Tuesday, November 27, 2012

SAXON: "Heavy Metal Thunder - The Movie"

Label: UDR 2012
Review by Alan Holloway

“Fill your heads with heavy metal thunder” bellowed Biff Byford back in the days when men were men and women wee groupies. British NWOBHM stalwarts Saxon may not have known it back in 1979, but they were in for a long haul, and although frequently eclipsed by Iron Maiden they have emerged as one of the most genuine, talented bands to tread the boards.

This documentary basically takes us from the early days of Son Of A Bitch, through the glory years and the lean ones, climaxing with the band’s 30th Anniversary album “Into The Labyrinth”. There’s some rare footage, although it’s mostly a case of individual talking heads just telling their story. It’s good to see Graham Oliver and Steve ’Dobby’ Dawson contributing, with Dawson’s tales of groupie love the most entertaining thing here. Don’t hold out any hopes for a reunion, though, as although the ex members would go for it, Biff firmley nixes the idea. Still, you never know…

It’s an entertaining film, an hour and a half of reminiscence that is well put together. It’s not as good as Iron Maiden’s (them again) “Early Years” docs, but it’s solid enough and will be adored by fans. Of equal interest is the second disc, which chucks in all sorts of stuff just in case you find some of it interesting. There’s short (10-15 minutes) docs on the making of “Into The Labyrinth”, Crusader” and “Innocence Is No Excuse”, all of which are a good watch, plus a 22 minute feature on the Saxon/Motorhrad tour which reunited the bands 30 years after they first toured together (which cost Saxon £5000). Also included is a 50 minute St Georges Day concert from 2008, and most interestingly a 50 minute live show filmed in 1981 for the programme “Beat Club”. It’s a great show, although the guitars are a little tinny, and I dare you not to stare at Biff’s crotch through the oh-so-tight spandex strides.

There’s not really much more to say, as this is a package that all fans of the band should own. The price is excellent (if you shop about on t’internet), the content surprisingly generous, and the music, of course, fookin’ rocks.

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