CD review BIFF BYFORD ‘School of Hard Knocks’

Biff Byford is a living legend when it comes to Heavy Metal. The singer released 22 records with Saxon and although, or maybe even because they never had the big chart entries like bands such as Iron Maiden, the band and their singer achieved the status of real Metal workers, making music with two feet on the ground.

In all the decades in music and Heavy Metal Byford never released a solo album, a gap that’s closed in 2020. The iconic singer releases with ‘School of Hard Knocks’ a personal album, featuring excellent songs, being a sort of homage to his hometown and him growing up there.

The title track, as one example, is such a personal song, from being raised up to being in a band and about all that comes with it. Next to the lyrics the song is a great Metal hymn too. It’s a heavy pounding track that can easily handle comparison with the might mothership called Saxon.

The next song is a contrast. Accompanied by an Spanish flavored acoustic guitar, the track is build on spoken words adding a poetic touch to the record. With ‘Worlds Collide’ more traditional Metal returns to the scene before another twist brings new things to the table.

‘Scarborough Fair’ is a cover version of the Simon & Garfunkel classic and Byford’s interpretation is outstanding. He interprets the tune with so much emotional depth that it fits perfectly into the context of ‘School of Hard Knocks’. ‘Hearts of Steel’ shows where bands like Hammerfall took their inspiration from and it’s the gently rocking Biff Byford that presents himself on ‘Throw Down the Sword’. The balladic song is another emotional moment on the album and stands for what strings the eleven tracks together. Biff Byford recorded songs that bridges Rock and Metal, all kept together by the singer’s voice and the feel he adds to each of the tunes.

‘School of Hard Knocks’ is a authentic album without frills. It’s an album that carries street life vibes and is done with a down-to-earth mindset. In this way it reflects exactly what Biff Byford stands for, making ‘School of Hard Knocks’ to a real Byford solo album.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Welcome to the Show
  2. School of Hard Knocks
  3. Inquisitor
  4. The Pit and the Pendelum
  5. Worlds Collide
  6. Scarborough Fair
  7. Pedal to the Metal
  8. Hearts of Steel
  9. Throw Down the Sword
  10. Me and You
  11. Black and White

Label: Silver Lining Music

Genre: Heavy Metal / Rock

Release Date EU: February 21st, 2020

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