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on 11 December 2017
After watching Saxon live at Wacken where they had a small orchestra with them for a few songs (strings, percussion, keyboards), I was blown away by the symphonic touches on the classic Saxon sound. I got in touch with Saxon's team and asked them about if there was an album with an orchestra that they'd done, and I was directed to this album. And it's brilliant.

A song like Crusader sounds even better with the dynamics and degree of epic added by the strings and percussion in this Orchestrated Version; this was what the song was made for. Stallions of the Highway is blasted into this century with a new re-recorded version, a worthy remake of the original classic. The Orchestrated Version of The Eagle Has Landed is another triumph on this album too. With the original being the epic closer of The Power & The Glory album, this version is both modernised and taken down a different path, resulting in a brilliant addition to this album. Militia Guard is one of my personal favourites by Saxon, taken from their self-titled first album, and the version featured on this set is similar to the new version of Stallions of the Highway, it's just been taken into this century with its production and sound, brilliant to hear that Saxon really haven't, and will not, forget their roots. Forever Free could be argued that their was no real need to re-recorded as the '92 original still sounds fresh as ever now, but this version is just a touch more energetic and powerful, a great ode to the road! The new version of Just Let Me Rock here is brilliant. I love Crusader album, but I will admit that the production can be a little bit iffy here and there with it, and this song really suffers out of all of that album's songs, however, on this version, the production is basically stripped down to the basics, resulting in a 2000s sounding classic rock song, brilliant and well worth inclusion. Frozen Rainbow / Rainbow Theme are more personal favourites, once again taken from the first album, and the Acoustic Version featured here is beautiful. The dynamics are different, Biff's vocals come across even more heartfelt and and the musical accompaniment is perfect for the arrangement.

If you get the second bonus disc in this set, just remember that this is the Classics Re-Recorded set, that was a bonus disc with Killing Ground back in 2001 and appeared as it's own album with bonus tracks called Heavy Metal Thunder in 2002. This means that I now own this disc three times now, which isn't an issue at all of course, I just know that some people can be particularly anal about stuff like this, so it just needs to be pointed out that's all. (It's a brilliant greatest hits collection of Saxon's hits re-recorded with modern production and guirar sounds - an excellent album if you're a massive Saxon fan and like to hear new spins on the classics, proving although their age has risen, their abilities have not aged.)

So in conclusion, this is a 5* album for me. It has a great collection of songs that don't get heard often, and hearing the fresh takes on them be it Orchestral, Acoustic or a re-recording. I would say that this collection is a aimed at standing big fans of Saxon, but I would also say that younger music fans of this century who have not yet discovered Saxon may find this an excellent introduction album, due to the modern hard rock song and the sheer eclectic nature of the tracklisting. (I was lucky, my Dad used to love Saxon, I wanted a good live album as I was getting into music, he recommended The Eagle Has Landed, I was awe-struck and been a massive Saxon fan ever since, collecting every album along the way. Ta Dad.)
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on 23 August 2017
Average considering the price paid for it . Missing lots of other songs that are on the cd equivalent
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on 21 February 2014
Always difficult to remake established tracks, but fairly successfully done here. One or two dodgy interludes, but overall pretty good.
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on 21 January 2015
Very good. treat yourself.
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on 2 December 2013
This is great. Well worth a tenner. For me it's worth it just for getting the new version of Stallions of the Highway alone, particularly when it takes off from 1min2sec onwards.

To point out even if you think you have the 'orchestrated versions' (because they were some on the Sacrifice double CD) I've compared the two over and over and some of these sound slightly different newer 'orchestrated versions' to me. The Orchestrated version of Crusader in particular sounds quite alot better than the orchestrated version that came with the Sacrifice album.

The Orchestrated version of The Eagle has Landed works particularly well, makes it something different to the original.

Militia Guard appears to be a complete re-recording (although it doesn't make that clear on the listing on the rear) and is fabulously done, so you're getting abit more than it may seem at first glance.

