Oliver/Dawson Saxon – Re://Landed


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Even as the new romantics were coalescing into a fighting force and readied their assault on American shores and TV screens, members of a hairy horde were preparing their own rear-guard action against punk’s progeny, once again hoisting rock’s banner back into the charts. This counter-reformation, quickly dubbed the New Wave of Heavy Metal, provided a powerful counterweight to the frippery of the romantics, giving headbangers something to holler about during the ’80s. Guitarist Graham Oliver and bassist Steve Dawson surfed that wave to glory with leading NWOHM group Saxon. Dawson departed in 1986, and thus was spared the indignities of the band’s later years, Oliver held on until they’d burnished their reputation anew in the early ’90s. Oliver and Dawson then promptly linked back up and returned to their roots — as did Saxon themselves, resulting in two rival units battling over the same turf and legacy. In 1995, the splinter group christened itself Oliver/Dawson Saxon, and took to the stage and studio. The two-disc CD/DVD set Re-Landed…Plus captures the group on-stage in 2000, planting its flag firmly in Saxon’s past. Boldly swaggering through a set culled from the pair’s glory years, ODS assault Saxon’s many (British) hits, swollen by a few fan faves to boot. Obviously this is not the band of yore, for the group seems less intent on surfing the old wave of heavy metal than creating a new surge to the sound. Their excitement is palpable, the crowd enthusiastic, and the songs thoroughly reinvigorated. The DVD features a further live performance, while the bonus tracks on the CD include three new studio numbers, suggesting the band is here to stay. As with any divorce, some Saxon fans will feel obligated to take sides, but why not just appreciate what each band is bringing to the past and future?


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