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Into The Labyrinth

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01 Batallions of steel
02 Live to rock
03 Demon Sweeny todd
04 The letter
05 Valley of the kings
06 Slow lane Blues
07 Crime of passion
01 Premonition in D minor
02 Voice
03 Protect yourselves
04 Hellcat
05 Come rock of ages (the circle is complete)
06 Coming home (Bottleneck)
What makes a real rock music legend? A unique, unmistakable sound is a definite must, plus an enigmatic figurehead and proof over many years that even changing fashions and trends cannot harm the group’s popularity. Based on these three characteristics, Saxon are among the few real legends in today’s metal business. For more than three decades, they have inspired their fans with new and powerful releases which – spearheaded by frontman Biff Byford – document this group’s unique style at a constantly high level. Their latest album release, Into The Labyrinth, out on 12 January 2009 (Germany: 9 January 2009, US: 13 January) proves that Saxon mark 2009 haven’t lost any of their of their expressiveness, enthusiasm and inspiration: 13 dynamic, melodic and intelligently arranged metal tracks which have Saxon expand their long series of metal classics by a good dozen new exhibits.

“Stylistically, I would describe the album as an even balance between Lionheart and The Inner Sanctum, a mix of powerful, in-your-face rock songs and pure heavy metal tracks,” Byford explains. Indeed, Into The Labyrinth takes its listeners on an adventurous tour de metal, brilliantly orchestrated by vocalist Byford, the two guitarists Paul Quinn and Doug Scaratt, bassist Nibbs Carter and drummer Nigel Glockler. Into The Labyrinth was recorded at the Twilight Hall in Krefeld, Germany, under the direction of Charlie Bauerfeind, always a sure bet when it comes to top sonic standards. Along with the regular jewel case, the album will be available as a limited edition Digipack including a 70-minute bonus DVD which features, along with a tour documentary and the official ‘Live To Rock’ video clip, Biff as King Arthur in ‘Parcival’.

Into The Labyrinth sees Saxon present to their fans this musical genre’s very own philosophy of life – programmatic titles such as ‘Live To Rock’, ‘Protect Yourselves’ and ‘Battalions Of Steel’ unmistakably documenting the points of view of the musicians involved, while tracks such as ‘Demon Sweeney Todd’ (about the same-named character from a novel, a barber who slit his customers’ throats with a cut-throat razor and sold bits of their bodies in an adjacent pie shop) and ‘Valley Of The Kings’ with its story about the mysterious opening of the grave of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun, look beyond your average rock music clichés.

So we can look forward to the events to come: following a brief autumn tour of the UK and Germany together with Motörhead and Danko Jones in November/December 2008, Saxon will set off for another major world tour in February 2009, only one month after the album release – Battalions Of Steel on the attack, so to speak.

Saxon’s 1979 debut already hinted that a rough diamond was about to emerge. Their second recording, Wheels Of Steel, tuned into a mega seller, as Saxon went on to tour all over the world. The successor, Strong Arm Of The Law, and especially their double platinum release Denim And Leather (1981) reinforced Saxon’s reputation. Tours of America, an appearance at the Monsters Of Rock festival in Castle Donington, and the live album The Eagle Has Landed (1982) (according to Melody Maker “one of the best live recordings of the decade”) followed. Power And Glory (1983) was another classic that caused a stir, particularly in the States. Crusader (1984), oriented towards the US radio charts, was greeted by the odd critical voice that complained about Saxon’s supposed mainstream ambitions. Innocence Is No Excuse in particular met with mixed reactions. “Our Def Leppard album,” was Biff’s retrospective comment on this unusually melodic recording. Rock The Nation and Destiny also faced fair to middling reviews. “Record company and management tried to gear us towards the American market,” Biff explains the Saxon sound of those days. Following a two-year break, the band returned in 1990 with a new record contract and their impressive comeback, Solid Ball Of Rock. The two subsequent releases, Forever Free and Dogs Of War, and the ensuing tour kept the band on their toes, while Saxon succeeded in consolidating their impressive live reputation. Their 1996 live album, The Eagle Has Landed II, followed by Unleash The Beast and Metalhead, proved that the band were ready to face the new millennium, as they went on to release Killing Ground, their best-of release, Heavy Metal Thunder, and their first DVD, The Saxon Chronicles. Now they’re proud to present Lionheart, the latest release by a band with the heart of a lion. Following their 2004 release, Lionheart, the band embarked on one of the longest and most successful tours of their career, a fact that was also reflected by their release, The Inner Sanctum (2007) and extends well into the spheres of their latest offering, Into The Labyrinth. To cut a long story short: Saxon 2009 rock the world!

Interview with Biff by Bruce Dickinson from BBC Radio
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