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Blaze Bayley - Endure and Survive

Blaze Bayley
Endure and Survive
by Anna Chase at 09 May 2017, 2:29 PM

What kind of metal head would I be if I’d never heard of BLAZE BAYLEY? He’s well-renowned for his work with IRON MAIDEN from 1994-99, and recorded vocals for them on two albums before relinquishing the position to Bruce Dickinson. Since then, he’s self-produced and recorded nine full-length albums, and performed with acts like DISTURBED and SABATON. The guy is a metal powerhouse, and he’s managed to make a name for himself even after he left MAIDEN. Probably the most distinctive feature of Blaze’s new release is the fact that it’s the second part in a musical trilogy of sorts. His albums follow protagonist William Black in a science fiction story set in outer space, and his lyrics tell of a captivating adventure that is set to span three albums. Bayley’s website also reports that a book and video game based on his music are also set to be released in the future. That’s something unique, I haven’t seen a video game based on a metal band, save for MEGADETH’s “Invasion”, game modeled after Space Invaders which was used for advertising. However, Blaze’s game is set to be more involved, which is unsurprising given that he’s dedicated quite a few albums to setting up this science fiction tale.

“Endure and Survive” starts off with a very MAIDEN-y riff and drumbeat. The drums actually stand out quite a lot in this song, as they cut through the guitars and vocals to provide a steady rhythm. Bayley’s voice is powerful and gives an epic tone to the song. I really felt as though this album was telling me a story. While this song wasn’t the strongest choice for the title track, I still thought that it set up a good intro for the rest of the album. “Escape Velocity” is more high-powered than the previous track, and the staccato guitar picking sets up a fast-paced and thrilling ride of a song. The chorus is insanely catchy, and Blaze’s vocals match perfectly with Appleton’s guitar riffs. Chris Appleton, formerly of ABSOLVA, is an incredibly strong guitarist and pulls screaming solos out of nowhere while still managing to not overpower the rest of the band.

“Blood” starts off with a haunting narrated intro and the sounds of women screaming before exploding into a dark and heavy track filled with distortion. The classic drum beats thud in the background, while Blaze’s majestic voice, there’s really no other word for it, wails over everything. The guitar riffs in this song were absolutely electrifying, and the uniqueness of the story it tells made it one of my immediate favorites. “Eating Lies” is slower than the other songs, but still ripples into a melodic and electric masterpiece. The juxtaposition between the acoustic and electric guitars is beautiful, and the muted drums help to build tension before the song explodes into the energy-filled chorus. The solo here is also pretty incredible, it really showcases Appleton’s raw talent for guitar.

“Destroyer” is a heavy, kickass song, pure and simple. The spoken intro introduces the element of fire, and helps to create the mood for the rest of the song. The drum rhythm overlaid with Thrash-influenced guitar and bass riffs makes up a head bang-inducing chorus, and Blaze’s voice blends perfectly with the instruments. “Dawn of the Dead Son” is obviously meant to convey tragedy, but the mournful operatic vocals at the beginning soon morph into a blasting riff set over a thumping drum track and stop-and-go guitar riff. Bayley is an amazing singer, for sure, however, I do wish his vocal melodies could be more diverse. The songs on this album began to sound pretty similar, granted, the genre of NWOBHM has a particular sound that can cause tracks to blend together after a while.

“Remember” is a peculiar addition to this album. It starts out with a Spanish-style acoustic guitar with Bayley’s clean vocals over it, along with an accordion track for some reason. I wasn’t a fan of this song and I think that it actually made the album weaker. Yes, it tells a story, however, I don’t think that musical integrity should be sacrificed for the sake of Bayley’s narration of his character’s adventures. “Fight Back,” the next song, helped me recover from the weirdness of “Remember.” I was happy to hear the classic riffs return, and McNee and Schramm especially stood out here. The bass and steady drumbeats add the necessary depth to the track, and provide a surrounding for Blaze’s mighty vocals.

“The World Is Turning the Wrong Way” is definitely another one of my favorites. It combines Blaze’s personal musical style with SABBATH-like riffs and a slowed down, pulsing guitar track. This song tells of a dark conclusion to the tale, and establishes an almost Doom Metal aura to offset the vocals. Finally, the album concludes with the lengthy ballad “Together We Can Move the Sun.” Now, I’m not a fan of ballads, and even though I wanted so badly to like this song, I found that it was repetitive and a bit boring. The only redeeming factor here really was the story Bayley wove in his vocals. The solo was also pretty impressive, Appleton’s talent is undeniable, and in some ways he even overshadows Blaze himself. Overall, this was a musically strong album, however, I was missing the originality I was looking for, and the ballads seemed to flop. BLAZE BAYLEY is a very talented musician though, and the story he tells is magical.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 5
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Endure and Survive
2. Escape Velocity
3. Blood
4. Eating Lies
5. Destroyer
6. Dawn of the Dead Son
7. Remember
8. Fight Back
9. The World is Turning the Wrong Way
10. Together We Can Move the Sun
Lineup:
Blaze Bayley- Vocals/ songwriting
Chris Appleton- Guitar
Martin McNee- Drums
Karl Schramm- Bass
Record Label: Blaze Bayley Recordings
     


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