Review Summary: Consistent, but it lacks innovation.
It seems to be the metal world is facing an ongoing reoccurrence of old school metal bands that made a name for themselves in the beginning of their careers, turn to total *** in their mid-career, and somehow upgrade themselves back to their glory days or something close to high-standardized quality. For instance, look at Iron Maiden’s career in the 90’s, the up and down swings of Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Accept, Scorpions, Anthrax, and the list keeps going on. From 1985-1995, Saxon created six dull, emotionless, and generic albums. Until 1997 they found themselves kicking the gears back into place with Unleash the Beast
, ever since that release they’ve been quite consistent all the way up to their 2011 release, Call to Arms
Songs like “Hammer of the Gods”, “Surviving Against The Odds”, “Afterburner”, and “Ballad of the Working Man” have a classic heavy metal sound that can easily be included into your “best of” Saxon playlists. Those songs also show that these sixty-year-old metal heads have more balls than these so called “technical” death metal (deathcore) bands. This is saying something, because The Faceless are ***ing pioneers of Technical-Brutal Death Metal, and Saxon makes them look like pussies. Other songs like “When Doomsday Comes (Hybrid Theory)” and “Mist of Avalon” are epic-esque pieces, but only “Mist of Avalon” proves to be worthy all the way through the listen. While “Doomsday” has epic like moments with symphonies in the background that obviously adds the specific atmosphere they are going at – there’s just something about it that makes it good, it just doesn’t hit the bull’s eye quite right.
Despite being a polarized album that focuses on classic heavy metal, a few epics, and a few songs having their sleazy hard-rock moments (“Chasing the Bullet” and “Back in 79”); Call to Arms
stays consistent with Saxon’s new era that started off back in 1997. As my summary states it’s consistent, but it lacks innovation
, mainly because they’re not outdoing themselves. Nevertheless, Saxon may not be steam piling their way back up to the top and reliving their glory days such as Accept or Iron Maiden. A release such as Call to Arms
is a safe maneuver that keeps distancing themselves from their worst part of their career.