Released: 2012, Blaze Bayley Records
If you have been following the career of Blaze Bayley, or reading our reviews, it’s not a surprise that his career is a bit of a mish-mash. So, Blaze (the band) is pretty much wrapped up as Blaze Bayley (the solo artist) has released his third solo album. It has a gorgeous, dark cover and a bold title that refers to his fans and the fans of Metal in general, although admittedly it veers dangerously to territory already staked by the die-hard fans of Manowar. We have always been fans of Blaze here at http://www.Metal-Rules.com
but oddly enough this is the first review of one of his studio solo albums.
Blaze has learned his lessons well and has again released this album on his own label, making it a bit harder to find but the fans will seek it out. THE KING OF METAL is good, solid record running 10 songs just over 45 minutes, featuring a fine warm production. There has been a complete line-up overhaul since 2010’s PROMISE AND TERROR, with all new members on his backup band, most notably a trio of Italians including Matteo Grazzini of Nasty Tendency and Neurasthenia.
Lyrically this album is a little weaker for Blaze. The opening title cut is a tribute to the fans of Metal, OK. The next cut ‘Dimebag’ is about, yep, you guessed it a tribute to ‘Dimebag, perhaps half a decade too late. The next cut, ‘Black Country’ is a tribute to the industrial areas of England, which has been done to death by Sabbath, Maiden, Priest, Saxon and so forth. The next cut ‘The Rainbow Fades To Black’ in my mind is a tribute to Dio but it could be interpreted in a number of ways as the lyrics are not overt. However, as the album proceeds his lyrics get a bit more introspective.
Bayley’s unique voice is always good to hear and even though he doesn’t have the same fire and thunder of the Wolfsbane days, he still delivers a competent performance. The album is fairly heavy, especially the opening track, but the collection songs don’t stray far from his preferred realm of experience, namely traditional Metal. If anything I’ve always felt if Blaze injected more speed into his songs it might give some more fire and vitality. As it stands, most the cuts are mid-tempo, none of them really breaking the sound barrier, with the opener and ‘Difficult’ being the punchiest of the cuts.
The jury is out as critics have not really decided if this divisive album is good or not ratings and reviews run all over the map saying it’s the best thing he has ever done, down to it’s pile of shite. I’m somewhere in the middle, leaning towards a pretty good album. It’s pure solo Blaze, at this point his history, personality and profile will transcend who ever is in the band. I don’t think THE KING OF METAL is not groundbreaking, nor his personal tour-de-force, that hasn’t happened yet. It’s enjoyable, listenable and well-worth getting for Blaze fans and another chapter in a long and admirable saga of one of Metal’s journeymen.