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on May 12, 2004
Man, these guys can sure make music! Saxon is at their metalhead best when they stay away from restricting themselves to a singular musical concept, and this album does it with just good old fashioned hard rock. Saxon has been one of my all time favorite bands...I remember eagerly awaiting a special order vinyl version of "Wheels Of Steel" over 20 years ago. What a history these guys have had.
One of Saxon's strong suits, and frankly it slays me why their popularity has have exploded in the US, is that they bring so much energy to their music, both recorded and live. Saxon is not power metal, but a majestic hybrid mixture of positive powerful hard rock and heavy metal. Their song writing and music have matured and evolved exponentially in the last 30 years to hard rock perfection; what heavy music should engender.
Biff Byford has the quintassential "majestic" rock voice, and I swear it sounds as good here on Killing Ground as it did on the first album I bought, "Denim & Leather." What appeals to me on this album (in my advancing age along with Saxon) are the addition of some groove oriented rockers that move along at the 4/4 time pace, and simply burn an indelible image. The guitars on this album by Doug and Paul are not as much in your face as in younger days, and support the song structures very effectively. The grinding and pumping riffage, and soloing is still there, but appropriately and tastefully so. My favorite songs here are "Coming Home," "Hell Freezes Over," "You Don't Know What You've Got" and "Deeds of Glory." A special favorite, living in Southern California, is "Running For The Border," with numerous references to Mexico (these guys are from England, and rarely, if ever, make it west of the Mississippi....hilarious!).
I know that time will eventually take these guys away, but they are just so good that I hope they NEVER retire! I wish they could get their asses to CA for a concert some day; they'd be surprised at the turnout!
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on September 2, 2003
I've watched SAXON live in May, 2002. It was a very small gig, just five hundred people in the audience. I had never watched them live before. Man, what a gig! What energy and enthusiasm. They could not have cared less if the place was empty. Their profissionalism was in control, they delivered everything they got, mainly bassist Nibbs Carter. Biff's voice has IMPROVED with time, amazing! There were no tricks, no overdubs, no playbacks: it was his powerful voice going through the songs all the time.
So, soon after the gig I bought KILLING GROUND (the limited edition). Man, what a job! Giving sequence to their last great albums UNLEASH THE BEAST and METALHEAD, this one here is breathtaking. The quality of production is just the best. The second CD featuring old classics re-recorded is also majestic.
SAXON is a phenomenon. They lost their way in the eighties, trying to adapt their sound to radio and America, but they failed. Since then, it has been a long road back to their metal best, including fighting in court with ex-members Dawnson and Oliver. They are doing it, they are successfull again, even in this environment totally opposite to metal. Also, SAXON has an easily recognizable style, but they manage to do it with a different touch in every album, unlike, for example, Iron Maiden or AC/DC.
KILLING GROUND is a fantastic rock album, simple as it.
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on May 19, 2003
After the disappointing and rather modern sounding "Metalhead", Saxon returned to what they know best - traditional heavy metal with it's roots in New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. The album (released in 2001) starts with an instrumental and unnecessary intro before Biff & Co blast away with the hard rocking "Killing ground" on which they revisiting the war theme once again. The material is quite strong the whole way through the album, and Saxon deliver some songs equally good as in their prime. The great "Coming home" is built around a very groovy guitar riff not that far from Whitesnake's "Ready an' willing", and as "Rock is our life" begin you can hear musical connections to Iron Maiden. The excellent "Deeds of glory" (a song that easily could have been included on any album from the 1980's) is classic Saxon, and must be regarded as one of the band's finest ever. All this combined with tracks like the groovy and heavy "Running for the border" and the traditional sounding "Hell freezes over" with the pumping "one-tone-bass" (in A?) with a guitar sling over it (compare "Dallas 1pm" or "Strong arm of the law") makes this is a very strong effort from Saxon.
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on October 20, 2001
Wow! After the great "Metalhead" hopes are up for another great Saxon-release. And I wasn't disappointed. This is even better than "Metalhead" and it has even knocked "Power And The Glory" from it's position as the best Saxon-album ever. Classic hit after classic hit is what's on offer here.
"Dragon's Lair" - Lyrically perhaps a bit too much German powermetal, but what a great song! Catchy riffs, great drumming and a great vocal delivery from Biff.
"Deeds Of Glory" - Classic metal with classic Saxon-lyrics. Every bit as good as "Power And The Glory" and "Stand Up And Be Counted". Has a great and mighty chorus.
"Court Of The Crimson King" - A cover of the King Crimson-song. Instead of the flutes and organs of the original, we are here offered acoustic and electric guitar. Much, much better than the original.
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on October 17, 2001
Saxon have been building momentum since 1997 and their latest opus is the culmination of that process.In other words it is a stunning power metal album coming from a legendary founder of the genre.In their tradition of exceptional covers,their metallized version of "In the Court of the Crimson King" brings new life to the original,while "Coming Home" is a guaranteed Saxon classic;other higlights on this very even album are "Hell Freezes Over" and "Shadows on the Wall" with its apocalyptic lyrics.A very solid guitar crunch with the characteristic grooves and more meaningful lyrics this time around make a strong case for the fact that,indeed,"Rock is Our Life".
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on December 18, 2001
SAXON finally found its way again since 1997's UNLEASH THE BEAST, their best record in years, much better than previous records. They are mantaining this good moment, with METALHEAD and, now, KILLING GROUND. Even with another line-up change (drummer Nigel Glockler is gone, the band delivered another solid album. But, please, don't believe the reviews that say this is their best album or better than POWER AND THE GLORY, for example. This is simply not true, nor even posible. Time can't come back.
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on May 19, 2004
saxon are one of the bands that really didn't diverisify into commercial aspect in this album, they kept playing true heavy metal. songs like rock is our life, killing ground, dragon's lair and deeds of glory express their roots glory back to crusader and power of glory. i can't get rid of thi album , i bought this album several months ago and i m still listening to it until now. Saxon doesn't even need a review because they don't let you down . rock is our life!!!
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on October 13, 2001
As I said, like this one much better than the last one. It starts out with a "Crusader"-like intro into the title track. Most all the songs are strong, but "Coming Home" & "Don't Know What You Got" really stand out. The production is great, Biff's voice sounds as unique & charismatic as always, & the playing is top notch as usual. It's quite good; not their best, but if you like this band, you won't be disappointed.
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on November 30, 2003
this CD is rock solid from start to finish. Saxon's songwriting skills and instrumental talent shines in this 2001 release. KG is my favorite studio release since Solid Ball of Rock 10 years earlier.
this is a great starting point for new fans and a must for any Saxon die-hard. check out Heavy Metal Thunder as well, an excellent set of classic Saxon songs re-recorded with the current lineup.
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on May 20, 2002
...Woooshhhh what a band!! What a performance!! Even some songs that I did not know (from MEtalhead) made me enthusiasthic!!!!!
KILLING GROUND is their best album since their return to form begun in 1997's UNLEASH THE BEAST.
But watching them live is a wonderful experience!
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