Blaze Bayley – Promise and Terror (Candlelight Records)

Monday, 18th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

I believe Blaze wasn’t given the right opportunity to shine during his brief time with Iron Maiden [were you listening to the same Virtual XI as I was? – ed.]. His impressive track record on his solo output plays to his strengths (middle to high range conviction, speedier power arrangements) – so Promise and Terror should continue to thrill all long time followers.

The 11 songs on this outing give Blaze a chance to explore the deep, dark recesses of his mind as he comes to terms with the all too sudden death of his wife back in 2008. Musically, the quartet who support him fluctuate between up tempo, close to Helloween-type numbers such as “Madness and Sorrow” and “Faceless” where guitarists Nico Bermudez and Jay Walsh lay down a melodic foundation and then the more brooding mid-tempo material such as “1633” or “The Trace of Things That Have no Words” where Blaze pours his soul like an open wound through his varied emotions.

You’ll hear some Maiden affinity in the opening track “Watching the Night Sky”- the circling guitar lines and soaring vocals recalling “Man on the Edge” from his past work. I’m impressed with how the chemistry conveys a fierce team mentality with the performances, it’s traditional in format and many of the songs appear streamlined for maximum impact.

The military-march drum opening through “City of Bones” lends itself well to one of those dramatic war-torn movie scenes – and I’m glad Blaze through Promise and Terror is able to turn a significant loss into cathartic benefit we can all treasure. Those seeking an instantaneous fix may be disappointed – for this album is one that requires repeat exposure to tackle the mature and weighty issues at hand.

In the end though, isn’t that what great metal albums should be all about?

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