September 22, 2017

Saxon - Innocence Is No Excuse (1985)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Heavy Metal
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© 1985-1989 EMI Records
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
After fulfilling their contractual obligations to French independent label Carrere, Saxon signed to mighty EMI, praying for a major-label overhaul with which to reignite its ailing career. The resulting album -- 1985's Innocence Is No Excuse -- is one of their most controversial: it's viewed by some fans and critics as another misfire, while others consider it the last gasp of these once seemingly unbeatable New Wave of British Heavy Metal champions. Realizing that their future was at stake, vocalist Biff Byford and bassist Steve Dawson (and, to a lesser degree, guitarists Paul Quinn and Graham Oliver, plus drummer Nigel Glockler) hunkered down to the business of composing what was certainly their strongest collective set of songs since 1981's Denim and Leather. But the final layer of commercial sheen (clearly aimed at finally cracking the American market) applied to heavy metal warhorses like "Call of the Wild," "Devil Rides Out," "Everybody Up," and others rubbed many fans the wrong way. Likewise, these were also divided over the merits of strong singles like "Back on the Streets," "Rock 'n' Roll Gypsy," and the excellent ballad "Broken Heroes," which charted respectably and even earned some much needed MTV rotation for their videos, but at what price to the band's street-level credibility? The answer will never be agreed upon, but as subsequent fiascos soon proved, there was no doubt that Saxon's internal chemistry was significantly unbalanced by the subsequent departure of key songwriter Dawson -- a loss from which they would take years to fully recover.

tags: saxon, innocence is no excuse, 1985, flac,

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