Hell, Fire And Damnation is a proclamation from Saxon that reaffirms their status as torchbearers of the NWOBHM, combining the best of their storied past with the fire of a band forever marching forward.
British heavy metal stalwarts Saxon proudly present their latest conquest, Hell, Fire And Damnation, and from the get-go, the stakes are raised high as renowned actor Brian Blessed OBE (Peppa Pig, Flash Gordon, Henry V) lends his commanding voice to the opening track, "The Prophecy," turning expectations right up to 11. Fear not, as the mighty Saxon not only meets but exceeds these lofty expectations on their 24th studio album, a modern classic that effortlessly straddles the line between contemporary power and a reverent flexing of the NWOBHM muscle they co-created.
As always, Saxon’s collective confidence permeates every note and beat on the new album. Frontman Biff Byford, a man so sure of his own Metal-ness, he lets you call him Biff, delivers vocals that resonate with a power and richness that bely his age. The rhythmic backbone laid down by drummer Nigel Glockler and bass player Nibbs Carter, lays down the thunderous law, while the guitars of Doug Scarratt and Brian Tatler (of Diamond Head fame) add another fiery dimension. Their interplay is a tribute to their seasoned craftsmanship, carrying an energy and fury that’ll leave you begging for just one more riff. Lyrically, Byford dives into the chronicle of history and mystery, with tales that span Marie Antoinette, Kubla Khan, the Battle of Hastings, the Salem witch trials, and the eternal struggle between good and evil, a familiar theme in the history of metal. It's a lyrical crusade that adds layers of depth to the songs.
All in all, Saxon brings a banquet to the table. The denim and leather-coated super-sprint "Fire And Steel" pays furious tribute to the essence of heavy metal. The electric mid-pace of "Pirates Of The Airwaves" nods affectionately to the birth of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. However, the real gem in this treasure chest of rock might just be "There's Something In Roswell." With its expansive groove and arena-worthy bombast, this track stands out amidst the many jewels on the album. The production, taken care of by Byford and Andy Sneap, adds the final flourish to Saxon's most definitive statement in years.