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Blaze
Blood & Belief
May 2004
Released: 2004, Steamhammer/SPV/Playground Music
Rating: 4.0/5
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.



Labels: http://www.spv.de and http://www.playgroundmusic.com
Track Listing

Alive
Ten seconds
Blood and belief
Life after death
Tearing myself to pieces
Hollow head
Will to win
Regret
The path and the way
Soundtrack of my life

Lineup

Blaze Bailey – lead vocals
John Slater – guitar
Steve Wray – guitar
Wayne Banks – bass
Jason Bowld – drums


Next review: » Blaze - Blood & Belief
Previous review: » Blaze - As Live As It Gets

Blaze
Blood & Belief
August 2004
Released: 2004, SPV
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

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.
Track Listing

1. Alive
2. Ten Seconds
3. Blood And Belief
4. Life and Death
5. Tearing Myself to Pieces
6. Hollowhead
7. Will To Win
8. Regret
9. The Path & The Way
Soundtrack Of My Life

Lineup

Blaze Bailey-vocals
John Slater-guitar
Steve Wray-guitar
Wayne Banks-bass
Jason Bowld-drums

Contact

N/A


Next review: » Blaze - Silicon Messiah
Previous review: » Blaze - As Live As It Gets





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