Saxon – Carpe Diem (2022) – Review

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The avid fan of our ‘zine will surely be aware of our weakness (or fondness) for Heavy Metal and the eons-old movement of NWoBHM. But somehow, RMR never covered the folks over at Saxon.

Yep, these guys cruising alongside the likes of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest for many decades. Yet for some reason, they never got as much glitter as the other folks. Instead, they churned out record after record for over 40 years or so. An impressive and steady music career that wasn’t devoid of its own challenges.

So, here they are ready to unleash steel and fury with their 23rd album to date. Meet Carpe Diem and expect to be surprised. First off, those folks of a ripe old age hit the turntables with a ton of almost gleeful energy that frankly took me aback. And that at a time, when others relax in their recliner and play with their grandkids. A level of juice that clearly knocks most of the young and modern hopefuls clear out of the park.

Already the title track should inflict nightmares on sleepy Dickinson1) with its frenetic battle cry to seize the day. That’s the level of power we searched for far and wide in this post-Heavy Metal roarin’ world of ours. Of course, the material Saxon pushes is for sure nothing new, nor should it be. Instead, you get a fine piece of Heavy Metal driven along by Biff Byford’s high-pitched metal screams. And all that screamin’ and gleamin’ goodness is pristinely bellowed out into the mic as if it was still 1982.

Byford is of course not the sole culprit here. The Quinn / Scarrat guitar tag team is equally guilty for that drive so important to a successful Heavy Metal piece. They not only play at each other but also grace us with an abundance of stellar solos. You know, the real thing, meaty, tailor-made, and no sign anywhere of abject shredding that only exists because they can. That’s true mastery right there and yet another major brownie point that made us twirl the disc more often than we should.

And all of the above creates a delicious sense of urgency that permeates Carpe Diem. Of course, nothing would be possible without that sturdy and – yes – smooth production. Boy, this record sounds great on low-fi devices as well as high-end headphones. The songwriting is so super-tight that no breadth of paper will fit into any space there might ever be left. In other words, if you’re looking for fillers, Carpe Diem ain’t your record.

So, what track would the RMR deck crew recommend? The aforementioned title track, of course. If ’80s-style stout energy overload with an injection of bass is your thing, All For One might be your choice. This track just blew us away. But Remember The Fallen really takes this metallic cake. This one just sounds like some archetype of a Heavy Metal song. And if this slightly smells like something from the maiden folks, this is – well – because it does.

But finally, Carpe Diem is that ultimate metal record we didn’t quite expect to hit our turntables anymore. Not in 2022, and surely not anytime after that. This album is true Dio quality, and I mean that as a real compliment. So, here we are with a splendid load of clean and tasty Heavy Metal that doesn’t hide its NWoBHM roots. Nor should it, ever. Methinks also that it takes old, scarred warhorses to show all of them young weekend warriors how that genre ought to sound. So, all our hails go to Saxon and to a piece of stellar Heavy Metal that truly seized our day. And we can’t get enough of it.

Great Stuff.

Ed’s note: Fancy more wizened rocketry? Try Scorpions‘ latest.


Record Rating: 9/10 | LabelSilver Lining Music | Web: Official Band Site
Release Date: 4 February 2022

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