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Saxon 

Unplugged and Strung Up - UDR

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This is actually a lot of fun. British heavy metal band Saxon, part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene that also spawned Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and, ummm, Budgie, have re-imagined and rerecorded a bunch of their old songs, either stripping them down into unplugged form or adding an orchestra. Power-metal anthems such as “Crusader” and “Call to Arms” sound all the more epic with brash strings sweeping across them, while an acoustic “Frozen Rainbow” seems completely natural. There’s no subtlety here; Saxon’s bag has always been to get all overblown with its “for glory, for the flag, for valor” sentiments. Take out the vocals and these tunes would make a great score for a big-budget fantasy movie. As it is, we get great new versions of songs that were typically huge to begin with. Not “cool,” not at all, but certainly great.

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