Inevitably some versions work better than others, Just let me Rock was pretty bad originally and doesn't get any better no matter how it's re-recorded!, but others may have their own likes and dislikes.

The only real dissapointment is the artwork which is shockingly awful, you would have thought they'd been around long enough to come up with something better than a leaking barn roof!
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on 7 April 2014
We love saxon , so we liked this also , still got that magic that makes you want to get up and head bang .
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on 29 December 2013
a odd album not really unpluged more songs redone some work really well better than original some are intresting one or two are not to my taste but it is a good attempt at something different
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on 28 December 2013
The last pearl of the band,perfect merge of heavy metal and symphonic arrangements. In one word, fantastic collection of classics tracks, recordered with the Saxon signature. Hihgly recommended.
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on 16 December 2013
Bought this on vinyl so obviously that's what my review relates to. I've been a fan of Saxon since I saw them live on tour supporting the first album opening for motorhead if memory serves. I'm not a completest but own several albums by saxon so have a reasonable grasp of their music.
Firstly the album art work. What a let down. Even the Vinyl size sleeve doesn't help. In some cases artwork looks so much better when enlarged. In this case the subject matter does nothing in my opinion to persuade a purchase to part with their cash. Even the inner sleeves are rank offering next to no information.
Now the important part, the music. As the title suggests there are both acoustic and orchestrated versions present. To my ears the sound quality is excellent, well engineered and produced. Biffs voice has matured nicely over the years and the playing is top draw. The stand out tracks for me are the orchestrated Crusader, Call To Arms, and Broken Heroes and acoustic Frozen Rainbow, and Militia Guard originally on the first album.
The track selection wouldn't have been my first choice but they work well together. I would be interested to hear this on cd to see if it grabs my attention in the same way, I think it would.
The only down side is the cover, hence the lose of a star, otherwise I recommend this to those of an open mind that love rock music.
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on 21 December 2013
this is a really good 2 cd set by saxon of remakes from 2001 when they re recorded the classic early 80s stuff and now all these years later saxon have gone back to the beginning and remade more songs and then some newer songs but still a lot of 80s stuff, i was thrilled and shocked they re did militia guard from the classic first album from 1979, dont be fooled by the unplugged in this title as that can be confusing to some as THIS IS MOSTLY NOT UNPLUGGED BUT REMXED AND SOME SOUND EFFECTS ARE ADDED, my favorite track and remake on this cd has to be this 2013 version of FROZEN RAINBOW it came out wonderful, im not usually a fan of these things ( meaning bands re recording there classics) but i guess i aproached this cd with better caution becouse saxon HAS BEEN MY FAVORITE HM BAND SINCE 1981 NOW, for a saxon re recorings cd in modern style i think fans new and old will enjoy this cd BUT please let me say this if you are a new saxon fan or a young saxon fan that does NOT have every album from 1979 through 1986 as well as most of the albums from the 1990s and into the 00s then before you buy this GET THE ORIGINAL STUFF FIRST as i think you will enjoy this cd better if you get into the original recordings first, the only negative thing i can say is WHY THE HELL DID SAXON DO A RE MAKE OF JUST LET ME ROCK FROM 1984??????? god when i bought the crusader album in february 1984 upon its release over here i had been a saxon fan 3 years already and i thought WTF?????? the video was even more pathetic, biff has worked so hard to restore saxon and build the band back up from a point where a lot of us thought saxon where finished by 1989 after the destiny album in 1988 flopped so damn bad that i stongly feel he should have picked a song like THIN RED LINE or MINISTRY OF FOOLS from unleash the beast in 1997 to do a remake of then just let me rock, anyway it is mr byfords band not mine but as a fan for so long and after going to saxon gigs for 30 years now ( when they come to new york) i feel i must state this. anyway im glad i bought this for my collection, the viynl sounds great to..... also saxon do a killer electric remake of the 1992 classic FOREVER FREE here wich is great as sadly that was a very overlooked record 21 years ago,..........
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