Saxon
Denim and Leather


4.5
superb

Review

by Matthew Hopkins USER (44 Reviews)
April 24th, 2013 | 27 replies | 2,091 views


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A must have for anyone who calls themselves a fan of 80s metal.

11 of 11 thought this review was well written

The story behind how I obtained Denim and Leather is a long one, but one that I believe is worth repeating. It began in 2009, at the Progressive Nation Tour with Dream Theater and Opeth. During Opeth's set, Mikael Åkerfeldt made a comment about touring with Saxon and asked if anyone had heard of them. With the audience mumbling a half response, he proceeded to sing the chorus of the song 'Crusader' for a few notes before giving up and moving on. I took a mental note to torrent the band when I got home from Manchester, but I got drunk instead and forgot about it for several years.

Being a record collector, I occasionally go around charity shops looking for little gems to add to my collection. One day I came across the vinyl version of Denim and Leather. It wasn't the cheap price that made me buy it. It wasn't the axe S on the name or the flying eagle on the bottom. It wasn't the five burly rockers riding imitation Harley Davidsons on the back. What made me buy this record was the fact that the vinyl was blue. And none of my friends had a blue vinyl in their collection.

Saxon is:
Biff Byford - Vocals
Graham Oliver - Guitar
Paul Quinn - Guitar
Steve Dawson - Bass
Pete Gill – Drums

Saxon is everything you'd expect from an early 1980s metal band. The lyrics aren't important, but they are catchy. The music is chocked full of riffs and solos and the drumming is as tight as the leather trousers themselves. The lyrics are about what is important to a metalhead; partying, motorcycles, music, more motorcycles and perhaps the greatest song ever about a train. This album has so much metal that it is literally oozing out of its pores.

If there was a proper way to open up a metal album, 'Princess of the Night' would probably be it. This four minute rocker is filled with guitar solos, amazing riffs and perfect drumming. This is a taster of the whole album and not once does it deviate from this sound. This is a classic of the genre.

Byford's vocals are excellent and are best seen on the second track 'Never Surrender', with his perfect high pitched Halford style vocals. Throughout the album he keeps the engine revving at full capacity and never once are they found wanting or not at their best. His powerful voice is just what this music needs to keep it in check, and it is never lost amongst the torrential downpour of excellent guitars and throbbing bass.

This album is packed full of brilliant guitar work, and the solos are some of the greatest you will ever find in metal. They are fast, rapid fire solos, that slam you in the face and don't stop pounding away until the album is over and you are left a quivering wreck. Their quest is simple, to riff and solo until your eyes begin to bleed and fall out of your skull. And they pull it off amazingly, they sound fresh and stylish the whole way through, there are no boring riffs to be found on this album.

There are many great things about this album. Everything is done brilliantly and there is not a single note out of place. The drumming remains amazing from track to track, with Gill beating away at a brilliant exhausting pace. Dawson also keeps up toe to toe, pounding away with his four string. There are no ballads or anything less than 100% metal. Saxon's style is simple, a powerful rhythm section and vocals combined with tremendous twin lead guitars, a style made famous by Judas Priest and done excellently on this album.

This album is a merry-go-round of metaltastic brilliance and it never stops giving no matter how many times that vinyl spins around. It's a tight, well produced British heavy metal album, that belongs up there with the great bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead and Manowar. Saxon never made it truly big, but they left behind a legacy of pure and simple heavy metal that the whole world should pay attention to and at least listen to once. If you like metal, guitar solos, motorbikes or any of the above, make sure you stop by Saxon station and ride that Princess of the Night until her fuel runs dry.



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user ratings (127)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Hoppoman
April 24th 2013



633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Took a break from Hawkwind to write this review, as this album was in desperate need of one.

VolcanoDay
April 24th 2013



133 Comments


Good album, good review. Pos.

Titan
April 24th 2013



4799 Comments


awesome record, good review, pos'd

dante1991
April 24th 2013



512 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review man, reads more like a 5 than a 4.5 though ;) Still yet to check out these guys, maybe I will start with this album.

Prog Nation 09 was great, still remember Harlequin Forest being amazing

Digging: Opeth - Pale Communion

DrHouseSchuldiner
April 24th 2013



5643 Comments


Nice rev,pos'd ... ya these guys r pretty sweet i think i will dig this album gotta check it tomorrow \m/

Hoppoman
April 24th 2013



633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well it's like a 4.744 :P very very close to be a perfect record.... Iwas tempted to give it a five actually.

SitarHero
April 24th 2013



4602 Comments


Good review. I know this is genre-quibbling, but perhaps you should mention that they were a NWOBHM band rather than an '80s-metal band.

tempest--
April 24th 2013



12581 Comments


riding imitation Harley Davidson's

No apostrophe needed here.

oozing out of it's pores.

Or here either.

Good review man, pos.
This album is a classic, and I've always thought Saxon to be a little overlooked. Never Surrender rocks hard m/

CaptainDooRight
April 24th 2013



28318 Comments


m/
sweet review dude Pos'd

Digging: IQ - The Road of Bones

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2013



5909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome album and good review, pos.

Digging: Essence Beyond - Carnivalism

manosg
April 25th 2013



5694 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Saxon represent all that is good about metal. I was thinking of reviewing this album but you did a great work, pos.

Digging: Donovan - Sunshine Superman

CaptainDooRight
April 25th 2013



28318 Comments


vox of truth


pissbore
April 25th 2013



9935 Comments


i still gotta hear this, wheels of steel fuckin rules

manosg
April 25th 2013



5694 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Their first 4 are all great. Their debut is underrated and I'm bit inclined towards Strong Arm of the Law.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
April 25th 2013



1840 Comments


I really need to get to a Progressive nation tour in the near future.

Good review, and excellent album man. Nice to see you're expanding your coverage to band other than Hawkwind (Not that that's a bad thing...), and I believe your reviewing style is getting progressively better all the time.

Digging: Black Anvil - Hail Death

TheNotrap
April 25th 2013



7978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

NWOBHM classic.

Nice job, have a pos.

PreConvictions
April 30th 2013



14 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, but Princess of the Night is about a train. Anyway, I love Saxon. Do you think this is their best album or not? I think Wheels of Steel is (album that got me into metal, so I'm a bit biased towards it)

manosg
April 30th 2013



5694 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You really can't go wrong with early Saxon. My personal favorite is Strong Arm of the Law.

rockandmetaljunkie
May 29th 2013



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great, really great album.


"NWOBHM classic."


Have said it before and will say it again. NWOBHM was the best thing that occurred in Rock n Roll.

manosg
May 30th 2013



5694 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't know if it's the best thing that occurred in Rock n Roll but it gave us some awesome stuff including this album.



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