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SARACEN Heroes, Saints and Sinner
Escape Music (2006)

Another lovingly crafted and presented double CD re-issue from Escape. This time featuring UK rockers Saracen, with this CD featuring their 1981 debut with bonus material plus their comeback album ‘Red Sky' from 2003, which originally saw light of day via Now & Then.

First off the original album ‘Heroes, Saints & Fools' - it has a very early 80's hard rock/metal sound as you would expect (songs like ‘Rock of Ages' and ‘No More Lonely Nights' actually remind me of Loverboy!) with the synths certainly showing their age. But the music is good on the whole (bar the tedious instrumental Dolphin Ride) with the original version of ‘We Have Arrived' (here as a bonus track) much faster paced than the version on ‘Red Sky'. Definitely of interest to fans of Uriah Heep and Magnum and those respective bands early 80's output.

'Red Sky' features re-recordings of tracks from the band's debut album, with ‘We Have Arrived' now sounding like a pomp rock masterpiece! Wonderful layered vocals a la Uriah Heep coupled with grandiose keys and swirling guitars. ‘Castles In The Sand' could be Thunder in ballad mode – very strong lyric and music. The sound is obviously more modern and the band seem to be steering into a more progressive/pomp direction than the debut's more straight forward hard rock meets metal sound.

Worthy of a place in your collection and a band who certainly deserve more exposure than they have had to date. The good news is they are working on a third album based on ‘The Da Vinci Code' entitled ‘Vox In Excelso'.


Review by Jason Ritchie

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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Why should I buy this CD?

Because I like Magnum and Uriah Heep.

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We Have Arrived (Red Sky version), Castles In the Sand, Rock of Ages