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Saracen

Life-long pals Richard Lowe and Rob Bendelow formed their first band - 'Lammergier' - during the mid 70's, together with folk-guitarist. turned-rock-bassist Barry Yates.

Following their first live performance in 1977, the band gigged extensively across the English 'Midlands' during the ensuing years. The standard of those 'live' performances, combined with their unique brand of symphonic rock, saw Lammergier amass a large and loyal following of fans. Then a new decade arrived, and with it some major developments for the Matlock-based rockers...

Having played wi ...read more

Life-long pals Richard Lowe and Rob Bendelow formed their first band - 'Lammergier' - during the mid 70's, together with folk-guitarist. turned-rock-bassist Barry Yates.

Following their first live performance in 1977, the band gigged extensively across the English 'Midlands' during the ensuing years. The standard of those 'live' performances, combined with their unique brand of symphonic rock, saw Lammergier amass a large and loyal following of fans. Then a new decade arrived, and with it some major developments for the Matlock-based rockers...

Having played with a variety of drummers and vocalists, the ideal line-up finally crystallised; John Thorne on drums, Steve Bettney on lead vocals, Barry Yates on bass, Richard Lowe on keyboards & Rob Bendelow on guitar.

And their named changed from Lammergier.....to SARACEN. But the music remained the same; an ever-growing repertoire of powerful, guitar-oriented rock, amply laced with lush keyboards and evocative vocals. After several months 'off the road', with time spent putting the finishing touches to their new 'live' show, the Lads re-emerged as 'Saracen' in January of 1981. And this time with plans for a debut album.

During the summer of that year the now famous 'Heroes, Saints & Fools' album was recorded, at Fairview Studios in Beverley, England. Released in October '81, it was received with critical acclaim, and is still regarded as a 'classic' of it's genre even today, three decades on.

Just seven tracks attempted to capture the spirit and breadth of Saracen's music. Crusade. Rock Of Age. No More Lonely Night. Horsemen Of The Apocalyps. Heroes, Saints & Fool. Dolphin Rid. Ready To Fl.

Initially released on an independent label - 'Nucleus' - it wasn't long before a deal was struck with major players 'Polygram'. A nationwide tour followed, as the album entered the 'Top 50'.

Sadly, illness forced Barry Yates to retire from the band, who were then joined by bassist Jason Gardner.

Saracen tracks received regular airplay on Tommy Vance's 'Friday Night Rock Show', culminating in a 'live' session being broadcast in January 1982. Yet, inexplicably and to many people's surprise, this proved to be the pinnacle of Saracen's reign.

Saracen recorded their second single - 'We Have Arrived' - then following the departure of Thorne and Bendelow during the winter of 1983, the band signed with Neat Records, to record and release their follow-up platter 'Change Of Heart'.

The album signalled a change of direction too, and the new-look Saracen continued to gig extensively, until finally 'closing the book' in mid. 1985.

That appeared to be the end of the Saracen saga, until Rob Bendelow released his solo ‘Templar’ album - ‘Come To The Light’ - in January 2001 (Check out the ‘Templar’ area on this website).

Following great reviews in the rock media, Now And Then Records were able, at long last, to track down the band, and help resurrect their musical dynasty.

The line-up of Saracen for the Red Sky album was; Steve Bettney - vocals, Richard Lowe - keyboards, Rob Bendelow - guitar, Jamie Little - drums and Richard Bendelow - bass.

Musically, it featured re-works of several old Saracen classics, as well as new tracks written during the previous 3 years. As one website put it on hearing the news, ‘the Lords of Epic Rock are back!.

(Red Sky is available on-line from this site as one half the special ‘Boxed Set’, released in January 2006 by Escape Music. Following the release of ‘Red Sky’, founder-member Richard Lowe decided to retire from active service. His crucial place was then taken by Derbyshire-based keyboard maestro Paul Bradder. Paul was not only a life-long Saracen fan and best pal of lead vocalist Steve… but like Richard before him, a musician steeped in the rock-keyboard traditions of the early 70’s.

The band then turned their attention to the next platter - a concept album based upon the history of The Knights Templar. Under the stewardship of Escape Music, drum-overlord Mark Cross (pictured right) completed the quintet to record this masterpiece of musical story. telling.

The album - Vox In Excelso - was released in the summer of 2006, to critical acclaim from fans and the rock media alike.

After nearly two decades in 'retirement' (circa 1985 to 2003), Saracen were back with a vengeance, bringing their unique brand of heavy symphonic rock to music fans around the globe. « hide

Similar Bands: Tokyo Blade, Quartz, Omega, Vardis, Holocaust (Gbr)

LPs
Redemption
2014

3
1 Votes
Marilyn
2011

2.5
1 Votes
Vox in Excelso
2006

3
2 Votes
Red Sky
2003

2.8
2 Votes
Change of Heart
1984

3.5
1 Votes
Heroes, Saints & Fools
1981

4
10 Votes
Compilations
Red Sky - Heroes, Saints and Fools
2006

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