|Son Of A Bitch - 'Victim You' (Angel Air)|
|Written by Matt Phelps|
|Wednesday, 27 February 2013 03:00|
Out of circulation for well over ten years! It's a sad but true criminal fact that Lindsay Lohan's fingertips have been printed more times than this seemingly forgotten gem from three of the finest heavy metal stallions to have stomped out of the UK in the late seventies. Originally released in 1996 following Graham Oliver's departure from mighty UK metal stalwats Saxon it marked a brand new episode of creativity with his one time partners in steel wheeled crime, the formidable Mr Steve "Dobby" Dawson and Pete "Orgasmatron" Gill.
'Bitch Of A Place To Be' opens the flood gates slowly. A sometimes slow moving sludgy riff, certainly a choice style of the times, rolls menacingly along but with exciting flourishes of melody licking out like random flames here and there. Searing guitar notes from Oliver flow with the style of the prime days of his youth, golden melodies still falling from his fingertips with all the ease of autumn leaves. Second track up, the hard hitting 'Drivin' Sideways', is where that old school power from the Saxon days really starts to shine through on these recordings. The real album opener in my opinion, this is where that fantastic Dobby bass sound really comes to the fore. A solid pumping thunder, rolling along like a hurricane of sound. Vocally, former Thunderhead frontman Ted Bullet really hits the mark and delivers some fine wood splintering ripping vocals. Reminiscent of Paul Di'Anno crashing headfirst into a Twisted Sister hoedown.
'Past The Point' keeps with the classic rock stylings and casts shadows similar in shape to the straight forward hard rock side of Uriah Heep. While 'No One's Gettin' Over' sits back into a gentler pace. A tender ballad that breaks into a occasional storms of foot on the monitor thunder with more echoes from the Battlezone down to Bullet's tearing vocals. Keeping the pace set in stone, as mentioned above, is yet another former Saxon member, Pete Gill bringing down the sticks. With 'Victim You' featuring three fifths of the original Saxon line up it's a shame this album never got the respect it deserved at the time it was originally released. Moving away from the Son Of A Bitch name due to Pete Gill's ill heath and departure not long after the album's release was maybe a bad choice for Oliver and Dawson. Why? Because this album really does have all the traits and quality they were first famed for and it's a tragedy that Oliver/Dawson came to be viewed as more of a (for want of a better word) "comedy" act in the late nineties and early two thousands as the press painted them unfairly as coat-tail riders due to their name change to Oliver/Dawson Saxon and the following drawn out court case over use of the "Saxon" name within their own band.
Anyway, 'Treacherous Times' and 'More For Me' are equally straight in the finely tuned direction they head in. Never veering too sharply from the path they found fame on with Saxon the majority of 'Victim You' sits comfortably on a bed of chords that flow like molten steel with a simplicity that is white hot. A trait that many modern bands like DragonFarce and the Godawful S-Club Sevenfold overlook with their misguided hash of over the top twiddling that is instantly forgettable the moment the torrent of "musical" torment stops. Churning out killer riffs comes like second nature to Oliver and when aligned with the thunderous four string pumping of Dawson you have songs that could easily stand up toe to toe with the majority of stuff from their glittered pasts. 'Old School' reinforces that sentiment should anyone need reminding. And as almost a polar opposite 'I Still Care' caresses some delicate Tesla-esque moments within another ballad that could teach melody-mongers like Desmond Child a thing or two about real heartfelt emotion. Who says moustachioed men can't cry?
Yes I know the 'taches are in fact long gone from the Oliver/Dawson chops but that classic air of hairy elegance remains with 'Evil Sweet Evil' keeping the riff bar high and waxed to perfection with yet another perfect round of NWOBHM carnage. Title track, 'Victim You' brings down the curtain before a final hard and heavy bow out with the sublime 'Running Away' bonus track. The fact this diamond teezer only gets added here as a "bonus" and didn't make the original cut just goes to show the strength of the rest of the material. A shining example of the quality of British music still coming from the hands of the old guard. If it was given more widespread promotion at the time I firmly believe that 'Victim You' could have had a real fighting chance to put the Oliver/Dawson/Gill collaboration on a serious footing alongside their former bandmates from Barnsley. A collection so tough talking with riff after riff of brick walled action it could have quite possibly caused a real title fight upset and left the Byford/Quinn opposition bleeding on the canvas. Maybe now it's a little too late, but remastered, re-released and totally re-energised 'Victim You' is still a fantastic album for all self respecting old schoolers to have nestled away in a collection titled "Could've been a contender."
Show 'Victim You' the respect it deserves, get your copy today and as always... PLAY IT LOUD!!!