Saxon – “Unplugged and Strung Up”

“Unplugged and Strung Up”
(UDR Music)

Bold as brass Barnsley rockers Saxon have returned, this time with an ambitious package of orchestral versions and re-recordings of their classic numbers. If this were the average band I’d say that were a gamble. But given this is Saxon, the guys who told famed promoter Harvey Goldsmith where to go, you can be sure they wouldn’t take a punt on anything that could damage their 37 year legacy! True to their reputation, they have taken some of their more epic and softer material over the years and rather than hide it away or give it a ‘re-mix’ instead introduced orchestral dynamics to offer an added dimension, turning songs like ‘Crusader’ and ‘Broken Heroes’ into true classic rock anthems. I should mention that the songs remain true to their original form, and have not been embarrassingly tinkered into some sorta poor man’s Beethoven or something like that. The re-recorded material works a treat too – ‘Stallions Of The Highway’ screams right at you like it were 1979 again – but louder – and the acoustic version of ‘Frozen Rainbow’ has brought a classy, contemporary feel to this power ballad from Saxon’s first album with it’s Spanish guitar and Biff’s own soulful vocals coming into their own. All in all a superb re-invigoration heralding a worthy entry to the Saxonian Institute of Metal. With the digipack version including 2002’s re-recorded hits “Heavy Metal Thunder” thrown in as a bonus, Saxon have already bagged their turkeys for Christmas!

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