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Blaze
As Live As It Gets
April 2003
Released: 2003, SPV
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Night of the Realm

Live albums appear to be all the rage now in the world of metal. On one hand, we have established bands releasing their first, long-overdue live editions, such as Ancient Rites – AND THE HORDES STOOD AS ONE, and Running Wild – LIVE. Even trendier is the release of a live album by bands with only a couple albums to their names, namely Halford, Sonata Arctica, and now Blaze Bayley’s own band jumps aboard with AS LIVE AS IT GETS.



Being an Iron Maiden fan since X FACTOR came out, I have always enjoyed Blaze’s performance with Maiden, and now with his own band. As a Blaze fan, I am very proud of what he has done with his career. Unlike a certain former Iron Maiden frontman, Blaze has moved out from under Maiden’s shadow, almost as a big “fuck you” to all the Blaze-haters. I digress here...Blaze certainly hasn’t lived in the past, so why should I dwell further on it?



AS LIVE AS IT GETS is 18 tracks, two full albums, well over an hour and a half’s worth of killer classic metal. Of course, Blaze’s two solo albums, SILICON MESSIAH and TENTH DIMENSION represent the bulk of the material on AS LIVE AS IT GETS, but we also have our fair share of Iron Maiden tunes (4 of ‘em, to be precise), even a Wolfsbane tune, the pure rocker, “Steel,” creeps in, as does a slick cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused.”



Blaze has never been one of the best vocalists out there, but his skill as a frontman comes in the form of the passion with which he performs. His energy really shows through on AS LIVE AS IT GETS; it’s obvious that Blaze WANTS to be onstage performing his music. Equally important to the quality of this album is the rest of the band behind Blaze. Guitarists Steve Wray and John Slater lay down the metal sound here with their twin attack of thick riffs and melodic solos, even competing with the original Maiden versions (I actually prefer this version of “When Two Worlds Collide” to the original). Blaze (the band) is what pure metal sounds like. This is not classic metal, nor power, thrash, or true metal. No frills, no add-ons, no experiments, just pure, unadulterated metal.



In the entire album, I only find a couple small snags. First of all is the fact that the recording is not one single concert, but pieced together from two shows, one in Switzerland, and one in the UK. This fact facillitates speculation as to the amount of doctroring of the original recordings, leaving me to wonder if this really is “as live as it gets” for Blaze. That’s the purist in me speaking, though. Listening to the album, I can hardly tell the difference, and quite frankly, I don’t care all that much of how much editing and mixing went on here. Producer Andy Sneap (also the guy behind the mix of Napalm Death and Machine Head) has done a great job with the material. In addition, while I find the crowd interaction to be lively and more than sufficient, I would always like to hear more. I enjoy full-blown spectacles onstage with the singer leading the crowd through choruses, in addition to the inter-song banter, but again, this detail is minor.



Hardcore fans of Blaze such as myself must not hesitate to pick this one up. Blaze has really put out a winner with this album, sure to please die-hards and casual fans alike. AS LIVE AS IT GETS is not a defining live album, such as LIVE AFTER DEATH, or LIVE INSURRECTION, but it is one hell of a good listen.
Track Listing

CD1:
01.Speed of Light
02.When Two Worlds Collide
03.Steel
04.Kill and Destroy
05.End Dream
06.Stare at the Sun
07.Land of the Blind
08.Silicon Messiah
09.Dazed and Confused

CD2:
01.Virus
02.The Brave
03.Stranger to the Light
04.Identity
05.Sign of the Cross
06.Futureal
07.Ghost in the Machine
08.Born as a Stranger
09.Tenth Dimension

Lineup

Blaze Bayley – vocals
Steve Wray – guitars
John Slater – guitars
Rob Naylor – bass
Jeff Singer - drums


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Blaze
As Live As It Gets
April 2003
Released: 2003, Steamhammer Records/SPV
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

As everyone knows by now, Blaze Bayley started out as the singer in Wolfsbane and then he replaced Bruce Dickinson in the metal icons of Iron Maiden. When Blaze left Maiden early in 1999 he put together his own band, simply called Blaze. The debut SILICON MESSIAH came in 2000 and a lot of touring followed. The follow up TENTH DIMENSION was released in-‘02, that tour began in Malmö,Sweden, it was an extensive tour throughout the world. AS LIVE AS IT GETS is a double-live album recorded during the TENTH DIMENSION tour, the live material is taken from Switzerland and the U.K. It is produced by Andy Sneap (Machine Head, Napalm Death, Stuck Mojo etc) in Backstage Studio in Ripley, England.



When it comes to the music, Blaze is plays pure and hard heavy metal. It’s almost impossible to be more heavy metal than this. Bayley has a lot of material to choose from and he disappoints no one. He plays songs from both Wolfsbane and Maiden and of course from his albums. He has also put out a cover of Led Zeppelins “Dazed and Confused” on this live album with 18 tracks.



CD 1

It all begins with “SPEED OF LIGHT”, then comes “TWO WORLDS COLLIDE” where Blaze does some talking and he begs the crowd for some help to sing with him. Then Blaze travels way back in time and does a song from Wolfsbane, “STEEL”. In this song the crowd helps out as well. Then comes some new material, “KILL & DESTROY” that goes straight into the next song, “END DREAM” and “LAND OF THE BLIND”. In “STARE AT THE SUN” Blaze tells everyone that this was the first song they wrote for the debut album. Here Blaze lets the crowd sing the first chorus on their own. This song it’s incredibly long, almost 8 minutes. Then comes the title track from the debut and Blaze lets the audience sing with him in the chorus. Last one out on disc 1 is the Led Zeppelin cover “DAZED & CONFUSED”. That one works not so good. Disc 1 concentrates more around TENTH DIMENSION than disc 2.



Steve/John on guitar impress a lot. Jeff is a rock behinds his drums. Mr. Bayley has an incredibly strong voice and he works really hard to get the audience going. The band seems to have as much fun on the stage as the crowd has on this live CD.



CD 2

This opens with the bonus track “VIRUS” from the Maiden collection “Best of the Beast”. Disc 2 is more focused on what Blaze did with Maiden and the debut album from the band Blaze. The opening track goes straight into next song,“THE BRAVE”. The next track is more up to date “STRANGER TO THE LIGHT”. Then there comes two Maiden tracks, “SIGN OF THE CROSS” and “FUTUREAL”. It works amazingly good. Then we have some songs from the debut with the band Blaze, “IDENTITY”, “GHOST IN THE MACHINE” and “BORN AS A STRANGER”. In the middle song Blaze invites the crowd to sing the chorus alone only with help from Rob on bass. The last song is the title track from the second album that closes disc 2.



The band works really hard to get the crowd going, especially Mr.Bayley himself. Blaze has become really strong as a live act with all the touring they have done and you can hear it. I think this is an incredibly strong live album and they deserve all the success they can get. This is a great introduction to all the younger fans of heavy metal who havn’t have the opportunity to see Blaze live or to hear him do Maiden songs live.
Track Listing

Cd 1
Speed of light
Two worlds collide
Steel
Kill & destroy
End dream
Stare at the sun
Land of the blind
Silicon Messiah
Dazed & confused

Cd 2
Virus
The brave
Stranger to the light
Identity
Sign of the cross
Futureal
Ghost in the machine
Born as a stranger
Tenth dimension

Lineup

Blaze Bayley - lead vocals
Steve Wray - guitar
John Slater - guitar
Rob Naylor - bass
Jeff Singer - drums


Next review: » Blaze - Blood & Belief
Previous review: » Blatant Crap Taste - s/t





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