BLAZE - Blood & Belief

Blaze - Blood & Belief

10 songs
51:29 minutes
***** **
Steamhammer / SPV


Blaze Bailey can be considered to be one of rock music's more tragic personalities. Starting in the late 80s with the rock'n'rollish Wolfsbane and releasing a couple of moderately successful albums, he had the huge chance to record two albums with Iron Maiden in the mid-90s, but his more DiAnno-like vocals were never really accepted by the fans, which is why Dickinson rejoined with Maiden, and Blaze's career left its zenith. At least his name became more familiar with people, so that he started a new career with his band Blaze.

Blood & Belief is their third studio album, recorded after hard times when Blaze Bailey had to overcome a serious alcohol problem. The lyrics of the album are therefore very therapeutic, giving him an opportunity to reflect on past mistakes. The music is understandably neither raw and snotty rock'n'roll the way he played with his first band, nor epic heavy metal of the kind he made with Iron Maiden. It would be fair to set his new approach to music somewhere in between. With the help of one of metal's best producers, Andy Sneap, Blaze's music understands perfectly to pull a bridge between traditional heavy rock music and modern groovy metal sounds. Especially the guitars sound sometimes progressive and psychotic. Blaze Bailey himself proves that he is one of metal's most recognisable vocalists, always hitting the right note without ever overdoing it.

The song material is very good, from the opener Alive to the moving title track, with fast material such as Will To Win and more melodic pieces like Regret. While the album works very well as a whole, the production showing Blaze from their best side, and their smart sound aiming as well at traditionalists as at nu rockers, I still think that the songs themselves could be more engaging at times. It's the old problem of form over content, although it's nothing you should worry about too much in this case, because compared to 95% of modern metal bands, this is still one of the very better efforts.

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