Call to Arms (Saxon album)

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Call to Arms
Saxoncalltoarms.jpg
Studio album by
Released3 June 2011
StudioChapel Studios, Lincolnshire, Brighton Electric Studios, Brighton, United Kingdom
GenreHeavy metal
Length43:38
LabelMilitia Guard Music, UDR, EMI[1]
ProducerBiff Byford, Toby Jepson
Saxon chronology
Into the Labyrinth
(2009)
Call to Arms
(2011)
Sacrifice
(2013)
Singles from Call to Arms
  1. "Hammer of the Gods"
    Released: 18 March 2011

Call To Arms is the nineteenth studio album by British heavy metal band Saxon. Call to Arms was released 3 June in Europe; 6 June in Denmark, Finland, and the UK; 8 June in Greece and Poland; 10 June in France.[2] Previously, it was due to be released on 23 May 2011.[1][3][4][5] The album was released on 27 September in North America by EMI.[6] Current Deep Purple keyboardist Don Airey made a guest appearance on the album.[5]

Background and production[edit]

Saxon frontman Biff Byford stated that the band wanted to "get back to [their] roots," and aimed for a "more working-class sound" with the album.[7]

While recording the album in February 2011, the band posted a message to its fans, calling on them to visit the band at the studio on the evening of 10 February. The reason for the appeal was that the band needed a chorus for the track "Back in '79", and decided to offer its fans the chance to be a part of the recording.[8]

Saxon were originally supposed to appear at the Soundwave festival in Australia, but were forced to cancel their appearance due to delays during recording. The band also issued a statement apologizing to fans for the cancellation.[9]

Two of the tracks on the album were written by Saxon for the movie Hybrid Theory.[5]

The album artwork is derived from Lord Kitchener Wants You, a World War I-era British Army recruitment poster.[10]

Release and promotion[edit]

Call to Arms debuted at number 6 on the UK Rock Albums chart.[11] In the US, the album sold about 700 copies in its first week of release and managed to debut at number 51 on the US "Heatseekers" chart.[12]

A digipack version of the album for the North American market featured a seven track bonus disc containing most of Saxon's performance at Castle Donington in 1980.[13]

To promote the album, Saxon have embarked on the "Call to Arms World Tour". The band headlined shows in Europe, North and South America, and Japan. Anvil and Crimes of Passion opened for Saxon in Europe, while the North American shows were opened by Borealis. HammerFall appeared as special guests at the UK shows, while Vanderbuys were presented as special guests at shows in Spain.[14]

"Hammer of the Gods" was released as a single to promote Call to Arms on 18 March 2011.[15] In addition two music videos were made ("Hammer of the Gods"[16] and the title track.)[17] to promote the album.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[18]
Blabbermouth.net8/10 stars[19]
Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles7.5/10 stars[20]
Jukebox: Metal3/5 stars[21]

Call to Arms has received mostly positive reviews from critics. AllMusic rated the album as 3.5/5 stars. Reviewer Eduardo Rivadavia commented that the band seems to have "stripped down" their sound. Rivadavia stated that "Surviving Against the Odds", "Chasing the Bullet" and "Ballad of the Working Man" were "refreshingly raw and direct". He also compared "Hammer of the Gods" and "Afterburner" to proto-thrash. Rivadavia ultimately said that Call to Arms can be seen as an "aesthetic cousin" to Denim and Leather from 1981.[18]

Music news website Blabbermouth.net, posted a favorable review for the album. Reviewing the North American digipack edition, reviewer Scott Alisoglu called the album "highly recommended" and said that the album would not disappoint any Saxon fan. He further described the album's title track as "epic" and called the 7-track bonus live CD "a high value bonus".[19]

Reviewer Andy Lye, on behalf of Jukebox: Metal, gave the album 3 out of 5 stars. He opined that Saxon sound like "a band out of ideas" on the album, but at the same time he praised the album's last three tracks, "No Rest for the Wicked," "Ballad for the Working Man" and the orchestral version of the title track.[21]

Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles reviewer Mark Gromen commended that Call to Arms "isn't much of a metal record" but rather "[slow], bluesy hard rock" instead. Gromen compared the album's opening track, "Hammer of the Gods", to "Dogs of War" form the 1995 album of the same name. He also compared Don Airey's keyboard parts on "When Doomsday Comes" to the patterns used on Deep Purple's 1984 album Perfect Strangers. Gromen ultimately rated the album at 7.5 out of 10.[20]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Hammer of the Gods"4:23
2."Back in 79"3:28
3."Surviving Against the Odds"2:59
4."Mists of Avalon"5:02
5."Call to Arms"4:28
6."Chasing the Bullet"4:14
7."Afterburner"3:06
8."When Doomsday Comes" (Hybrid Theory soundtrack)4:29
9."No Rest for the Wicked"3:09
10."Ballad of the Working Man"3:48
11."Call to Arms" (Orchestral Version)4:28
iTunes bonus track
No.TitleLength
12."Dirty Double Dealer"3:31

North America bonus disc "Live at Donington 1980"[edit]

Live at Donington 1980
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Motorcycle Man"Biff Byford, Paul Quinn, Graham Oliver, Steve Dawson, Pete Gill 
2."Still Fit to Boogie"Byford, Quinn, Oliver, Dawson, Gill 
3."Freeway Mad"Byford, Quinn, Oliver, Dawson, Gill 
4."Backs to the Wall"Byford, Quinn, Oliver, Dawson, Gill 
5."Wheels of Steel"Byford, Quinn, Oliver, Dawson, Gill 
6."Bap Shoo Ap"  
7."747 (Strangers in the Night)"Byford, Quinn, Oliver, Dawson, Gill 

Chart positions[edit]

Chart Peak position
UK Rock Albums[11] 6
Germany[11] 18
Sweden[11] 19
US Top Heatseekers[12] 51

Credits[edit]

Saxon
Additional musicians
Production

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "SAXON - Call To Arms Artwork, Tracklisting Revealed". Bravewords.com. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  2. ^ "SAXON Announce Official Call To Arms Release Dates". Bravewords.com. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  3. ^ "Latest News". Saxon747.com. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
  4. ^ "Saxon - Call To Arms". Metalstorm.net. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  5. ^ a b c "SAXON: New Album Artwork, Track Listing, Release Date Revealed - Mar. 14, 2011". Blabbermouth.net. Archived from the original on 4 January 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  6. ^ "SAXON: 'Call To Arms' North American Release Date Announced". Blabbermouth.net. 30 June 2011. Archived from the original on 1 July 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  7. ^ Cavuoto, Rob. "Saxons' Biff Byford Interview: It's Just Within Us to Create New Music". Guitar International. Archived from the original on 21 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  8. ^ "SAXON Offers Fans Chance To Appear On New Album - Feb. 9, 2011". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  9. ^ "SAXON Pulls Out Of Australia's SOUNDWAVE Festival - Feb. 17, 2011". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Saxon Reveals New Album, "Call To Arms" Artwork And Tracklisting". Metal Underground. 14 March 2011. Archived from the original on 3 February 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  11. ^ a b c d "Saxon: Initial 'Call To Arms' Chart Positions Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. 14 June 2011. Archived from the original on 1 February 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  12. ^ a b "SAXON Frontman Interviewed On 'Heavy Metal Thunder' (Audio) - Oct. 12, 2011". Blabbermouth.net. Archived from the original on 12 December 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  13. ^ "SAXON: 'Call To Arms' U.S. Digipack To Include Bonus Live CD - Aug. 4, 2011". Blabbermouth.net. Blabbermouth.net. Archived from the original on 1 February 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  14. ^ "Tourdates". Saxon official website. Archived from the original on 13 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Saxon: New Single Available For Streaming - Mar. 18, 2011". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  16. ^ "Saxon: Report From 'Hammer Of The Gods' Video Shoot - Mar. 28, 2011". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  17. ^ "SAXON: 'Call To Arms' Video Released - Aug. 5, 2011". Blabbermouth.net. Blabbermouth.net. Archived from the original on 1 February 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  18. ^ a b Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Saxon Call to Arms review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  19. ^ a b Alisoglu, Scott. "CD Reviews - Saxon - Call to Arms". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  20. ^ a b Gromen, Mark. "Saxon: Call to Arms". bravewords.com. Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  21. ^ a b Lye, Andy. "Saxon - Call to Arms". Jukebox:Metal. Retrieved 24 October 2011.

External links[edit]