Fireworks

Oliver Dawson Saxon - 'Motorbiker' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/2f/fa/53/2256_oliverdawsonsaxon_1339001650.jpg Hot

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ODS have the songs to prove they are the real deal.

There’s a certain irony that after spending considerable court-time fighting over the Saxon “brand”, guitarist Graham Oliver and bassist Steve Dawson’s current band, ‘Oliver Dawson Saxon’, are now most often referred to as ‘ODS’!

So putting that to one side, what does the sixteen years in the waiting debut album ‘Motorbiker’ hold in store, other than an album title blatantly eliciting the classic Saxon song ‘Motorcycle Man’? Well exactly what you’d expect - and a few surprises. The band is rounded out by the experienced trio of one time Shy frontman John “Wardi” Ward, ex-Saracen guitarist Haydn Conway and drummer Nigel Durham, who also served time in Saxon. Renowned as a frenetic and charismatic live performer, “Wardi’s” vocals often split opinions; with his beyond hoarse delivery undoubtedly lacking subtlety. But the man can holler and howl with the best of them, meaning there’s no escaping the passion and punch he delivers on each and every line on this album.

His and the album’s finest moment comes with the electrifying ‘Whippin’ Boy’, which heavy metal thunders along on double bass drum blasts and a riff that leaves you in no doubt that you are listening to a guitarist who wrote some of the most recognisable riffs in the NWOBHM. There are plenty more guitar fuelled firecrackers with ‘No Way Out’, with its clips of Chamberlain, Churchill and Nazi propaganda adding an air of atmosphere to the Metallic crunch, while ‘World’s Gone Crazy’ snarls along with a mid-paced grind that lands somewhere between Saxon, Alice Cooper and Zakk Wylde era Ozzy.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Obviously there’s a whiff of Saxon throughout the whole album and probably more so on the song ‘Motorbiker’, which even kicks off as its elder brother did some 32 years ago with the sound of roaring bike engines. However the overall vibe on the album is a little heavier than you might expect, with one foot in NWOBHM heritage and the other almost dipping a toe into Euro Power Metal. Either way it works, and makes for a varied album that hits hard from the off, especially with the likes of ‘Just Another Suicide’, which finds ODS in a far more introspective mood, cleverly offering up a true change of focus.

It isn’t all completely plain sailing, with ‘Nursery Crymes’, one of three re-recorded songs initially featured on the three band compilation (alongside Tygers Of Pan Tang and Girlschool), being a rather cringe-worthy song that includes nursery rhyme words in its verses, while ‘Nevada Beach’ is, well, just a little bit boring. However ten cracking tracks out of twelve isn’t bad in anyone’s book.

The CD may not be blessed with the best cover or band logo, which in honesty, along with the derivate album title makes ‘Motorbiker’ look like a cheap Saxon compilation. However ODS have the songs to prove they are the real deal and hopefully this is the start of these devils riding out on a more permanent basis!

Steven Reid

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