Saxon

The Eagle Has Landed III

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It was on the concert stage (or more precisely, their local bar's stage) that the majority of New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands caused an initial buzz in their native land. And one of the genre's most popular live acts at the time was Saxon. Thus far, the group has issued countless live sets over the years, and 2006 saw the latest entry in their ongoing The Eagle Has Landed series. Recorded during various Europe dates circa 2004 and 2005, the double-disc Eagle Has Landed, Vol. 3 contains both blasts from the past and new tracks (disc one focusing on their early days through 1984, while the majority of disc two focuses on 1991 through 2004). Saxon 2006 only sees two original bandmembers still in attendance -- singer Biff Byford and guitarist Paul Quinn -- but Saxon's signature, anthemic metal sound remains intact. With Saxon's '80s era considered by most fans to be their strongest, the first disc is expectedly the better of the two, as it includes "Never Surrender," "And the Bands Played On," "Warrior" (which sounds like Kill 'Em All-era Metallica), and "Crusader." As evidenced by the second disc, Saxon's '90s-era material was certainly an improvement over the group's overly commercial material of the mid-to-late '80s ("Lionheart," "Beyond the Grave," etc.) but wasn't exactly as fist-pumping/headbanging-inducing as, say, "Wheels of Steel."

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