1. Rockin’ Again
2. Call of the Wild
3. Back on the Streets
4. Devil Rides Out
5. Rock ‘N’ Roll Gypsy
6. Broken Heroes
7. Gonna Shout
8. Everybody Up
9. Raise Some Hell
10. Give it Everything You’ve Got
Release Date: 1985 – EMI Records
In 1985 the british Band Saxon released their 7th full length album „Innocence is no excuse“. This album was the bands first try to conquer the american market which should continue with the next two releases „Rock the nations“ and „Destiny“. The sound was polished for airplay on the great US radio stations but anyway…this album owns lots of the old trademarks to make it as one of the better Saxon outputs.
Starting with the drum oriantated stamper „Rockin’ again“. Great riffing metal guitars meets the power of the drums. A real hymn that can open every Saxon concert to bring the masses on temperature at once.
„Call of the wild“ has everything to hit the charts. Characteristic stuff for 80’s hardrock airplay. Melodic lines, strong chorus refrain. But we should not forget the great guitar work that made the sound of Saxon from the beginning..and so also on this album. Same to „Back on the streets“. Also new food for the singing crowd. The chorus is performed with a little more street credibility as the song before but also a great radio smasher. I think Biff Byford never sounded clearer than on this album.
With „Devil rides out“ the band makes a step back into the past. Typical old school Saxon song. A little chaotic in vocals and one of the harder album tracks. And that is exactly what the album needs before „Rock’n Roll Gypsy“ apeears as a mixture of old and new. Old school Saxon vocals and melodylines meet the sound of the middle 80s. A big hit single for Saxon if we look back.
What follows now, at that time the b-side opener of the vinyl, is a kind of song we never heard from Saxon before. „Broken heroes“ is a anti-war semi ballad at its best. A tragical, monumental song with heartbreaking vocals and chorus and a guitar line in the end that can make you cry. Mighty, sad but true. Wonderful arrangements that leave you behind thinking about life.
After this it is not easy to come back to keep the album high. So the band decided to fill the rest of the album with groovy, uptempo songs like „Gonna shout“, which is the easy listening song, „Everybody up“ and „Raise some hell“. This songs are not bad but in the album overview they break the quality and cannot be told as Saxon classics. „Give it everything you got“ ends the album in speed mode. Cool song for kick you out.
If we look back we can say that „Innocence is no excuse“ could stand the test of time and is right named as a real Saxon classic. The more modern sound was a fresh element and the songwriting was as good as ever. Much better than in the next two follow ups.
Saxon didn’t really earn the success that the band maybe expected, but anyway they created another great album.
Review by Kerb
BUY THIS ALBUM: Saxon – Innocence Is No Excuse