SAXON – Strong Arm Of The Law LP 1980 original 1st press. Check the exclusive video showing this LP for sale.


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Check the exclusive video showing this LP for sale

Check the exclusive video showing this LP for sale

Saxon – Strong Arm Of The Law
Label: Carrere – 2934 129
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo
Country: Germany
Released: 1980
Style: Heavy Metal

A1 Heavy Metal Thunder 4:16
A2 To Hell And Back Again 4:40
A3 Strong Arm Of The Law 4:34
A4 Taking Your Chances 4:13

B1 20,000 Ft 3:44
B2 Hungry Years 4:45
B3 Sixth Form Girls 4:16
B4 Dallas 1 PM 6:25

Record Company – Deutsche Grammophon GmbH
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Carrere International
Printed By – Gerhard Kaiser GmbH
Pressed By – PRS Hannover
Lacquer Cut At – PRS Hannover
Engineer – Will Reid Dick*
Management – Blechner Poxon
Producer – Pete Hinton, Saxon
Written-By, Arranged By – Saxon
Printed inner sleeve.

Made in West Germany.
Printed in West Germany.

Different label than this release: Strong Arm Of The Law
Rights Society: GEMA
Label Code (On labels and back cover): LC 1866
Other (Colourless embossed stamp on back cover): PRS HANNOVER
Matrix / Runout (Side 1 runout, stamped, variant 1): 2934 129 S 1 3 20 AF 1
Matrix / Runout (Side 2 runout, stamped, variant 1): 2934 129 S 2 3 20 AF
Matrix / Runout (Side 1 runout, stamped, variant 2): 2934 129 S 1 3 20 S 1
Matrix / Runout (Side 2 runout, stamped, variant 2): 2934 129 S 2 3 20 Y
Matrix / Runout (Side 1 runout, stamped, variant 3): 2934 129 S 1 3 20 S 1 AQ1
Matrix / Runout (Side 2 runout, stamped, variant 3): 2934 129 S 2 3 20 2V

Strong Arm of The Law is the third studio album by English heavy metal band Saxon. It was released in 1980, seven months after Wheels of Steel, and debuted on the UK chart at #11.
The last track, “Dallas 1 PM” concerns the assassination of John F. Kennedy. “We thought, ‘Should we put one shot in there or should we put three?'” recalled singer Biff Byford. “In the end we went down the conspiracy theory route and had three shots.” According to guitarist Graham Oliver, the title track was inspired by an incident where the band was driving in Whitehall and was subsequently pulled over and searched by the security detail of then British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.
Eduardo Rivadavia of AllMusic called the album “equally timeless” to its predecessor, Wheels of Steel and commented, “All the right ingredients pretty much fell into place for Saxon on this amazing record, and though it lacked as many clear-cut hits as its predecessor, Strong Arm of the Law’s unmatched consistency from start to finish makes it the definitive Saxon album in the eyes of many fans and critics.” After their peak with Wheels of Steel, Canadian journalist Martin Popoff was a little disappointed, calling the album “comfortable and nostalgic if never remarkable”, but “definitely betraying Saxon’s lack of ideas”; despite their “stripped, basic and enthusiastic delivery of metal… creatively Saxon was getting left in the dust, both looking and sounding a bit like Slade.”



New Wave of Ballsy, Honest Metal…

The year was 1980 and Saxon had already released two albums; their underrated 1979 eponymous debut and one of the pillars of the entire NWOBHM movement, Wheels of Steel. 1980 is considered a monumental year for heavy metal as Iron Maiden released their debut, Diamond Head gave us the colossal Lightning to the Nations, Black Sabbath returned to form, Ozzy Osbourne returned to the living and Motorhead recorded their definitive album. A number of other excellent albums were also released back then but one band did what is generally considered a very hard feat; release two quality albums within the same year.

Strong Arm of the Law was released just four months after their breakthrough album Wheels of Steel and it follows the same formula as its predecessor. For those of you who are familiar with NWOBHM (and I’m sure that the vast majority of you is very knowledgeable) there are no surprises here. This is plain and simple quality heavy metal. No frills, anthemic, celebratory, high energy and emphatic heavy metal. What do you expect from a solid metal album? Whatever your answer is, you’ll most probably find it. Saxon embodies all that is good about heavy metal. Face melting guitar solos, ass whopping vocals, a rhythm section so tight that could turn coal into diamond and on top of that a very thin layer of cheese. Apart from helping shape a whole genre, Strong Arm of the Law is arguably one of the albums that heavily influenced thrash and speed metal. The listener can spot the influences by Motorhead which is quite reasonable since Saxon toured the UK with Lemmy and Co. during 1980. We can also listen to Saxon’s influences in bands that belong to the true metal movement. Therefore, apart from the album’s musical value, its historical value is indisputable. However, let’s proceed to a more detailed analysis of the album’s sound.

Strong Arm of the Law is riff driven. The band sounds more mature and confident than in the past and even though the album might lack the standout tracks like “Denim and Leather”, “747” or “Wheels of Steel” it’s more solid overall. From the very beginning the listener can sense that this is a high energy album. It’s impossible not to headbang or move your limbs when you listen to songs such as “To Hell and Back Again”, “Heavy Metal Thunder” or “Taking Your Chance” with their fast rhythm and aggressive vocals. Remember those Motorhead influences? You can easily spot them on the very first notes of “Taking Your Chances” and the whole “To Hell and Back Again”. The album also includes anthems such as “Hungry Years” and especially the title track which is based on a true story that happened during the band’s first American tour when their bus was pulled over by highway police. The chorus of “Strong Arm of the Law” is highly addictive and will grow on you instantly as you’ll find yourself singing to it as often as the one on “Wheels of Steel”. The album also features some fast paced drumming which is clearly evident on “20,000 Ft.” as it is on the forefront on this track. It also goes without saying that Biff Byford is on top form at this point of his career as he manages to turn simply good compositions such as “Sixth Form Girls” into excellent songs. One of the album’s highlights is “Dallas 1 PM”. Dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Saxon sample at some point the actual report from a news bulletin of that time with their music and create an excellent closing track.

