Saxon, Biff Byford Interview: Talking New Album + the British Metal Big 4


British heavy metal band Saxon posing against red lighting.

Saxon vocalist Biff Byford talks about the Big 4 of British heavy metal in this new interview – Author Anne Erickson, Photo via Ned Wakeman

English heavy metal band Saxon release their 24th studio album, “Hell, Fire and Damnation,” on Jan. 19. For a band that unleashed their debut back in 1979, it’s inspiring to see how Saxon continue to wave the metal flag and release exciting new heavy metal music, decade after decade.

Saxon were one of the biggest bands from the new wave of British heavy metal in the 1980s. Lead vocalist Biff Byford has a lot of knowledge from that period of music history to share. In a new Saxon, Bill Byford interview with Audio Ink Radio, he spoke with Anne Erickson about that special period in music history, plus the band’s latest release.

When asked who he would pick, aside from Saxon, to be in the “Big 4” of British heavy metal, Byford replied, “It would have to be, apart from Saxon, it would have to be Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon and one more… let’s see… UFO.”

When I asked about Black Sabbath being included, he said, “Yeah, I don’t know if Black Sabbath is around anymore. Yeah, Black Sabbath would be good. Black Sabbath, Maiden, that would be great. I would buy a ticket for that.”

Switching gears to the Pantera reunion, Byford says he’s all about it.

“I like Pantera. All the guys in Pantera were massive Saxon fans. We met them a few times back in the day… They all were really heavily influenced by Saxon and Judas Priest. So, I like Pantera, and I think Zakk (Wylde) is playing guitar for them, isn’t he?… I think it’s good. I like Pantera, and the music should be played live,” he added, “I know Dimebag’s not there anymore, but I think they’re there in spirit.”

He continued, “I know it’s controversial, but I think it should be done. It’s not as if the guys aren’t there. They’ve gone on; they’ve passed on. So, it’s not as if they’ve not been invited to the party. I’m sure if they were alive, Pantera would still be doing it, wouldn’t they, if Dimebag were still alive?”

When asked about newer metal bands that Byford digs, he mentioned Swiss and Dutch heavy metal band Burning Witches.

“I quite like Burning Witches. They’re pretty good. I think it’s good to get a really big female metal band… because, we haven’t really gotten any. You’ve got Doro Pesch, who flies the flag. Lita Ford, who’s out there. I don’t think she’s really metal. She’s more hard rock. But, we need more females out there in the metal genre, definitely.”

Saxon are heading out on a US tour this spring with Uriah Heep. Moreover, Byford can’t wait to bring their music to the States. Find tour dates here.

“These songs need to be played live, and people need to hear them live, so it will be great,” he said.

Listen to the full interview with Byford below. Also, stream the full interview on Apple Podcasts here and Spotify podcasts here. Speaking of heavy metal, another legendary metal band, of course, is Metallica. Read the story of how Metallica got their now-famous band name here.

Anne Erickson
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Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Interviews, Metal, Music