Saracen
Heroes, Saints & Fools


3.5
great

Review

by menawati CONTRIBUTOR (79 Reviews)
July 9th, 2013 | 20 replies | 818 views


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Melodic keyboard soaked 80's metal with a small helping of progressive rock. A lost gem from the NWOBHM.

There is no doubt that the great majority of the new metal bands that exploded onto the British scene during the NWOBHM in the early 80's followed a similair approach with their music. Their basic influences were rooted in stalwart 70's British metal acts such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Budgie but there was an injection of enthusiasm and energy into the music that gave the genre a new lease of life. Saracen, to a certain extent, are no different to the norm but they tried to expand upon their basic sound by adding keyboard textures and bringing in progressive rock influences.

Like many debut albums the material on offer spans a large period of time during a band's formative years and as such the music feels more like just a collection of songs than a coherent whole. This is certainly the case on 'Heroes, Saints and Fools'. The album has its fair share of formulaic catchy 80's metal exemplified by the galloping 'Rock of Ages' with its Maiden-esque riff and the entertaining 'Ready To Fly' which contains some passable Rob Halford like screams from lead vocalist Steve Bettney. There is also a pop metal single in the guise of 'No More Lonely Nights', replete with an irresistable hook, hand-claps and cheesy lyrics which somehow manages to cross Kiss with Abba and leaves you humming along and tapping your foot while assuring yourself that it is bloody awful. But when the band move away from the more conventional hard rock sounds of the times and attempt more ambitious prog rock influenced material they really start to shine and take on a character of their own. This is where the main strengths of the album lie. The title track itself is an entertaining seven minutes of organ soaked harmonies, acoustic guitars and medieval tinged melodies with some accomplished soloing from lead guitarist Rob Bendelow. Other highlights are the dreamy instrumental 'Dolphin Ride' which floats along on a wave of rolling drums and synth and the driving 'Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse' with its infectious riffs.

It would be stretching the imagination to label this sort of music as progressive but it is apparent that the band have been influenced by some of the prog rock titans of the previous decade. Some of the medieval steeped themes come across as rather cumbersome on occasion and the quality is inconsistent but for a debut release the band show an amazing level of maturity. Saracen never attained much success with their particular brand of music but this debut was a very likeable and accomplished release. If you have a taste for some melodic keyboard soaked 80's metal with a smattering of progressive rock then give it a try.



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user ratings (7)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
menawati
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2013



14487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

bit rusty, hope it reads ok, dunno why cover didnt work

Rock of Ages - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85k10fHZCdU
Heroes Saints and Fools - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcalzVJ5Foo
Horsemen of the aplocalypse - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SblAglPihPg

Digging: Ian Anderson - Homo Erraticus

ViperAces
July 9th 2013



12357 Comments


you got this fucked up dude : D

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2013



18577 Comments


I knew this day would come ;)

Digging: Somos - Temple of Plenty

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 9th 2013



7160 Comments


The ampersand in the LP title screws everything up once again.

Glad you're back to reviewing.

Digging: Lord Mantis - Death Mask

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2013



18577 Comments


Glad you're back to reviewing [2]

good review man, you haven't lost it. pos'd

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2013



14487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ah its the ampersand screwed it up, oh well, thx atari you might like this

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2013



1776 Comments


I saw this band at Hammerfest in 2012 and they were pretty good. The sound reminded me of Rainbow and early marillion, but the keyboardist certainly knew what he was doing. Nice read, it's good to see people covering these long forgotten bands.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2013



14487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

didnt even realise they were still going, yes there are quite a lot of little gems from that period that were overshadowed by Maiden, Saxon, DH etc

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2013



18577 Comments


"thx atari you might like this"

i'm sure i will i'll let you know what i think

TrueBlood
July 9th 2013



1388 Comments


oh shii, sup mena i haven't seen you around in like months

dude sup

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2013



14487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hello, yes had a break from here

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2013



18577 Comments


that's captaindooright in case you're wondering lol

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2013



14487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ah hello capt hehe

ViperAces
July 9th 2013



12357 Comments


3.5 great menawati | July 9th 13
4.5 superb Atheus | December 19th 12
3.5 great menawati | September 18th 12
: O

TrueBlood
July 9th 2013



1388 Comments


not much bro, good to c u back

my faith in sput has been restored due to your return

p/

facupm
July 9th 2013



5565 Comments


sweet cover

Digging: Queens of the Stone Age - Songs for the Deaf

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2013



18173 Comments


Sweet, I'll probably check this out, sounds like something I'd like.
Glad you're back to reviewing [3]


"not much bro"

lol cap, who are you even talking to?

Digging: Benoit Pioulard - Hymnal Remixes

ViperAces
July 9th 2013



12357 Comments


lol jamie hatin on cap'n

TrueBlood
July 9th 2013



1388 Comments


s'all luv bra, luv

tommygun
July 10th 2013



21345 Comments


pos



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