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We came here to ROCK!
on 5 December 2011
When Saxon run out of songs about the Crusades, Chernobyl, the Sheffield miners, standing in queues, steam trains, King Midas, Panzer tanks, the Kennedy Assassination, the moon landings, the bluebird speed record, nuclear war, airlines in distress and the American Indians they sing about ROCK and ROCKING! The following choice cuts are some of the few that I can remember: 'Rock the Nations', 'Bad Boys Like to Rock and Roll', 'Rock N Roll Gypsy', 'Rockin' Again', 'Just Let Me Rock', 'Stand Up And Rock', 'This Town Rocks', 'Solid Ball Of Rock', 'I've Got To Rock', 'We Came Here To Rock', 'Can't Stop Rockin'', 'Rock is Our Life', 'Make Em Rock', 'Live To Rock', 'Come Rock Of Ages' and so on. When inspiration really runs out then it's time to issue an album with ROCK in the title - hence, the imaginatively titled 'Rock The Nations'.
So it is hard to imagine how the mighty Saxon came up with an album more bereft of ideas and originality than this one (with the notable exceptions of the excellent 'Battle Cry', the clunking but oddly memorable title track and the breezy single 'Waiting For The Night', particularly as it's sandwiched between the slick radio friendly 'Innocence' and 'Destiny' EMI albums, both of which are aimed squarely at the US market, dominated at the time by the emerging Bon Jovi's/Def Leppards of the world. Everything from the inane subject matter of the songs, the basic textbook arrangements, the packaging and the truly, truly dismal production lacks inspiration. The lumpen 'Crusader' was the start of the slide from greatness in the 80s (although it has some medieval charms) and this completes the job. 'Party til you Puke', with Elton John hammering away on a piano, sums this turkey up admirably.
Cognicent of the fact that the majority of people don't find my earlier review helpful I revisited this CD and I have re written the review for these people as follows:
Saxon `came here to Rock' and Rock! they certainly do on this great cd. Opener `Rock the Nations' is a massive call to arms for the United Nations. Biff ponders life standing at the side of the stage before coming to the faithful to Rock them every night in this truly great song - depicted brillantly on the cover art work, which shows Saxon in a valley Rocking the Nations of the World with the crowd going CRAZEEEEE! It's good to see that the artist that penned the wonderful Crusader cover hasn't wasted time mucking about on this cover but just blasted it out in 10 minutes. Lyrically the song is a masterclass in raw simplicity - not wishing to vex the listener, Biff cannily half repeats the first verse and amazingly gets the title Rock The Nations into practically every rhyming couplet - a stroke of genius.
The quality control is set to MAX on Battle Cry, a moving homage to Scottish warriors where the band mix the suitably raw production (possibly Iron Age, but maybe Bronze) with the sound of an angle grinder - a neat touch that would be lost on lesser records. Up next is the first single 'Waiting For the Night', which is a breezy half ballad with a charming sing-song riff, before we get the totally killer track - We came Here to Rock. Thankfully Biff saves an unusually lumpen riff with the soaring chorus of `We came here to Rock. We came here to Rock, We came here to Rock, We came here to Rock, We came here to Rock, We came here to Rock, We came here to Rock' - stirring stuff, which in the words of Manowar, is so 'killer hot it'll melt your face!'. But crack open the sherry because the highlight is without doubt the whimsy of 'Party Til You Puke' - a rip roaring, laugh a minute, rock n roll party anthem, replete with that most metal of men, the one and only Sir Elton John on the piano. I can report that the piano does add magnificently to this party anthem, clinking away in a truly 1950s rocky way. Thankfully the ROCK recipe is now set for the rest of the CD and one track follows another in similar vein, totally uncluttered with modern production technology or complicated riffs and lyrics. I can only stand in awe at the Benny Hill inspired lines 'Who's that girl with her pants on fire?' and the leering 'You're Daddy's little girl' which are so deep that they mean many things on many levels. When Biff asks of the 16 year old girl 'Does your mother know you're out tonight?' you know he means business and will definitely be assisting with the girl's homework or divinity studies over an ice cold lemonade.
The whole ROCK cake is then topped off with the pathos of 'Northern Lady', no doubt a song about Biff's mother or a similar dear female family member - this was the other single from the album and it's clear to see why, especially as Elton adds his 'golden' touch on the ivorys again.
So if you are in the mood to ROCK this is definitely the CD for you - so get the crate of Worthington beer and turn this up to the MAX because the party is going on for a year (quote). Just remember to bring a bucket.
Only kidding - it really is bad.