigel Glockler has been a mainstay since the ‘80s. Nick Carter’s been holding the bottom end on bass for a quarter-century, while guitarist Doug Scarratt’s plied his wickedly-fast licks against Quinn’s fiery fret board gymnastics since 1996.
Along with Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, Saxon is hailed as a pioneering band in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The group never achieved mainstream success in the United States but flourished in Europe until the grunge downturn of the ‘90s. A protracted legal battle with former members over the Saxon name saw Byford and Quinn emerge victoriously. New millennium albums like Lionheart, Inner Sanctum, Into the Labyrinth, and Call to Arms cemented the band’s status as heavy metal stalwarts while introducing them to a new generation of listeners.
The deluxe version of Sacrifice includes a bonus CD alternate and acoustic versions of tracks like “Crusader,” “Requiem,” and “Just Let Me Rock.” Fans can expect a hefty helping of the new album at Peabody’s—but it’s a sure bet Saxon will shoehorn a few classics (“Heavy Metal Thunder,” “Power and the Glory,” “Ride Like the Wind”) into the set list.
There’s never been a better opportunity to catch the guys live and up-close in this neck of the woods.
Atlanta-based rockers Fozzy (fronted by wrestler Chris Jericho) will open. The five piece—which just visited the North Coast a couple months back—is still touring behind last year’s Sin and Bones.
Saxon, Fozzy (with Halcyon Way, Demonwulf, Global Warning) September 18, 2013 at Peabody’s Downunder (2045 E. 21st Street, Cleveland OH 44115). Tickets $20.00 / $25.00 DOS. Doors at 6:30pm.