CD Reviews

Son Of A Bitch - 'Victim You' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 31, 2012    
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Re-issue of the 1996 album.

Son Of A Bitch came into being back in 1976 when guitarist Graham Oliver and bassist Steve Dawson first started to make heavy metal thunder. Wisely the name was sidelined when the band merged with Coast frontman Biff Byford and guitarist Paul Quinn to form Saxon, recruiting Gary Glitter band drummer Pete Gill along the way. I just can’t imagine Tony Blackburn cheesily announcing “Here’s Son Of A Bitch, Top Of The Popsters, with ‘Wheels Of Steel’”, can you?

And with that SOB were consigned to the annals of NWOBHM folklore, or at least they were until, having all over a period of time parted with Biff and the boys, Oliver, Dawson and Gill reconvened in 1994. This time Thunderhead frontman Ted Bullet and Saracen guitarist Haydn Conway were brought in to complete the line-up, releasing one album together, ‘Victim One’, and playing barrow-loads of live dates showcasing their own material and their rightfully claimed Saxon heritage. Unwisely this time, the name was again sidelined in favour of a legal tug of war with their ex-band mates over who could use the Saxon name, the results being that we now have both Saxon and Oliver Dawson Saxon, the latter of who are ironically, considering all the kerfuffle they created, now more regularly referred to as ‘ODS’.

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So what with ODS finally releasing a studio album earlier this year through Angel Air, the reissue specialists have seen fit to push ‘Victim One’ back into the spotlight, a place where it looks and sounds rather comfortable. Originally emerging in 1996 this version comes with new cover art featuring a metallic eagle sitting proudly front and centre, unashamedly pointing towards Saxon in a manner the original never did. New liner notes, which rather oddly also include all of the writing credits to the Saxon albums Oliver and Dawson performed on (who’s still marking their territory then?) also make this a package well worth picking up, especially when you consider that musically ‘Victim You’ is a strong statement. There’s no denying that Oliver and Conway make a mighty fine twin axe attack, with ‘Drivin’ Sideways’, which contains possibly the most cringeworthy lyric of all time “I’m getting a slob-job on ma throb-knob” (oh dear...) and ‘Old School’ strongly nodding to the classic Saxon sound, while ‘Evil Sweet Evil’ offers up a far blusier AC/DC vibe and ‘I Still Care’ surprises by recalling Poison’s ‘Every Rose...’, especially during the guitar solo!

Bullet has a voice that sits comfortably between Brain Johnson (AC/DC) and Jeff Keith (Tesla), but it’s the tight interplay between Oliver, Dawson and Conway that really makes ‘Victim One’ sparkle in a down an’ dirty way. Add to all that a tasty bonus track from the original sessions and this becomes a release that confirms that the subsequent years spent in court were indeed a complete and utter waste.

Steven Reid

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