15. Saxon (1979)
The debut album by Saxon demonstrated the band’s promise; from solid songwriting to Byford’s incredible voice and charismatic presence. The album showcases some fantastic tunes, even though the band’s sound would shift dramatically after this record. Tracks like “Stallion’s of the Highway” and “Backs to the Wall” hint at what would come next for Saxon. Unfortunately, the record production is fairly poor overall, in particular the drum sound is abysmal. Still for die hard Saxon fans, this is an essential record for the humble beginnings of one of metal’s true behemoths. The timelessness of some of these song’s are showcased on 2013’s Unplugged and Strung Up record.
14. Battering Ram (2015)
Now we reach the point on this list where we begin splitting hairs. Battering Ram is the band’s 21st studio release, and it’s packed with a number of riff-heavy songs that go hand in hand with the band’s classic anthems. One cannot help but be blown away with the Saxon‘s timeless consistency. Saxon has always delivered solid if not thunderous slabs of memorable metal, but the band continues to demonstrate a renewed sense of power and sonic charisma. Battering Ram can hold its own against any of Saxon‘s back catalog, with Byford’s iconic voice leading the charge.
13. Call to Arms (2011)
Saxon‘s 19th studio effort found the band returning to its blue-collar roots. The album captured a more raw spirit comparative to the cinematic and rich sound of 2009’s Into the Labyrinth. “Back In ’79” recalls the band’s classic anthem “Denim and Leather”, while the title track is an epic piece, full of churning power and sonic import. You can take the boys out of the arena but you can’t take the arena out of the boys. Most every song on Call To Arms is built for big stages. From the opener, “Hammer of the Gods” to “Afterburner” to “Chasing The Bullet”, track by track this record bulges with huge riffs, rumbling bass and thundering drum work.
12. Killing Ground (2001)
With a tolling bell and punishing riff, Saxon opened the new millennium with a thunderous anthem. This driving and weighty feel is mixed throughout Killing Ground on tracks like “Deeds of Glory” and Crusader-esque feel of “Dragon’s Lair.” In between are dramatic moments like the band’s tasteful cover of King Crimson‘s “Court of the Crimson King,” and the moody “Shadows on the Wall”. “Coming Home” has a catchy rolling groove, while “Hell Freezes Over” has some AC/DC swagger to it. The album is another solid slab of ballsy rock and metal from masters of the art form.
11. Thunderbolt (2018)
Saxon‘s most recent addition to its canon of metal monarchy. After four decades, Saxon has mastered the art of crafting well-balanced, dynamic albums packed with memorable headbangers and timeless anthems. Thunderbolt is another significant example of the band’s passion for making potent and compelling music while also demonstrating respect for the fans that expect more than the laurel-resting fodder some of their contemporaries have been guilty of. Thunderbolt sets no precedence but rather stands as the next chapter in Saxon’s influential legacy.