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Saxon’s 20th album, Sacrifice, releases in the United States on February 26, 2013. The album was produced by Saxon’s vocalist Biff Byford, with Andy Sneap mixing it and Jacky Lehmann engineering it. If you’ve been a Saxon fan throughout their other albums, you’ll no doubt find something to like on the newest release. Sacrifice is as hard hitting as any of their other work.

Byford’s other comrades in Saxon are Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt on guitars, Nigel Glockler on drums and Nibbs Carter on bass. Saxon formed in 1976 as one of the leaders of a new wave of British heavy metal bands, sharing the scene with bands like Iron Maiden. They’ve since sold more than 13 million albums worldwide. Heavy metal bands forming in later years, including Megadeth and Metallica, claim Saxon as one of their influences.

Sacrifice seems a tad heavier than some of their past albums, which suits them well. Every song on the album consistently features lots of guitar work. Guitar riffs are robust, and it sounds as though the guitars are “talking,” telling their own story. Guitarists Quinn and Scarratt have no doubt contributed a lot of work on Sacrifice. The track Walking The Steel is one of the few songs that is a bit less heavy on the guitars, and because of that it sounds more comparable to tracks on some of the band’s other albums. It may also appeal to both older and newer fans.

The atmospheric song Procession, an intro track featuring sounds of bubbling brooks, birds, night sounds and tribal calls, seems a bit displaced on the album; you’ll want to press skip on that one. Otherwise Saxon fans have a CD they may be able to enjoy listening to from beginning to end.

A few things to note: A bonus track, Luck of the Draw, is only available on iTunes, and a second bonus disc contains the five older tracks Crusader, Just Let Me Rock, Requiem, Frozen Rainbow and Forever Free, either as re-recorded or acoustic versions.

Click here to Pre-Order Sacrifice.

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