Coming to the Rescue

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It's widely agreed among metal heads that Saxon's artistic peak was in the early '80s, when the Biff Byford-led band issued such N.W.O.B.H.M. classics as 1980's Wheels of Steel, 1981's Denim and Leather, and 1983's Power & the Glory. As a result, most old-school Saxon fans will certainly be interested in the 2002 double-disc archival compilation Coming to the Rescue. The first disc includes rare tracks (most of which have never been heard by the metal masses before) from early in the band's career -- some even predating their debut, 1979's Saxon -- while the third disc chronicles the group's appearance at the 1980 Castle Donington/Monsters of Rock festival. While most of the tracks on the first disc don't match up to such later U.K. hits as "Never Surrender" and "And the Bands Played On," you can easily picture a teenaged Lars Ulrich playing air drums to such cuts as "Turn Out the Lights" and "Stallions of the Highway." Disc two fares better, as the band was coming into its own by this period -- sharing the stage that day with such metal heavy hitters as Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, and Rainbow. And they matched up surprisingly well with the big boys, as evidenced by fine versions of "Wheels of Steel" and "747 (Strangers in the Night)." For fans of early Saxon and the N.W.O.B.H.M. troubled by the state of metal in the early 21st century, Coming to the Rescue arrived just in the nick of time.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:20
2 5:21
3 6:00
4 4:05
5 3:39
6 4:54
7 5:34
8 1:54
9 5:40
10 1:49
11 3:26
12 3:08
13 3:35
14 7:07
blue highlight denotes track pick