Genre: N.W.O.B.H.M./Heavy Metal
Label: Silver Lining Music
Another album another triumph could easily in one actually phrase less than a cookers sentence with only 4 words describe as a modern Spartan Saxon’s 23rd studio album entitled Carpe Diem. Of course in September 2019 with the heart attack suffered by front man Biff Byford and the COVID-19 pandemic following no one could predict such a great return. Or not? Let’s all admit that Saxon never failed to deliver a good album and not only their dedicated fans somehow knew that once again that in the end the final result would be something worth mentioning. Still the hard and rough road that Saxon had ride this almost 3 years were the excellent environment for a bunch old dogs to show their teeth; after all when things get tough the tough get going…
“Carpe Diem” translated from Latin into English as “seize the day” (there is a song by Metallica in 1997’s “Reload” with this title) is actually more than a tile as it stands like a statement or a message from the band on how they see life.
Following Inspirations that was a decent work that featured covers on bands that Saxon like “Carpe Diem” has one of the simplest yet fine artwork covers that the British have in their albums. The production is excellent, not too modern not “plastic” but clean and solid. The album opens with the s/t, a dynamic composition with epic touches dealing with Roman Empire. “Age of Steam” is full of heavy riffs and an excellent chorus, “The Pilgrimage” is a power ballad that follows slowdowns the frenetic rhythm (watch the video here) before “Dambusters” that is an instant classic picks the pace again. The story is based on Sir Barnes Neville Wallis life. Wallis is best known for inventing the bouncing bomb used by the Royal Air Force in Operation Chastise (the “Dambusters” raid) to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley during World War II. The raid was the subject of the 1955 film The Dam Busters, in which Wallis was played by Michael Redgrave. “Remember the Fallen” proves that a fast song can also be a sentimental track (there’s a video for it) and it talks about the people that died from COVID-19. “Super Nova” is a genuine rocker while haunting keyboards appear on “Lady In Gray”. “All for One” is based on classic Dumas’ novel The Three Musketeers and is another amusing metallic rocker. “Black is the Night” is a mid tempo born to bang your head while the closer is probably one of the best tracks Saxon have written the last years. Fast, old school, simple, raw with sing along chorus “Living on the Limit” is a100% N.W.O.B.H.M. anthem that closes emphatically the album.
I have to mention that the rhythm section is an incredible condition as bassist Nibbs Carter and drummer Nigel Glockler have done a marvelous job here, leaving space for Doug Quinn’s-Scarratt‘s riffing to shine. If 2018’s “Thunderbolt” “was another strong album that carries the seal of the simple yet catchy riffs of Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt and Byffs badass vocals” as I was writing 4 years ago-and I stick to my point-, then “Carpe Diem” is as I mentioned in my first sentence, is a triumph.