1. Norma Jeane 2. Wither The Wind Blows 3. Hold On (Issa) 4. Make This Body Work (Robin Beck) 5. Who Am I (Robin Beck & Overland) 6. Love Like A Razorblade 7. Break The Spell 8. Not For Sure (Robin Beck) 9. Like Going Home (Robin Beck) 10. Unfinished Life 11. Marilyn (Robin Beck)
23 September 2011 – Escape Music
With this the british (progressive) hard rock band Saracen publishs their fifth studio album. I have to say that I didn’t hear about the band ever before…shame on me. And yes…it is definetely a shame. The band offers best bombastic rock and I hope the band can make it this time to reach a wider public. Saracen was formed in the 80′s and since this time the band had to survive several line up changes…and we all know that is not the best thing for the degree of popularity.
This album is once again a kind of a conceptional one with a storyline, like the album title suggests, about Marilyn Monroe…one of the top icons of the 50′s. She was a dream girl for millions, a pin up star and actress.
As I heard female voices for the first time on this album I thought…No..not again !! But I was positive surprised. You must know that I don’t like rock music where women think they have to perform like in operas…that makes me creep. Either rock or opera…not both in one, cause less people can do that. But on this album it is a great pleasure that Saracen recruited several guest musicians. With Issa, the rock sensation from norway, Robin Beck, Steve Overland (FM) and Snake Davis on sax.
The actual line up is as follows:
Steve Bettney Vocals Paul Bradder Keyboards Richard Bendelow Bass, Vocals Paul Gibson Drums Rob Bendelow Guitar
Issa Vocals Robin Beck Vocals Steve Overland Vocals Snake Davis Sax
The album starts with „Norma Jean“, a wonderful progrock instrumental. On top the sax of Snake Davis. With „Wither the wind blows“ the first song appears, brilliant worked out and arranged. Saracen know how to build an plug in a great chorus. „Hold On“ is a ballad sung from Issa. She owns a great sonorous voice and the insert of the sax is not interrupting the scene. „Make this body work“ is the first real rock song….and it is really first class rock. I like the voice of Robin Beck here, smokey and a little dirty. In „Who am I“ we can hear Robin Beck and Steve Overland performing. Starting innocent as a ballad. You have to take care not to lose your red line, cause suddenly the song speeds up. The best song for me of the entire album. „Break the Spell“ – the next rockin’ track. One of those where cannot do anything else than bang and stomp your feet. If you want it or not…your feet are whipping. The song „Not for Sure“ with Robin Beck brings us a wonderful acoustic ballad. The vocals totally fit here perfectly. Against that there is „Feel like going home“. Too sweet and I think not everyone’s cup of tea. „Unfinished Life“ remembers me to prog bands of the 70′s and 80′s. Sometimes I felt listening to Pink Floyd or similar here. With „Marilyn“ the album finds a felicitous end.
I have to say now…I really like that album. The choirs are effective and terrific. You can find out that every musicians know his work and how to play and so it is a real pleasure to listen. In some parts the band arranged too much of all…spheric bombast, chorus…simpy too much of sugar, ha ha. But this doesn’t bring the album down. Also the sax is integrated well. For all that cannot hear christmas rock anymore…here comes the alternative. Ok…the album has nothing to do with christmas but it brings you in a good mood and for that it has to find the way in your album racks.