Saxon

Dogs of War [Bonus Tracks]

(CD - Steamhammer #74112)

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Though early-'90s albums like Solid Ball of Rock and Forever Free showed encouraging signs that New Wave of British Heavy Metal stalwarts Saxon still had a few aces left in their deck, a three-year recording hiatus and another independent label change hardly foreshadowed an imminent return to full-strength. And yet the bums from Barnsley came damn close to achieving just that with their next effort, 1995's Dogs of War, which, along with the positively thunderous title track for the ages, featured a slew of winning numbers like the biker anthem "Big Twin Rolling (Coming Home)," the ominous "Great White Buffalo" (not the Ted Nugent song), and the slate-cleaning mission statement of "Yesterday's Gone." In fact, there wasn't an outright dud in sight (okay, "Walking Through Tokyo" kinda sucked) but it's fair to say the album hit home with a level of confidence and, most importantly, honesty, which Saxon hadn't displayed since their glory days. No more mindless arena anthems and sappy ass ballads for the American market, no more bullsh*t, just straight-ahead heavy metal for their long-suffering faithful, and a fitting last call for longtime guitarist Graham Oliver, who bowed out of the group after two decades of service following this release. [This edition contains bonus tracks.]

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