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Thunderbolt is for the most part moving with the course of Saxon's preceding 5 records during the last 10 years and their fans aren't handed any inventing stuff or surprising material at all, like for example with Kingdom Of The Cross on their last record, 2015's Battering Ram.
The question is however if fans to the band actually want any changes in musical direction or even expect the band to broaden its perspective anymore and most people know what happened when the band made an attempt to become more mainstream somewhere around the mid '80s in order to sweeten their American audience. Also bear in mind that this epic decline from their heydays and indisputably their all-time number 1 failure in choice happened although a lot of songs on those albums are in fact pretty damn good once you're starting to realize that it's just a different side of the band.
One must have the right to wonder just how many records someone can come out with before even hardcore followers eventually get tired of listening to a band and their new records and their highly recognizable sound. Personally I feel like I've heard this quite a few times by now and even if I deep within knew from the get-go that this music is often good and also delightful to heavy metal fans, it still was a little harder to find true excitement in the beginning for what was coming from the speakers. I mean, you tend to recognize main riffs, type of licks, vocal melodies and drum beat rhythms even after just a couple of records and here we are with a band that has put out albums frequently since 1979.
Even if the band obviously is sonically sticking close to their recent releases and staying kind of on the safe side in what they do, it's a rather heavy album almost from start to finish, which to me shows that there are no evident signs nor even a suspicious hint of putting this bullet train to a halt quite yet. Biff Byford the Mighty still delivers strong too, even though he has reached a highly respectable 67 years of age by the time of the street date for this record, and naturally, besides continuously producing valid music, his prominent contribution and his great attitude towards his fans are reasons for Saxon's longevity as well.
They do manage to capitalize on simply their style of music in some way. It's just good music no matter how you try to twist and turn back and forward what they've managed to put out this time. The guitar playing with its riffing, hooks and melody is indeed well up to par still to this very day, even if it in most people's minds never will get a fair chance to reach anywhere near the status of the classic stuff of course.
If you choose to concentrate on the fact that progress and growth between the last couple of records are damn close to none, you will maybe find this one a little bit dull and ordinary, but if you on the other hand don't take into account too much what Saxon has done in the last decade or so and simply focus on this current release, you will probably see this album as one more fine moment in the band's prosperous career. I guess it's up to each his own to decide which path to walk this time and sure, it's recognizable, but personally I go with the second option and hand out another nice rating to these hard working Brits.
also review of: Battering
Ram , Warriors
Of The Road - The Saxon Chronicles Part II , St.
George's Day Sacrifice - Live In Manchester , Sacrifice
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Metal Thunder: Live , Into
The Labyrinth , Lionheart
Metal Thunder: Live DVD , The