on 19 October 2004
I first came across this album from a British band about 15 years ago. It blew me away then, it still does. An awesome album. If you only buy one Saxon CD, make it this one. Never Surrender, Denim and Leather, Princess of the Night. Etc. All good songs and will blow the cobwebs out your ears. All up-beat, but not 'samey', each song has its own beat and it's own place on the album. So just let your hair down, lean forward, and press 'play'..
on 12 January 2008
I first bought this album almost thirty years ago but have only recently treated myself to the cd. I love new music, buying 4-5 albums a week so it is unusual for me to revisit past albums. The reason I did was because I was given a USB turntable and started to copy my old albums. The reproduction was disappointing but this album was not. Tracks Princess of the Night are still wonderful and Denim and Leather must remind most of us how we were. Great light metal album, if you have not heard, it buy it.
on 28 August 2009
wow its hard to belive it was 28 years ago already when this classic was released, i think by this period in 1981 saxon where at there prime and they where one of the best metal bands in the world at this point, saxon was right up there with maiden, priest and motorhead, the bonus tracks on here are fantastic as well, i am just now waiting for the last 3 saxon albums from the 80s to come out with bonus tracks and get this treatment, we are still missing innocence ( 85), rock the nations (86) and destiny (88) i know they where not some of saxons most popular albums but ive been a major saxon fan since 81 now and i have every album they ever put out and there is always something special on each one, saxon is my favorite british metal band!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
on 13 May 2008
This is a fantastic Saxon record (which also serves to highlight the disappointing efforts that followed). The preceeding "Strong Arm" & "Wheels Of Steel" albums along with this record, form a trilogy of NWOBHM classics.
The opening track "Princess Of The Night" gets the mood set before we crash into the defiant "Never Surrender" & the lusty "Out Of Control".
There is the "hit" single "And The Bands Played On" (about the Monsters Of Rock festival if memory serves) & finished off with the anthemic, concert sing along "Denim & Leather" (that song meant alot to alienated young rock fans at the time, as I recall).
Their last really decent record & it's a classic !
Simply put this was the third of a trio of classic albums by saxon after the 'wheels' and 'strong arm' discs,at the time they were head and shoulders above any other of the nwobhm bands maiden and lepard included,sadly this wouldnt be sustained.Listening to this remastered cd its apparent that the sound quality is superior to the first 3 remasters and indeed thats true of the 'power' and 'crusader' releases.From the opening riff of Princes of the night this disc transports me back to my teenage years and indeed Denim and Leather's lyrics pretty much sum up my youth,fantastic memories,the original album is class from start to finish and the bonus live tracks highlight why the 'Eagle has landed' should have been a double,play it loud and midnight rider particularly unlucky to have been left off.Saxon were on a roll at this point and this is a perfect example of a great british metal band at the top of their game,buy and enjoy,relive your teenage years,just watch yer neck,too much headbanging can severely curtail your weekend.
on 19 June 2006
This is the second metal album I ever owned, and the first CD I ever got for any kind of music. Every time I hear the opening riff to "Princess of the Night" (an awesome song about-wait for it-steam trains!) I go all misty-eyed and nostalgic when I remember how my dad got it for me in christmas 2001 without even knowing it was metal, when neither of us had heard of the band, but the album name and cover art sort of give it away. Saxon are great at what they do, bringing catchy tunes with ridiculously up-beat lyrics to what is known as the N.W.O.B.H.M. I recommend this if you like AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, or Angelwitch, because as the closing title track correctly points out, "Denim and Leather brought us all together".
on 25 August 2010
There was a time when Biff and the boys were just a bunch of working class blokes from up north. Before the onset in Saxon's lyrical content of grandiose minstral style tales of Great Kings, bold Crusades and exciting space travel etc Biff's feet were more grounded on the rough back streets of Barnsley. The album Denim and Leather (like its predecessor Wheels of Steel) sums this `street level' aggression up perfectly. Here Biff is defiantly `Rough and Ready' tonight, he'll `Never Surrender' when his backs against the wall and he'll `Play it Loud', squaring up to a life guard (presumably at the local outdoor municipal swimming pool and not Saint Tropez) when asked to `turn it down'. This earthy feel runs through most of the cd, whether it's Biff sat by the main railway line watching the mail trains thundering passed (Princess of the Night), posing in his biker leathers on his big bike on the cover pictures or recalling the devoted fans trudging through the ice and snow to get to one of his gigs (Denim and Leather). And although not as slick as Strong Arm Of The Law that followed it, the down to earth no messing about feel to this translates to the music. Evergreen classics such as Princess of The Night, with it's urgent, instantly recognisable, stabbing riff, rub shoulders perfectly with the delightfully throw away Play It Loud and Rough and Ready, the landscaped biographical Midnight Rider, the call to arms of the title track and the all out power surge of Fire in the Sky. This album is hugely enjoyable, assisted by a production job that has a lightness of touch which gives the whole a summery feel good factor.
Is it the best Saxon studio album? I think this accolade goes to Strong Arm Of The Law, but it's better than the flawed almost classic Wheels of Steel that it came after.
Denim & leather was released when Saxon were at the height of their powers. Instead of being viewed as out of date and out of touch, as it is now, rock was what dominated the charts in the eighties. A time for classic albums such as 'British steel', 'no sleep 'til Hammersmith' & AC/DC, Ozzie & even Zeppelin were rampant in the charts.
