CD Review: Saxon “Unplugged and Strung Up”

“Unplugged and Strung Up”
UDR Music
Producer: Saxon/Andy Sneap
Tracks: 14

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

British heavy metal legends Saxon are back with a new album containing reworked versions of some of the group’s most popular tracks which span the groups 30+ year career. “Unplugged and Strung Up” is being released via UDR Music and features 14 reworked Saxon staples produced by the band and mixed/mastered by Andy Sneap.

Lush instrumentation and arrangements are what you will find on “Unplugged and Strung Up” the latest release from the legendary metal group Saxon. The group which formed in the UK during the mid-1970’s has gone through somewhat of a reinvention lately and this offering of 10 reworked classics does a great job of fueling that rekindled fire. The group does a great job mixing up arrangements which give listeners a variety of musical styling’s. Everything from immense orchestral pieces to remixed originals and even a couple stripped down acoustic numbers are included on this album giving the listener a lot to digest. I really enjoyed the track “Call to Arms” which was a perfect blend of melodic vintage metal and rich orchestration. The acoustic rendition of “Frozen Rainbow” was another song that really stood out. Vocalist Biff Byford shows that he is capable of much more than sheering metal vocals as his voice on this track and the 3 accompanying acoustic tracks sits beautifully in the mix.

Longtime Saxon fans will definitely appreciate this reworking of material as will those who are still new to the group. However for the newer listeners I highly recommend checking out the original recordings first and then circle back to “Unplugged and Strung Up”. For those hardcore Saxon-ights wanting a little bit more metal in their musical diet this release is also available in a special digipack version that includes the re-recorded version of the bands 2002 album “Heavy Metal Thunder” which features tracks like “Motorcycle Man” and “Dallas 1pm”.

Track Listing:
1.) Stallions Of The Highway (Remix)
2.) Crusader (Orchestrated Version)
3.) Battle Cry
4.) The Eagle Has Landed (Orchestrated Version)
5.) Red Star Falling (Orchestrated Version)
6.) Broken Heroes (Orchestrated Version)
7.) Call To Arms (Orchestrated Version)
8.) Militia Guard
9.) Forever Free (Re-recorded Version)
10.) Just Let Me Rock (Re-recorded Version)
11.) Frozen Rainbow (Acoustic Version)
12.) Iron Wheels (Live Acoustic Version)
13.) Requiem (Acoustic Version)
14.) Coming Home (Acoustic Version)

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