Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Heroes, Saints & A Foolish Promo Video

It was July 1982 and Saracen's keyboardist Richard Lowe was talking to Kerrang!'s Howard Johnson and feeling bullish:
"Our last album was originally released last November on the same day as AC/DC and it outsold For Those About to Rock in our home area of the North Midlands by a considerable amount. Our manager was distributing the album himself, running all over the place, and no sooner had he got back home than the phone would ring with people demanding more!"
The album was Heroes, Saints & Fools, which Saracen released on the small Nucleus label in 1981. I like the idea that it in charity shops across the North Midlands it can be found rubbing sleeves with Paul Young's No Parlez and James Last's 40 Golden Greats. It's not a bad album, consisting mostly of slightly slapdash prog metal leavened by a corny attempt at writing a single ("No more lonely nights for me / Neon lights have set me free").

Saracen received a bit of attention back in 1981/2 and were seen by some as the next big thing. Admittedly these people tended to be either members of the band (in the same interview quoted above they claimed they could go "one better" than Uriah Heep) or Tommy Vance, who was a fan of the album and gave them a Friday Rock Show session. They never made it big in the end. Apart from anything else, they took too long to release their second album, which didn't come out until 1984, by which time a lot had changed.

However along the way they signed to Neat Records and released a much better attempt at a single We Have Arrived, which despite a slightly ropey sci-fi lyric thumps along pretty well. They even got a chance to make a promo video for it when Neat decided to make a compilation VHS called Metal City.
It's a wonderful capsule of a certain time and place. Look at the sweatbands! The drummer in his football shorts! The Eddie Van Halen guitar decoration! The scantily clad girls trying to find something to dance to!

I also really like how it depicts Saracen's Rock & Roll lifestyle as driving round the countryside in a Bedford van while girls overtake them in a Vauxhall Cavalier (note the RAC sticker). It's got the NWOBHM written all over it.

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