“”Blaze Bayley” Endure and Survive – CD REVIEW by Adam McCann
Record: Blaze Bayley Recordings 2017
Since the disbandment of Blaze 10 years ago, Blaze Bayley returned in 2008 with his ‘new’ band writing and performing under the recognisable name, Blaze Bayley. Ask any Heavy Metal fanatic what the name Blaze Bayley means to them and they’ll mention Blaze, Wolfsbane and of course, Iron Maiden of whom Blaze Bayley had a short tenure with in the mid to late 90’s.
Last year, Blaze Bayley released Infinite Entanglement, his first studio output for 4 years. Infinite Entanglement was a dark sci-fi concept album featuring the story of Captain William Black, a man selected lead an expedition through space to a planet named only ‘the New World’, explaining the feelings and emotions that are connected with this through the ambiguous protagonist of Black and those connected to his life. Infinite Entanglement was a superb album and easily the best since Blaze’s Silicon Messiah in 2000 with Infinite Entanglement being the first instalment of a trilogy surrounding William Black.
This year, right on schedule and as promised, Blaze Bayley has released part 2 of the Infinite Entanglement story; Endure and Survive. Part 2 focuses upon the actual journey itself with many parts featuring Black dealing with being alone and looking back on his life, whilst dealing with the inevitable problems that are thrown his way. Just as Infinite Entanglement ends, Endure and Survive picks up straight away, blasting into the title track.
The first thing to notice about Endure and Survive is that the production is less sparse and has a much warmer feel than its predecessor. If Infinite Entanglement was good, then Endure and Survive is one giant leap forward in the right direction. Endure and Survive makes use of a large choral section in the background which only adds to the overall ambiance of the album, especially on such poignant tracks as Dawn of the Dead Son and the beautiful duet Together We Can Move the Sun.
Endure and Survive also pushes the story forward much more than Infinite Entanglement does, with many more spoken interludes which gives the album the feel of a movie, cinematic interlude or a cut scene from a video game. These interludes expand on the characters involved and especially that of Black which only serves to add to the ambiguity of the main character, almost creating an anti-hero through the rather shocking revelations in Blood and mid-point cliff hanger of Destroyer.
Blaze Bayley has done a fantastic job of ensuring that the entire of Endure and Survive flows well and the more you listen to it, the more you are drawn in. The song writing alone is excellent and the arrangements in the songs show that Blaze Bayley is capable of doing so much more than just straight up Heavy Metal, although the tracks Escape Velocity and Fight Back remind us that Blaze Bayley can still do this. Blaze Bayley’s voice alone has aged sublimely, that deep operatic booming voice lets you feel every vibration and emotion that is forced out, whilst the nylon guitars are an excellent choice of backing when in use where many other artists would use a standard steel acoustic or a clean electric.
This album alone shows that there is life in the old-dog yet, with Blaze Bayley proving that he truly is the man that would not die. Blaze Bayley struck gold with Infinite Entanglement and has continued this streak with Endure and Survive, the burning question is now, can Blaze Bayley get the treble with part 3 of Infinite Entanglement. Roll on next year… …shall we begin? 8/10
Adam McCann / MHF Magazine