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Solid Ball of Rock
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  • Saxon: Biff Byford (vocals); Graham Oliver, Paul Quinn (guitar); Nibbs Carter (bass); Nigel Glockler (drums).
  • Personnel: Biff Byford (vocals); Graham Oliver, Paul Quinn (guitar); Nigel Glockler (drums).
  • Audio Mixers: Kalle Trapp; Saxon.
  • Liner Note Authors: Joe Geesin; Biff Byford.
  • Recording information: Karo Studios, Brackel, Hamburg.
  • After being shamefully dropped by EMI following a number of commercial and critical stiffs to close out the 1980s -- a decade that ironically had started so gloriously for them -- Saxon began their long climb back to respectability with their tenth studio album, 1990's tellingly named Solid Ball of Rock. Clearly, having almost permed and peroxided themselves into a hair metal fate worse than death, the bandmembers finally accepted the fact that they were both too old and too ugly to compete with the L.A. pretty boys, and thus wisely returned to their more honest and, well, heavier, British metal values, embracing them as the only viable way forward. Good choice. Overall, the songwriting on Solid Ball of Rock was still a little spotty (highlights included the fist-pumping title track and anthemic "Requiem [We Will Remember]"), but the addition of young bassist Nibbs Carter seemed to inject new life into the group, which unleashed some of its most aggressive songs in years, including the full-on thrashing "Altar of the Gods" and positively scorching "Baptism of Fire." In the end, long-suffering Saxon fans were merely cautiously optimistic, but their renewed faith would be rewarded as the bums from Barnsley went on to recover much of their old form on ensuing LPs Forever Free and Dogs of War. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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