Released: 2004, SPV
Well Blaze is back with CD # 4. Despite controversial behavior in the press, fisticuffs on the road, a revolving door and adopting a generally goofy look (Loose the wool hat and tinted goggles, please) Blaze stands taller than ever before.
Easily the strongest of his solos CD’s in my opinion. Blaze has always put a lot of heart and soul into his solo career. The debut was his ‘I’ll show the world” CD. The next one was the “intelligent introspective life-story” CD, thinly veiled as a laborious concept story. A premature live CD came next and all of a sudden in 2004 we have the real Blaze unfettered by what he thinks we should hear, but instead laying it all on the line. I’m sure this was a very cathartic writing process for him as it has perhaps a broad lyrical theme of survival, making it, persistence and perseverance. Just looking at the song titles alone gives you an idea where his headspace is.
My self-indulgent psycho-analysis of Mr. Bailey aside the bottom line is that this is a very fine album and you can tell it came from the heart. You can hear it in his voice just that little extra something in my mind, almost too subtle to define.
Ten tracks of straight ahead metal, a good pace on the CD with the new guy on drums keeping things moving along. The vocal lines make these songs very catchy despite their quite dark nature. By dark nature that I mean there are not an abundance of ‘happy’ riffs and wailing solos. There are a fair amount of songs that remind me of a song like 2:00 AM from THE X FACTOR but faster. The songs are interesting, well constructed and well arranged but firmly within traditional metal realms. Blaze really has developed a signature style giving his act a place that few other bands occupy because it is hard to do. There are a few killer cuts on this disc ‘Hollowhead’, sounding slightly modern, almost to the point of distraction, with the harmonic squeals on guitar and the very heavy tone but what makes the song is the ‘talking to myself’ lyrical stance used so effectively by David Mustaine in the past. Another favorite is the haunting and ballad-like ‘Soundtrack To My Life’ a fitting and somber end to an admittedly potentially depressing CD. It opens with nice acoustic work interplayed with restrained soloing and a vocal effect make for a high caliber, high impact song.
I truly feel this is the disc he will shake the ghost of his past band. He’s stared his demons down. I also bet that after such a dark album the next one will be a fast barnburner with a big element of fun rock ‘n’ roll injected back into the mix. You’ll see.