Personnel: Biff Byford (vocals, percussion); Graham Oliver, Paul Quinn (guitar); Steve Dawson (bass guitar); Pete Gill (drums, percussion).
Recording information: Rampart Studios, London (02/1980).
The new wave of British heavy metal that dawned along with the 1980s yielded heavier and more popular bands than Saxon (Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, to name just two), but anyone who listens to their second album, WHEELS OF STEEL, will recognize the origins of what came to be the dominant style of FM radio metal for over a decade. Combining the muscle of Black Sabbath with the nimble, twisting two-guitar attack of Thin Lizzy, Saxon helped create the template for British "power metal." Its driving rhythms and wailing theatrical vocals may have eventually become the norm, but in 1980 WHEELS OF STEEL was a shiny chrome beast of an album, and without precedent. Songs such as "Motorcycle Man" and "Freeway Mad" are the soundtrack for outlaw biker parties on both sides of the pond, and "Suzie Hold On" is a perfect hard-rock love song, tough and tender in equal measure.
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.54) - "[A] classic in every sense....'Motorcycle Man' and 'Machine Gun''s quickfire power stood alongside the dramatic and strangely emotional 747..."