Saxon's time at the top was brief in comparison to the aforementioned and they overall found themselves somewhere between the very top and the lesser known voices like Budgie.
Part of a growing backlash to the by now stale sound of punk Saxon took rock back to it's basic's with a heavy heavy powerchord, urgent and commanding vocals from Biff Byford and a sparse use of riffage all tied up with driving basslines and heavy drums.
I have to admit that 'Wheels of steel' is my favourite album for the 2 excellent singles that really saw Saxon take flight but it has to be said that 'Denim & leather' is not short of power and some very memorable tracks. The real point with this release is the life breathed into the album due to some spot on remastering and the excellent bonus live tracks are more than just filler and include a track from their appearance at the famed 'Monsters of rock' at Donnington. The Hammersmith set is what shows the bands live ability to it's greatest advantage and stands up well even against what is surely the holy grail of live rock, Motorhead's 'No sleep 'til Hammersmith'. This is well worth revisiting in it's new & polished up edition & if you have not heard Saxon before & are wondering what they have to offer then give this a try. If you like what you hear then keep an eye out in the music mags for new releases & gig dates as nearly 30 years on Biff & the band are still going strong.
on 6 May 2008
Saxon, the undisputed kings of South Yorkshire Gumby metal (SYGM) and general all round scrappy Yorkshire Terrier's of NWOBHM. Biff and the boys get a fairly bad reputation both inside and outside of the metal scene. Why you ask? Well, some strange people see the whole Spinal Tap comparison as a negative thing...bizarre. But if you can get over the short comings of Biff Byford's wardrobe, you'll surely find some of the greatest rocked up metal around.
NWOBHM was a complete mess of sounds, generally using an umbrella term to keep the music press happy (much like the did with grunge ten years later). Venom sounded like a washing machine full of bricks, Def Leppard spent too much time on their backing vocals, Witchfynde, Witchfinder General, Witchfynder General, General Fynder Witch all imploded without too much hassle and all delivered some unfocused variant from the Sabbath mould, but Saxon just provided a most enjoyable AC/DC meets Priest rocking groove which pleased both rock and metal fans. If you enjoyed `British Steel' era Priest then this will be right up your street, if not then I suggest you try before you buy saving us the "Saxon ist not krieg!" reviews.
Four out of the eight songs here stand up to me as absolute metal classics, guarded in metal's sacred halls by the Thundercats, yeah, why not? `Princess of the Night' is embryonic speed metal and has some deceptively simple riffing. Saxon being as they are didn't sing much about Satan and Valhalla as such this song is about bloody trains. Not even trains carrying legions of the night to do battle with angels, just a train bringing Biff his copy of Gumby monthly. `Never Surrender' is a ripping "backs against the wall" type song with brilliant generic bouncy NWOBHM riffs and an effortlessly catchy chorus. No so much trains in this one. `And the Bands Played On' is perhaps the greatest Saxon songs ever, with it's sing along lead lines (ala `747') and nicely layered riffs. It was Saxon's ode to the 1980 Monsters of Rock festival, at which they apparently killed at. It is also of note that Saxon writes a song dedicated to every gig they've ever done, yes really;
`Dunstable Civic Hall, 1995, there was 155 there!'. `Denim and Leather' is another NWOBHM anthem and understandably a live favourite- a masterpiece of Gumby metal sing along brilliance. Isn't the `maybe you can learn play the bass' line comedy gold? After dreaming of guitar and smashing the drums, the bass must be learnt as a afterthought...if one line in metal ever did capture all the mystic of the faceless bassist then this is it! Anyway, it's one of the best AC/DC songs AC/DC never wrote.
The other songs here are generally excellent too. `Fire in the Sky' is an good old slab of NWOBHM speed, with some excellent guitar harmonies and Priest aspiring solos. `Play it Loud' is a lovable romp about never turning your music down and kicking lifeguards who take a disliking to Deep Purple (maybe it was Candice Night?). `Midnight Rider' is the only song I don't enjoy here, it reeks of `Hello America' and musically it does nothing that the other tracks don't do better. I mean I know your from Barnsley and are totally stoked by "bloody automobile highways" and "sun shining all of t' bloody night" but spare me the details.
Saxon always have been economic rather than flashy and `Denim and Leather' stands up as an excellent example of heavy metal precision, much like those steam engines Biff is so obsessed by (who is he Fred bleeding Dibnah? Steeplejack heavy metal!). The band generally perform excellently with lots of memorable hooks, riffs and solos. Pete Gill's performance was a bit disappointing for me as I was already aware of his phenomenal drumming with Motörhead and as such I knew he could sound a lot better than he does here...not that this is Lars Ulrich drumming by any means.
Looking to get all nostalgic for a time when England actually still was a proud heavy metal nation? Look no further, Biff and the boys will have you leathered up in no time (no, not lathered, bad Pete) and rocking away in a time when every metal fan dressed like some denim clad refugee.
on 12 March 2008
Iconic NWOBHM album. I feel pride and tears well up inside me when I listen to the title track and remember the days of wearing the uniform that ironically set us free. Put it on, turn it up and feel the burn up the back of your neck.