Saxon- Into The Labyrinth

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, April 9, 2009

British heavy metal band Saxon deserves just as much, if not more credit than some of their peers. Not only has the group been around for just as long as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and continued to offer great albums over 30 years after they formed, but Saxon has managed to get material out more frequently than the rest in recent years. Following up on 2007’s The Inner Sanctum, the band has returned with their 18th studio album Into The Labyrinth, which offers similar styles to its predecessors. But although it may be stylistically similar, this doesn’t mean that they have lost their touch as this group still pummels the competition.

As with The Inner Sanctum, Saxon’s instrumentalists spend much of their time throughout the course of Into The Labyrinth moving between faster paced heavy metal that has plenty of grooves and hard edged riffs and slower paced material. Admittedly because of this some listeners are likely going to feel that the two albums are a little too similar to one another, but long time Saxon fans probably won’t mind and will just enjoy that the group is still able to offer catchy riffs and an overall engaging album. Fans are likely going to be split over whether they like The Inner Sanctum or Into The Labyrinth better though because of how similar in style the two releases are, but most heavy metal fans will find that both are worthy in their collection even if they can’t give one the edge over the other.

Even after all of these years, vocalist Peter “Biff” Byford hasn’t lost his touch and his vocals still sound great. While Byford has never been regarded as having the highest range, he has always had a powerful and commanding voice and this is still the case on Into The Labyrinth. On every track he sounds as though he is giving it all he’s got, and listeners are sure to appreciate his style. The lyrical content is as cheesy as ever, but this is one element that people have always come back to the band because of and in this regard the group lives up to their reputation.

It may not be that different from its predecessor, but that doesn’t prove to be an issue for Into The Labyrinth. Saxon showed that they still have what it takes to be a noteworthy heavy metal band in 2007, and they have continued this by sticking with the styles that worked. If you enjoyed The Inner Sanctum or are just returning to Saxon for the first time in many years, you are sure to be surprised at just how relevant they still are as they continue to outshine many of the newer heavy metal acts out there.

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