Deep breath….this is a big ‘un! Saxon’s The Solid Book Of Rock comprises not only all 9(!) of Saxon’s studio albums from 1991 to 2009 but ALSO eight bonus tracks AND two bonus CDs!.
This metal-tastic Book Set also contains three bonus DVDs – the limited-edition DVDs originally released with Lionheart, The Inner Sanctum and Into The Labyrinth. All this comes packaged in a sumptuous 24 page 12” x 12” booklet with all the lyrics and credits, plus photos with fabulous brand-new cover painting by Paul R. Gregory!
An exclusive limited-edition containing a print signed by the one and only Biff Byford will also be available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2rODyxo
With no access to the DVD’s this review focuses solely on the music (no bad thing) and seemed like an ideal opportunity to reassess this important part of Saxon’s estimable history.
Let’s break this shit down one by one….
Solid Ball Of Rock (1991)
Track Listing: Altar Of The Gods / Requiem (We Will Remember) / Lights In the Sky/ I Just Can’t Get Enough / Baptism Of Fire / Ain’t Gonna Take It / I’m On Fire / Overture In B-Minor / Refugee / Bavarian Beaver / Crash Dive
Bonus Tracks: Requiem (We Will Remember) [single version] / Reeperbahn Stomp
Thank fuck for Solid Ball Of Rock! While Saxon have been unbelievably consistent over the years, there’s no denying that they hit a career low point with the release of Rock The Nations (1986) and Destiny (1988) and fans seemed to desert them in their droves.
Solid Ball Of Rock would change all that.
Manning up and returning to the speed metal of old – “Altar Of Gods” is still a rip-roaring mutha of a track – proved to be a canny move and while the self-titled opener maintained the chart bothering attempts of “Ride Like The Wind”, it at least had a little more meat on its bones.
This was the turning point, the moment when Saxon grabbed metal by the balls and reminded fans why they fell in love with them in the first place. And, as the rest of this retrospective proves, they’ve rarely faltered in the 26 years that followed!
Ironically solid. 7/10
The addition of “Requiem (We Will Remember)” [single version] may be a little throwaway as bonuses go but it’s a nice little extra while “Reeperbahn Stomp” is a jaunty number, a boogie-blues stomp that screams B-Side but still brings a smile to your face.