The 1980s were a halcyon time for heavy metal as its blueprint was laid down and defined in molten steel. Though their self-titled debut, issued in May ’79, displayed some minor flaws, Saxon did as much as anybody to put the genre onto the map. Revealing many of the reasons why, Decade Of The Eagle is a whopping 34-song, double-disc anthology that pulls together the most essential moments from the band’s first nine albums. Just about all of Saxon’s essential early moments are included, from Wheels Of Steel and 747 (Strangers In The Night) to Heavy Metal Thunder and the clarion call of Denim And Leather. Six albums into their career the group were pilloried for trying to break the United States. Sailing To America vindicates those accusations though its era companion, the masterful Crusader, still sounds magnificent. Despite revealing occasional chinks in their armour towards the compilation’s latter stages, if you want to know why Saxon were heroes to Metallica, Pantera and Mötley Crüe, do yourself a favour and pick this up.