Blaze Bayley Recordings [03.04.20]
Blaze Bayley is one of rock and metal’s true survivors. Having been plucked from the excellent Wolfsbane to front Iron Maiden following Bruce Dickinson’s departure in 1994, he was then unceremoniously dumped by the band five years later. His years with Maiden had met with a mixed response from the fans but had also produced two albums which contained some great tracks, more on which later.
Out on his own Blaze set about setting himself up as a solo artist and producing the music he loves. This album was recorded in Brno at the end of a huge European tour in 2019 and showcases Blaze’s solo outings with a few choice Maiden tracks thrown in for good measure.
Listening through the album you can hear the Wolfsbane and Maiden influences throughout but you won’t get any complaints from me on that score. ‘The Dark Side Of Black’ starts things off very much in the Maiden vein with excellent guitar work by Christopher Appleton. The backing band are the guys from the band Absolva and Christopher Appleton, as Blaze relates at one point, was the man who picked him up and encouraged him to get out and rocking once more.
The album features tracks from throughout Blaze’s back catalogue, especially his three most recent albums which go under the banner of the ‘Infinite Entanglement’ Trilogy and tell the tale of William Black. He also features tracks from his first album ‘Silicon Messiah’ including the excellent ‘Stare At The Sun’. Blaze again regales us with the tale of producing this album but not being able to tour on the back of it which was a missed opportunity in his career.
No one would say that Blaze is the best singer in the world. He has his own particular style and a fairly limited range, which probably cost him his Maiden job, but he has an honest delivery and what you hear is what you get, there are no airs and graces here.
You couldn’t have a Blaze Bayley live album without a few tracks from his Maiden tenure and, as I hinted at earlier, they are a few of his best from that period. ‘Man On The Edge’ and ‘Futureal’ romp along on a wave of blistering guitar and galloping bass whilst the epic ‘The Clansman’ rounds off the album with Blaze defiantly screaming out ‘freedom’ in the chorus.
Artists like Blaze Bayley should be considered national treasures. He has given his life to pursuing his rock ‘n roll dream and has had to bounce back from the brink far too often. No matter what shit is thrown at him though he steadfastly refuses to compromise and his main aim in life is to produce the music he loves and to entertain his fans.
This album captures a moment in a long metal career that really should be celebrated. So do yourself and Blaze a favour, go and buy this, revel in the music and keep Mr Bayley on the road he loves. You and he won’t be disappointed.
Review by Dave Wilson
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