Blaze Bayley has always been one of heavy metal’s ‘everyman’ types, willing to keep going no matter what is thrown at him or whoever happens to be his band mates at the time.
This resolve has lead to some great music and weighty science fiction concepts. This vision and drive unfortunately also comes at a cost both personally and with the musicians that have helped him create his visions over the last 20 years.
This album is a confrontation and confirmation of the strength that Blaze and his band Absolva (a band in their own right, check them out) draw from each other and their passion for traditional heavy metal played with passion. This is an album built on the unknowns of a world pandemic that griped us all this time last year and the loneliness and despair that constant states of lockdown in their home country have created since.
Every track here is uplifting and powerful from the opening title track to the reflective acoustic closer Every Storm Ends, various stories weaved of courage and of keeping a stiff upper lip in the toughest of times, reminding us all there is always a light at the end, even if it cannot be seen through the fog. The Maidenesque 303 is the story of Polish fighter pilots in WW2 that fought for England against the Nazis, and 18 Flights is a retelling of being in the middle of an earthquake in South America and what it took the band to get home safely.
The best stories of strength, as well as the best guitar work laid down on any Blaze album yet, lay in the three stories of now famous scientists who all struggled to be heard and believed. Particularly touching is The Unstoppable Stephen Hawking; the power in Blaze’s lyrical opening Don’t give up if you find that you are in a black hole/Hawking said that there is a way through” bringing new life to the well-known story of his physical struggles whilst his mind and imagination stayed sharp and with a razor focus.
This album is the most straightforward heavy release since the Blood and Belief from the early 00s. That isn’t to detract from any release since then, but there is a passion within every song here that rings so personal from everyone in the band and played with richly deserved passion.
Being self-released this album may not receive the attention it deserves, so do your ears a favour and check it out, and while you are there make sure your mates have heard it as well. This album should not be missed if you are a fan of any form of heavy metal.
1. War Within Me
4. Pull Yourself Up
5. Witches Night
6. 18 Flights
7. The Dream of Alan Turing
8. The Power of Nikola Tesla
9. The Unstoppable Stephen Hawking
10. Every Storm Ends