Released: 2004, Steamhammer/SPV/Playground Music
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
The well-known Blaze Bailey is back with his own band and third album. Most of you already know that he started out as a frontman in Wolfsbane and later moved on to be the singer in Iron Maiden. That was before he started his own band, simply called Blaze. The Blaze band released their debut SILICON MESSIAH in 1999. That album was followed up in 2002 by TENTH DIMENSION. Blaze’s previous album was a live one called AS LIVE AS IT GETS and was released 2003. The band has done a lot of touring throughout the world both on the first and the second album. They have been out on tour with acts like Helloween and Savatage. Now Blaze is releasing the new album called BLOOD AND BELIEF. The bands previously steady line-up has gone through some changes. The only members who are still with the band are the two guitarists Steve and John. The bass player Rob, and the drummer Jeff, have left the band. The new guys are Wayne on bass and Jason on drums.
Andy Sneap did the production and the mixing for BLOOD AND BELIEF. He has helped Blaze on all of his solo albums and as always, Andy has done a terrific job with this album. Everything he touches sounds like gold. He has also produced some fine albums by Machine Head, Arch Enemy and Paradise Lost amongst others.
The entire Blaze band took plenty of time to learn the songs before Blaze booked time in the studio. Everyone was well rehearsed when the recording started. Despite that, I hear no difference between this album and the previous one in that matter, the music on all of the records sounds really well played and rehearsed.
The Blaze band play straight and uncomplicated heavy metal. It just can’t get much more metal than this. This album sounds like the previous one, but there are some differences. The overall tempo is slower but there are more tempo changes. Blaze is also more at the top of the mix with his lead vocals than before. All of the music evolves around him and his vocals much more when compared to the other Blaze albums. Several of the songs are of a autobiographical nature. By just looking at the titles you will know what I mean. This album is also more melodic than the previous ones and it feels like Mr. Bailey has put more thought into his lyrics.
Blaze, and the band, has delivered 10 tracks on this third studio-album. When compared to the other albums he me has made I think that this one is more of a challenging listen. By that I mean that it takes some time to get used to the deeper and melancholic sounds on this album. The cover isn’t so great looking either.
Blaze delivers very well played heavy metal. The material may in part be a bit hard to get into, but it really feels that Blaze has matured on this album. Killer tracks include “ALIVE”; “BLOOD AND BELIEF”; “SOUNDTRACK OF MY LIFE” and “TEN SECONDS”.
The tour has already begun and Blaze & band are a great band to experience, so I suggest that you DON’T miss them if they com to your town.