SAXON is like old wine. The older the better. At least this is my impression. "Lionheart", the previous longplayer, was already a hit but with "The Inner Sanctum", the guys from Britain even surpass this.
The first spin offered me no surprises concerning the songs themselves. But this changes with every spin, I can assure you. The potential and the atmosphere of this record is growing with time. On one side, SAXON have again a bunch of strong, classical Heavy Metal tunes in their ranks. Worth to mention are the speedy numbers "Need For Speed" and "Atila The Hun". But also slower bangers like "State Of Grace" or the power ballad "Red Star Falling" are killers. On the other side, Biff and his guys have developed on their Rock'n'Roll side that was also strong on the previous record. "I've Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)", "If I Was You" and "Going Nowhere Fast" are pure Rockers with much fun and action. "Going Nowhere Fast" is currently my favourite track and this should be a live hit. There remain "Ashes To Ashes" with its catchy riff as well as "Let Me Feel Your Power", another accessible song. It can't be denied that "The Inner Sanctum" is a very ear-candy-friendly album and it's completely free of any weaker song. One got the impression that SAXON get never tired of writing great tunes. They are still not out of date. Their riffs are razor sharp, the choruses catchy and Biff's vocals are stronger than twenty years before. Furtheremore, they have a thick sound and that's not a matter of course for them as we know from the past.
"The Inner Sanctum" proves that SAXON are still hungry and that they can still write timeless music on a top level. If you compare it with IRON MAIDEN or JUDAS PRIEST, you have to be honest and remark that SAXON are the best among them and write the better records. Unfortunately Biff and Co. had never the success of aforementioned bands but they would have deserved it. "The Inner Sanctum" is surely another highlight in their discography and probably the best SAXON album for ten years. A must-have!!!
Check out tips: "State Of Grace", "Red Star Falling", "Going Nowhere Fast"...
(Online December 27, 2007)