Hardy perennials Saxon just keep on keeping on, much like that other beloved, unending institution, Motörhead.
And as the name suggests, Saxon’s new offering, Battering Ram, is hardly subtle. This is heavy metal made by a heavy metal band for heavy metal fans. Fashion, trends and flavours of the month be damned – these Barnsley bruisers are not playing for the press, but for those that actually buy the tickets.
There are no great surprises here; you can always depend on the Yorkshire yeomanry for solid, crunching heavy metal. The title track sets out their covenant with the fans who have stuck with them through the decades, and the likes of Hard And Fast and Stand Your Ground are exactly what you might expect. Following on where 2013’s Sacrifice left off, replete with crunching production care of Andy Sneap, Saxon’s 21st full-length is still a very modern-sounding record with the emphasis squarely on the metal with no hint of the rock’n’roll of their 80s albums.
And so Battering Ram is a solid set of songs that, while not exactly pushing boundaries or blazing new trails, will satisfy their core audience. Denim and leather? Long may Saxon keep them together!