Blaze Bayley: Promise and Terror

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Blaze Bayley: Promise and Terror
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Blaze Bayley: Promise and Terror
Heavy Metal
Blaze Bayley Recordings, AFM Records
February 1st, 2010
Release length: 55:37
Myspace
Website
Blaze Bayley is the man that is highly regarded as one of the worst, or at least most different, vocalists of the Heavy Metal force Iron Maiden. After a good period of silence, he formed a solo project called simply Blaze. After a few issues with band members and line-up changes, we were given a new solid line-up under the singer’s full name, Blaze Bayley, which has had a good so far since forming back in 2007. Promise and Terror is the band’s second full-length release, and it’s a musically powerful album with what could be one of his best vocal performances yet. But, this album does wind up having it’s share of issues.

Promise and Terror features a lot of good tracks that kick the album off. If you’re not that big on Blaze’s vocals, after a few spins with the powerful tracks “Watching the Night Sky” and “God of Speed” will make you realize that this new line-up produces a sound that works perfectly with Blaze’s rather nasal sounding performance. Outside that, you have the half Acoustic half Metal track “Surrounded by Sadness” which really shows Blaze in a different light. While this track can come off a little repetitive after a while, his vocal performance really does stand out during the Acoustic section, and when the track takes the reflective somber sound it starts with and simply amps it up with some great Heavy Metal, it all works so well and keeps your attention to the song until it bleeds into “The Trace of Things That Have No Words”. These two songs seem to be part of a much more complex musical opus as the songs continue to bleed into the next with “The Trace of Things That Have No Words” also sounding as if it doesn’t end and pretty much just carries on through the song “”Letting Go of the World”, and again into “Comfortable in Darkness” which features a very deep vocal performance at the start of the song that closes the album neatly.

The problem with Promise and Terror is that the album lacks a real bite. The music here sounds great and often can be a little impressive, but much of this album gets boring after a while as there feels like there’s no real energy being brought out. Blaze’s main issue is that his voice doesn’t really seem to do much outside of that one pitch, so it’s very monotone, even though he clearly puts effort into his singing. The only times there seems to be a change in his range is during the slower moments on the album, like the aforementioned “Surrounded by Sadness”, as well as “Letting Go of the World”. Musically it also sounds somewhat hollow, which could just be the recording quality of the album for the most part, but there are times where the music just feels like there could have been more to it. There are plenty of spots where all you hear it the guitar and vocals, but nothing else, and the guitars aren’t too impressive on that song to let that slide by. Had there been some accompanying bass to add a little extra kick to the mix, that would be great. But, even with that, this track also has a great fast paced section about half way through where the real intensity that should have appeared on many of these tracks hits hard for only a brief amount of time before going back to the traditional mid-tempo pace that surrounds the album.

This is a release that is layered with extreme potential, but the problem is that the band needs to recognize it and push themselves harder. The last four tracks of Promise and Terror really show it, as these tracks have their flaws but really weave together an exceptional extended song that almost comes off as a toned down Metal opera. Aside that, there’s a good number of solid tracks on this release that really show off the band’s potential, but then there are plenty that also just get boring as they seem to stick with a set concept of playing, have gaps that don’t deserve to be there, as well as a production quality that leaves a little more to be desired. With the scattered impressive solos in this release, as well as that faster moment of “Letting Go of the World” as proof this band can kick it up a few notches, it’s clear they need to, as the slower to mid-tempo thing is an approach they do well, but seems to get cloudy with unimpressive riffs and monotone vocals that have no reason to really attempt to explore any sort of range. Either way, Blaze Bayley‘s Promise and Terror is still at least worth checking out, or giving a complete spin due to the potential presented and frustrating hidden.

01. Watching the Night Sky – 3:36
02. Madness and Sorrow – 3:09
03. 1633 – 6:03
04. God of Speed – 5:48
05. City of Bones – 6:26
06. Faceless – 3:46
07. Time to Dare – 5:41
08. Surrounded by Sadness – 3:59
09. The Trace of Things That Have No Words – 5:48
10. Letting God of the World – 6:24
11. Comfortable in Darkness – 5:00
Overall Score: 5.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by AFM Records via Earsplit PR.