4 out of 5 Stars
Another act that got lumped into the “New Wave Of British Heavy Metal” movement in the ’80s, Saxon always reminded me (primarily) of bands such as Iron Maiden, Tygers of Pan Tang, and Accept when it came to its overall style, but mixed with the occasionally “more-commercial sound” similar to groups such as Krokus, Scorpions, and Def Leppard.
Through the decades I’ll admit to finding a handful of the albums in the band’s extensive catalogue nothing more than “decent but average,” yet Strong Arm of the Law—Saxon’s third release—truly has some inspired energy, some rebellious power, some extra “oomph” (despite the horribly bland cover art) that would be sadly lacking on too many of its subsequent albums in the mid-’80s/early-’90s. Indeed, this release proved as solid as the previous Wheels of Steel album, the band having created a staggering one-two musical punch, with vocalist Biff Byford, guitarists Paul Quinn and Graham Oliver, bassist Steve Dawson and drummer Pete Gill slamming through the eight tracks on offer here as if their very lives depended on it.
And with tunes such as the blazing opener “Heavy Metal Thunder,” as well as “20,000 Feet,” “To Hell and Back Again,” “Sixth Form Girls,” and the title track, along with the terrific closer “Dallas 1 PM,” Strong Arm of the Law is easily one of Saxon’s most laudable efforts. In many ways, this collection of tracks, although not groundbreaking or revolutionary in any respect, certainly helped to set the stage—and the quality benchmark—for countless other acts that eventually popped up in the “New Wave Of British Heavy Metal” movement in future years.