Label: CBH Records - TECX-25418,Metal Mania - TECX-25418 • Format: CD Album • Country: Japan • Genre: Rock • Style: Heavy Metal
Best viewed without Internet Explorer, in x resolution or higher. The 's were a harrowing time even for heavy metal's highest theocrats, so a second-fiddle NWOBHM act sitting atop a teetering mountain of unsold copies of Destinydidn't have the highest betting odds for surviving the decade.
However, Saxon's troubled past awarded them with valuable insight that few other metal bands possessed at the time. Sanding down individualism for the sake of fleeting commercial relevance is a bad idea. Saxon had at least four studio albums to prove it, and thus carried with them the determination to not make the same mistake again. Solid Ball of Rock marked the beginnings of a comeback, and there was only one way Forever Free could capitalize on it.
The rushed, treble-heavy production. The loyal return to gutsy blue-collar riffing. The kickass but unfortunately rare Warhammer 40k biker motif festooning the alternate cover.
From every conceivable direction, frantic shovels set about exhuming the buried sound of vintage Saxon. While an unimaginative rehash of the past might not seem like the most titillating way to spend time with Saxon, you know what they say about gift-horses.
An overt realignment to past glories was well in order, as it was just about the only way Saxon could wrangle back their fans and potentially win some new ones. While tempo and aggression rarely reach a boiling point, there's a demonstrable return of sleazy riffs and memorable choruses. There's a little bit of ostenatiousness to it - certainly the "kiss your ass goodbye" hollering in the chorus feels a bit contrived - but everything else feels so much more sincere than prior outings.
And when it comes to sincerity, it's difficult to top 'Iron Wheels'. Eminently passionate and painstakingly delivered, 'Iron Wheels' is an immense acoustic ballad that regards the British working class with a majestic reverence. It's a personfication of Saxon, with a haunting melody and effusive emotion backing Biff's vocals.
If that doesn't excite you too terribly, perhaps I could interest you in the lycanthropic speed metal menace of 'Nighthunter'. It was so well-written that 'Nighthunter' would set the stage for similarly theatric, horror-themed output featured in later albums, just like Saxon 's 'Stallions of the Highway' did for Wheels of Steel. Not bad for a '92 rehash, wouldn't you say? But Forever Free is not immune from criticism - far from it, in fact, considering some of its utterly throwaway filler like 'Can't Stop Rockin' and 'Grind', which are overlong and recycle the same tired hard rock riff ad nauseum.
The Muddy Waters cover 'Just Wanna Make Love to You' comes across as a well-intentioned tribute to an extremely underrated progenitor of likeminded music, but I still habitually skip this track.
Not because it's poorly performed or in any way unnecessary, but because it only adds to the meandering cruisers this album already has plenty of. And because Biff croaking the song title into my ear is probably in the top ten things I never want to hear.
Alongside a Cant Stop Rockin - Saxon - Forever Free telling me I have a urethral prolapse, and the last eight Slayer albums. Despite this, I insist this is a fine album almost as rock-solid as some of Saxon's very first. A slight improvement over the comparatively tentative Solid Ball of Rock and a severely overlooked effort from the Barnsley Barbarians in general, Forever Free is a surefire indication Cant Stop Rockin - Saxon - Forever Free things will only get better from here on out What happened to the guitars at the beginning?
The soaring echoes are replaced by this middling electric tone without that surging power. In terms of songs there are mostly fast numbers which have Saxon right at home. Charisma and energy are all there, Cant Stop Rockin - Saxon - Forever Free the Toi Seule Maman - Le Jazz des Jeunes* - 25è Anniversaire and impact of riffs beats easy vocal lines.
The eclectic leads and vigor on this album can be heard best in these songs. Headbanging will become an instinctive tick as riffs, licks, and harmonies fly. Both have dull tracks, both have ballads, and both feature Saxon doing well for the majority of it.
They fall in that category of being good enough for what they are. The answer — yes. Many years ago — my introduction to the band was a CD of their greatest live hits — I was hooked.
What we have here is the complete antithesis of said statement; here Saxon continues their quest to rock harder than anyone, despite the wavering popularity of metal, and the Cant Stop Rockin - Saxon - Forever Free times they were going through. Totally memorable and catchy, and absolutely traditional Saxon for the purist. The point is gotten across by Biffs awesome, emotive vocals, great guitars, and generally awesome songwriting. Cool lyrics and another ripping solo courtesy of Oliver make this one another track in the long lineage of awesome, straightforward rockers from this Juggernaut band.
Thrilling chorus, and excellent, passionate and rebellious lyrics about motorcycles and liberty. Fucking killer number.
While there are no real other low points, perhaps a couple tracks might just be a tad straightforward and lacking in dynamism.
Another badass rocker in the tradition of the Awesome Saxon. Simplistic, yet utterly catchy and totally awesome. Formulaic — yes, but Saxon delivering the goods like always. What we have here is a Eurydice / Entre Vous Deux (Instrumental) - Jacques Demy • Michel Legrand - Lintégrale / The Comple, fun album besting most of the horrible drivel that was coming out at this time.
Far from a disappointment, this album has seen many plays already, and will not be a dust collector. Great party music as always from these true British stalwarts, and really re-instates your faith in heavy metal.
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