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Unleash the Beast

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Album Review

At some point during the mid-'90s, the now defunct CMC International (later to transform into the grossly irresponsible record industry cautionary tale, Sanctuary Records) seemingly found a way to sign every available "no longer hip" heavy metal band on the planet; so it was only a matter of time before they snapped up fallen New Wave of British Heavy Metal icons Saxon. As un-hip as they were, though, the reality was that Saxon had then-recently enjoyed a highly unexpected return to favor among discerning metal heads, thanks to a string of steadily improving albums, which, if not quite harbingers of a commercial breakthrough (heck, such thoughts were what got the band in trouble to begin with), certainly justified the renewed interest among the band's core. Too bad, then, that Unleash the Beast represented a small step backwards in the group's gradual rehabilitation process. Mind you, aesthetically speaking, the members of Saxon (including guitarist Doug Scarratt, stepping in for departed founding member Graham Oliver) were keeping their eyes on the prize — stay the course, stay heavy, stay metal — but creatively, Unleash the Beast's songs simply lacked quite the same inspiration of previous efforts. Stand-out tracks like "Terminal Velocity," "Circle of Light," and "The Preacher" came surrounded by a larger number of indistinct efforts, which, if nothing else, comprised possibly the heaviest sounds and darkest lyrics of Saxon's career; a fact which certainly earned points with the more-is-more element of the heavy metal audience. Perhaps more crucially, Unleash the Beast and the association with CMC made it possible for Saxon to tour America for the first time in almost a decade, and thus contributed to their steady climb back into the heavy metal conscience, leading to even more widespread success in the new millennium.

Customer Reviews


I bought this CD in 97 and it is one of my favorites. Songs have so much meaning in each of them...a wll written album in my opinion

You're a Saxon fan are ya?

Then you already own this one.


Formed: 1977 in Barnsley, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Saxon was one of the early leaders of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, alongside Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, even outdistancing them at the onset, only to see their career slide into comparative obscurity within a few years, due to a series of bad decisions and bad breaks. Internal strife also severely stunted the band's momentum toward the end of the '80s, yet Saxon somehow persevered, recording and performing consistently into the 21st century, and ultimately attaining a semblance of second-tier...
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Unleash the Beast, Saxon
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