In terms of tenacity, there are few bands to rival Saxon. During the 80s, the band found themselves among the top tier of British metal acts and, for a time, they seemed unstoppable. Changing fashions meant they fell hugely out of favour throughout the nineties – especially with the press, and especially in the UK – but due to the grit and determination of frontman Biff Byford and guitarist Paul Quinn, the Barnsley boys ploughed on through some pretty lean times, and eventually rode high again in the twenty first century. Off the back of a run of strong albums beginning with 2011’s ‘Call To Arms’, Saxon became popular fixtures on festival bills once again and gradually reclaimed their place as one of British metal’s most important acts.
A global pandemic forced the band off the road in 2020. Robbed of their most natural environment, Biff and company resorted to that time honoured stop gap, the quickly completed covers album. ‘Inspirations’ featured a couple of interesting choices, but was one of those projects that was better in theory. It wasn’t a great release, but it did an important job in keeping everyone’s spirits up until some form of semi-normality returned. It was but a temporary blip, though, since heir twenty third studio album ‘Carpe Diem’ – released in February 2022 – truly reignites the twin engines of Barnsley’s finest denim and leather sons, and features at least a half dozen potential classics among its ten high octane cuts.
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