Genre: Heavy Metal
Label: Silver Shining
On February 21st 2020, legendary Saxon frontman Biff Byford will step into the spotlight with his first ever solo album, School Of Hard Knocks. Biff Byford has nothing to prove to anyone. 40 glorious years with Saxon and 22 studio albums and thousands of live shows later he can just record whatever he wants. Actually as he doesn’t need your attention or your permission to do so and even though this record could have been released under the moniker of Saxon still Byford has every right to create whatever pleases him. Saxon fans will love the album as there are not so many differences after all between a Saxon album circa 2020 and biffs solo effort. Probably the guitars have a different approaching as Fredrik Åkesson (Opeth) tries a more progy style featuring more shredding at his beautiful leads. Biff also worked with Christian Lundqvist on drums and Gus Macricostas on bass. The album also features guest appearances by Phil Campbell (Motörhead/Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons), Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody of Fire and Turilli / Lione Rhapsody), Nick Barker (Voices), Dave Kemp (Wayward Sons) and Nibbs Carter (Saxon).The artwork is nostalgic as biff wanted to show his sensitive side as the cover shows a place that could have been similar to the place he grew up. The songs have a variety but not so rich as someone could expect showing Byford influences as he was a teenager or at his early beginnings as a singer. So, ok there’s nothing extravaganza or big surprises here, but still this is a fine record to start the year or until the new Saxon arrives on late 2020 or early 2021. Highlights: the two covers on Throw Down The Sword (Wishbone Ash) and Scarborough Fair (Simon & Garfunkel) and Welcome To The Show, School Of Hard Knocks, The Pit And The Pendulum and Worlds Collide. School Of Hard Knocks was produced by Biff Byford, recorded by Jacky Lehmann at Brighton Electric Studios in Brighton (UK) and mixed at Queen Street Studios in Stockholm (Sweden) by Mats Valentin.