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Blaze Bayley - December Wind Award winner

Blaze Bayley
December Wind
by Kevin Burke at 23 November 2018, 2:21 PM

Heavy Metal, the words conjures up those immediate thoughts of loud guitar, loud drums and head-shaking enjoyment, that is not always the case however, Metal has more to do with attitude than volume, after all some of LED ZEPPELIN’s finest work was performed on acoustic guitars. That is the basis for the approach to the latest BLAZE BAYLEY release “December Wind”, stripped back to the bare bones relying solely on the power of Bayley’s voice to carry the recording and it works very well.

Here the vocal-powerhouse pulls back on the band dimensions and instead produces a work of raw soul and great depth. With the aid of classical guitarist Thomas Zwijsen and violinist Anne Bakker provide the perfect backdrop to bring out the emotion in the voice of Blaze Bayley and have produced a work of great originality. The opener “Eye Of The Storm” is a transcendent piece of music,  is in BLAZE BAYLEY top form and the guitar work of Zwijsen is extraordinary, hypnotic and addictive.

By no way are the themes on “December Wind” ‘Tolkien’-inspired as you would expect instead, they tackles real-life issues, on “2AM” the loneliness, the monotony of our existence are questioned in full;

“I get in from work at 2am
And sit down with a beer,
Turn on late night TV
And then I wonder why I’m here”.

The tale of Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger is retold in “Miracle On The Hudson”, the depiction on the cover is wholly explained here but the drama of the situation is the core of the song, maybe not the strongest track here but the point perhaps that miracles are still possible in modern day civilization. The title track is a poignant standout, “December Wind”, BLAZE is more restrained looking inwards further, you understand further that the format of these songs work best as presented here as electric instruments may take a little from the passion.

“We Fell From The Sky” looks back over the life of BLAZE, stardom with all the trappings, the added violin work of Anne Bakker galvanizes the emotion perfectly, as she solos alongside Zwijsen a beast of beauty erupts pulling you in. “Crimson Tide” evokes the memory of the Second World War and the Normandy landings, while at the same time mirroring the present day global political situation, clever in retrospective with delivery but a haunting piece of work nonetheless.

BLAZE BAYLEY has always been a force of nature, his work with WOLFSBANE is a solid whilst his two releases with IRON MAIDEN may not have been highlights in their canon but displayed perfectly his vocal range and how easily, he can adapt. “December Wind” might not be everyone’s favorite release by the man but you will find it a very interesting concept and well worth checking out. I do recommend the CD version for simply the five-bonus tracks, these were released before as the “Russian Holiday” EP and includes a reworking of the IRON MAIDEN track “Sign Of The Cross” from the “X-Factor” album.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Eye of the Storm
2. Love Will Conquer All
3. 2AM
4. Miracle on the Hudson
5. December Wind
6. We Fell from the Sky
7. The Crimson Tide
8. The Love of Your Life
CD Bonus Tracks;
9. Stealing Time (Bonus Track)
10. Russian Holiday (Bonus Track)
11. Soundtrack of My Life (Bonus Track)
12. One More Step (Bonus Track)
13. Sign of the Cross (Bonus Track)
Blaze Bayley - Vocals
Thomas Zwijsen - Classical acoustic guitar
Anne Bakker - Violin
Record Label: Blaze Bayley Recordings


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Edited 04 February 2023

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