We open up with “Olympus Rising” and like its name suggests we’re met with an ominous, foreboding intro…the home of the gods, the slow build of the guitar and subtle percussion layered over some almost ritualistic chanting sets a serious tone…something big is coming and it’s all very dramatic as we lead into the album’s title track. The guitars kick in with some hefty riffs before it settles into their trademark, classic metal inspired sound. Biff still has a decent voice on him despite his aging years, singing of Hades and Greek mythological history and they have substantial weight behind them, sounding just like they did decades ago, just with better production quality, although there is a brief guitar solo that sounds really off, tarnishing an otherwise decent metal track.
Highlights here include “They Played Rock And Roll”, which with its fast paced delivery and appropriately thrash-based intensity is dedicated to MOTORHEAD following the deaths of Lemmy, Fast Eddie and Philthy Animal Taylor, and it’s a touching inclusion, showing solidarity in metal. “The Secret Of Flight” is rich in groove-led guitar melody, while “Nosferatu (The Vampire’s Waltz)” captures the essence of the 1922 silent horror wonderfully, on par with BLUE OYSTER CULT in fact, re-telling the story over some symphonic inspired metal. There are some sub-par moments here sadly however, which makes for an album of two halves, with it starting really strong and ending on a somewhat flat note…”Speed Merchants” and “Roadie’s Song” in particular bring the album down with their poor, almost clichéd lyrical content, especially the latter…and there’s a raw cut of “Nosferatu…” which serves no purpose being there, too much time in the sun that one. There is an interesting collaboration with AMON AMARTH front-man Johan Hegg for the track “Predator” but his death metal growls are a little too much for Saxon’s style of play if you ask me and it sounds a little disjointed. Other than that it’s a decent metal album and you have to applaud any band that has such longevity.