If one can find a flaw in this album it’s the fact that the band’s sound hasn’t progressed enough compared to their previous effort. However, as they say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Strong Arm of the Law is one of the best NWOBHM releases along with the likes of Angel Witch, Lightning to the Nations, Iron Maiden and others. Saxon is one of the most no-nonsense, honest bands out there. Even their logo has remained exactly the same over the course of their career. If you denounce false metal you’re a friend of Saxon. Even if you haven’t heard the band yet, you’re a friend of them.

Their Best Effort – 95%
Written based on this version: 1980, 12″ vinyl, Carrere
Saxon’s third release is definitely their finest hour. While their sophomore effort displayed a lot of potential and climbed high in respect of their debut album, Strong Arm brought the band’s musicianship to the next level, considering that few bands from the NWOBHM dared to try speeding up their songs prior to 1981 and that the songs sound heavier than in the previous release. Much of these changes were apparently originated, to a great extent, by the time Saxon spent touring with Motörhead in England. This influence is, in fact, blatantly noticeable in various songs, which are a headbanging guarantee and guitargasmic at the least. “Heavy Metal Thunder” is a perfect warm-up for all the potential that this release offers in those terms. Without a doubt, it is a nice speed metal number played at the rhythm and pace of Venom’s memorable number “Bloodlust”. However, this number is not as explosive as the following track, “To Hell and Back Again”. This song is even faster and more melodic than the opening track. Although its riffs are not as explosive as in the rest of the album, this is a great power metal number and a mandatory part of the band’s setlist. “20,000 Feet” is another astonishing speed metal number with more riffs and higher intensity in the drums. This music is perfect for the motorcycle man-styled songwriting they display. These songs could not get better.

Not everything runs, however, at such a pace. The closing track is perhaps one of the most memorable moments, considering the topic addressed in the lyrics and that the guitar playing is by itself impressive. The solo followed by the police radio message on John F. Kennedy’s death is a special moment (take it, Guns N’ Roses, learn how to make this type of moment a more effective item than in your Bob Dylan’s cover). On the other hand, the title track is part of the road rage moments, not necessarily played at the same pace as the other tracks of this kind, but still is full of great riffs. That said, this riff box is an essential item if you want to get into the NWOBHM movement, and even if this is not the case, it is a must-have.

Best NWOBHM release – 95%
Aside from Angel Witch’s debut, this album is definitely the best NWOBHM release by far. Ahead of its time, the album delivers non-stop heavy metal that would influence many speed/thrash acts later on in the 80s and even today. At this time in 1980, the only other bands that could even live up to this style were Motorhead and Judas Priest, but they had already been around a while by this year and this was Saxon’s 3rd studio release barely. It’s so surprising to me that more speed metal bands have not covered Saxon material, especially from this album, which without a doubt is their fastest up until the late 80s. The influence that this album had on Manowar’s “death to false metal” image is undeniable, considering that Saxon went on tour with Black Sabbath in 1980 in support of this album, when Joey was part of the road crew for Black Sabbath. Just give a listen to the speed metal classic, “Heavy Metal Thunder”, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Heavy Metal Thunder – Who would have ever thought a song like this would have come out in 1980?? Total speed metal, and the first song to have ever used the term “heavy metal” in the song title. This is probably the best song on the album. Either this one, or….

To Hell And Back Again – ….this killer tune! Another speed metal number that was really ahead of its time. The riffage is fucking phenomenal and if I had to choose 1 song from Saxon that was the most underrated, it would be this one, without a doubt. The attitude and energy makes this one an instant classic.

Strong Arm Of The Law – Man, this chorus is is catchy as all fuck! I mean, the song itself is pretty average and mid-paced up until the chorus comes along, then it’ll be playing in your head over…and over and over and over……and over…..

Taking Your Chances – God damn! The riffs here are fucking awesome, groovy as Hell but fast at the same time. Since there is really no amazing solo to be hear, nor catchy chorus, I’d have to say that the riffs are the only highlight, and by the way they sound, it’s enough to rank this as one of Saxon’s best songs. Actually, the solo towards the end kicks a lot of ass as well.

20,000 Feet – Total speed metal, with killers riffs and awesome verses sung by one of the best. The song is about flying in a jet airplane, so there are really cool sound effects at the end, which leads us right into…

Hungry Years – …this bluesy number. Not being a huge fan of blues, I’ll just go ahead and pass this song off as average. The entire song is blues based, from the riff rhythm to the solo, making the overall song decent at the most, and the weakest point on the album.

Sixth Form Girls – Now this is a really fun song with catchy riffs and an incredibly catchy chorus. Oh yeah, the lyrics are really nice as well, just read the title of the song and you’ll know why… 😉

Dallas 1PM – One of the heaviest songs on the album, and also one of Saxon’s all time best songs, along with the first 2 tracks on here. The song itself is about the assassination of JFK, complete with sound effects such as a gun fireing, an ambulance and radio broadcasting of the tragedy. Saxon was suppose to perform this one live when I saw them on tour, but didn’t due to the 9/11 attacks. >:(